Because of my preoccupations, I am routinely chastised for being something of a Debbie-Downer, always looking back to things that had been here as opposed to the things that still are or — god forbid — actually cool new things.
Part of that, of course, may be a bit true. Another part of it is my own fault, given that I concentrate on those vanished and vanishing things here as they seem thematically in keeping with what this blog has become.
But, as I’m often reminding myself, I started this blog to be purposely open-ended, giving me free reign to ruminate on any subject.
As such, herewith the first in a series of posts wherein I celebrate things that are still here. In the near future, you can look forward to a post or two highlighting some actual new places here in NYC that I’m excited about. Get your party hats and noise-makers ready.
Anyway, to kick proceedings off, I’m re-purposing a recent missive I sent to a reader named Harry, a gent from out of town who was planning a visit. Put simply, being that he and I evidently shared many a sensibility, he was wondering if I might recommend some spots to dine and imbibe. I’m embarrassed to admit that I still owe him my list of favorite bars, but here’s the quick rundown of some favorite spots to dine for the Flaming Pablum household.
1. Il Bucco
47 Bond Street between Lafayette and Bowery.
Nice, rustic Mediterranean/Italian. Never had a bad meal there.
2. Lychee House
141 East 55th Street
I'd love to steer you to a furtive Chinese eatery down some ominous back alley down in Chinatown, but the ones I used to know are gone, and you kinda don't want to gamble on such things. Lychee House in midtown, meanwhile, kicks an absolute man-sized platter of ass in the yum department. They just do it right, despite the otherwise cripplingly boring neighborhood.
3. Knickerbocker Bar & Grill
33 University Place
This is my local joint. You're never going to run into Lady Gaga or Kanye West here (I'm of the mindset that that's a good thing), although you may run into Chris "Mr. Big" Noth or F. Murray Abraham. Old NYC vibe. It could still be 1978 in there. Solid T-bone steak with lashings of cream spinach and mashed potatoes. I mean, there are scores of great steak houses (although Peter Luger's in Williamsburg trumps all), but Knickerbocker's totally holds its own in that department. Get a booth.
92 First Avenue, just steps to the south of East 6th
There are a million Indian restaurants up and down East 6th, but this has always been my particular favorite. It's probably not the FINEST of its kind, but it holds up, and the dining experience (imagine eating in a subway car insanely festooned with heroically ill-considered Christmas lights) is hilarious. And, it's cheap. That said, you have to bring your own booze.
5. Corner Bistro
331 West 4th Street
Some say they have the best burgers in the city. Not sure if that's true anymore [see future post on this subject], but they are damn good. Great bar as well, but it gets crowded. As much as I hate to say it, I think the burgers at Bill's Burger Bar (there's one in the meatpacking district and one at Rockefeller Center) are also pretty damn great.
90 University Place
My favorite local sushi place (back in its original location after many years in a larger space one block to the north). I'm especially fond of their shrimp tempura.
More to come.