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Apr 10, 2002 06:22 PM


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Having read Calvin Trillin's piece in the April 15 New Yorker, I rushed to try Shopsin's at lunch today (63 Bedford Street, just west of 7th Ave). I urge those who appreciate the eccentric to try this place while in its current location. It reminds me of a cross between Tom's in Prospect Heights and something out of the Florida Keys. Trillin's article will give you a feel for the food. It reminded me of Brite Food Shop, but with about 50 times more variety. Just go.

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  1. i agree the place is unusual & i know people who swear by the place, but when i was there, there was a blatent cockroach problem. i saw enough of them to be alarmed & to leave ASAP.

    7 Replies
    1. re: doug

      Not saying you're wrong, but many of the country's top food writers hang out in this place, and Trillin, Reichl, Gold, Sietsema, et al aren't the type to hang out in slovenly places in their off-duty hours.

      And the intensely personal touch that makes Shopsin's so loved and hated stems from pride and a great amount of personal diligence (though even the cleanest, most diligent eatery can once in a while host an errant couple of bugs).

      1. re: Jim Leff

        i'm with you on this. their reputation is precisely why i was so suprised & why the experience stuck in my head.

        so would i return? based on all the positive things i've heard, particularly on this board, the answer is probably yes. but was i horrified on that day? of course.

        1. re: doug
          mimi sheraton

          Shopsin is filthy and just another one of Trillin's gastronomic pratfalls...

          1. re: mimi sheraton

            Hmmm...but according to the BOH they've passed their inspections with flying colors.

            1. re: chowbabe
              Connie Crothers

              New York City has changed. Shopsin's has defied the gravity of time. For those who might want to experience something about what this city used to feel like, go.
              Try maple syrup crusted French toast. Try some conversation. The warmth and heart and the corner of old-time reality that used to be the vascular system of this city will come through. This place broke my heart.

            2. re: mimi sheraton
              Jim Grinsfelder

              It was not filthy when I was there. It was not sterile either. The food was good, inventive, and inexpensive by Manhattan standards.

              If you're looking for scandinavian design and stainless steel, you'll want to go somewhere else.

              Also, the author only talks about how cranky Mr. Shopsin can be, he fails to mention how charming he can be. When I was there with my wife, he was really really nice to us.

              If you treat the place like someone's home, and act as if you're a guest in that home, I think you'll have a good experience. If you expect to be waited upon by servants, go somewhere else. You won't like Shopsin's at all.

            3. re: doug

              What was that I said about ALL local food writers loving the place?

              : )

              Bugs can happen anywhere, unless the place frequently bombs the heck out of every square inch with tons of chemicals. And given the choice between an errant bug or an atmosphere of heavy pesticide (not a very appetizing choice, I'll grant you), I reluctantly opt for the former. We all know what it's like to walk into a restaurant with that pervasive chemical smell. I have asthma, so it just about kills me, personally.

              But, hey, if you were grossed out there, the impression's likely to stick. Maybe it should be an "avoid" for you.