What were you eating in Manhattan in the late 90s? Are you still seeking out/ordering those foods today?
Here's a list of foods/dishes/restaurants that were new to me in the late 90s:
soup dumplings at Joe's Shanghai
Krispy Kreme Donuts-travelling out of my way to 8th & 23rd to try my first Krispy Kreme
Starbucks Chai Tea Latte-this was what I ordered before I became a coffee drinker circa 1999. I used to walk 10 blocks to get to my closest Starbucks
the mantoo at Bamiyan
upscale dim sum at Shun Lee- the current Shun Lee thread triggered this trip down memory lane
upscale Cantonese food at the now-defunct Jimmy Sung's
Balthazar- mostly went because I was curious, after hearing Madonna had dined there
noodles at Republic
Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken and papa a la huancaina at a place in SoHo- blanking on the restaurant's name
Pizza at Patsy's
the now-closed Vong- my first visit to a JGV restaurant, and quite impressive
the now-closed Florent
I Trulli, which was the first time I ordered grilled cuttlefish
These were the dishes I was eating frequently, and trying all over town:
penne with vodka sauce
These restaurant foods/restaurants were on my regular rotation:
the spinach and mushroom slice at my neighbourhood Famous Original Ray's
the goulash at Veselka, usually very late at night
noodles at Mee
enchiladas at Gabriela's
tuna melts at coffee shops around town
veal or chicken parm sandwiches
the now-closed Comfort Diner- think I kept returning for the faux-retro atmosphere, because I can't really remember the food tasting good
Where were you eating in the late 90s?
Which places are you still frequenting?
While I still seek out empanadas, soup dumplings, tapas, Peruvian and Mexican food, I don't think I've ordered pad thai in the last 5 years, and I can't remember ordering pasta with vodka sauce since the late 90s.
Can anyone recommend a restaurant that still serves a good pasta with vodka sauce, in case I decide to give it a try for old time's sake?
I ordered a mushroom and spinach slice at a Famous Original Ray's last year, and it was pretty bad. Not sure if my tastes have changed, or whether their slices used to taste better. Or both.
Haven't had a craving for a Krispy Kreme since I tried my first Doughnut Plant donut.
Amazing how tastes can change over the years.
9 Pell St, New York, NY 10013
688 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10025
80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012
69 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014
144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
358 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016
122 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016
Shun Lee Palace
155 East 55th Street, New York, NY 10022
509 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016
37 Union Sq W, New York, NY 10003
200 East 54th Street, New York, NY 10022
214 E 45th St, New York, NY 10017
Mee Noodle Shop and Grill
922 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10017
My shit list is a mixed bag (at least from what I can remember). The first half I tended to go with my friends when I was younger. The later half was when I finally passed for legal or with the folks. I honestly don't remember much about the food or drink at these places as I wasn't exactly epicurean (still not by many measures). The one high end place that I always wanted 'tmy parents to take me to was Patroon. I don't know why I always wanted to go there other than I though the name was cool and that it was simply, a very powerful place, lol.
Yum Yum Tree
Dallas BBQs (the one on 8th where the lady parked her baby on the sidewalk, lol)
Jackson Hole Wyoming
Twins (lol, a holy shit moment for me to have to reconcile)
Cafe Un Deux Trois (parents took me and siblings here because they had crayons)
Not 7A but 7B(!!) for pitcher upon pitcher of beer.
Tony's or any place along 2nd Ave from 64th-82nd
There was a place on lower Broadway that I loved going to. Can't remember the name or any thing I ever ordered from there but I just remember loving it. It was hybrid cuisine, Cuban and Chinese. The only thing i can remember was a giant colorful papier mache boat suspended from the ceiling and a papier mache man inside the boat paddling his heart away.
Interesting post, and a test on the memory.
For Italian Food:
Joe's on MacDougal St had amazing home style Italian food ( now closed), Many of the waiters from Joe's opened their own places and I also frequented those i.e. Ennio and Michael's, Il Mulino, Bocconcino, and more.
Il Cantanori I continued to go to ( closed now for renovations), Ponte's I still occasionally go to.
Basta Pasta I've recently gone to and love it, it has been around since the 90's
D'Andrea was really good back then , on Hudson St, I still go there now on 13th , and it is excellent still.Here is a NY Times review on it from 2002, that you might find interesting
Lombardi's I used to go to in the 90's
Forlini's always was consistently good, I havent been there in a couple of years but they are still there
Hatsuhana has always been good, I've gone there in the 90's I still go today and I went there in the 80's.
Iso (closed)was good and one of the sushi chefs remained at the same location and opened the great Kanoyama.
Taka on Grove St ( closed ) was great and possibly the first female sushi chef.
Hasaki (9th St) was a good place back in the 90's when the sushi chef was Dave, it is still there and I was considering trying it again.
Jewel Bako missed this list by 2 years, they opened in 2001 I think. 15 East chef came from there.
Big Nick's I still go to. Their menu is great, it has everything on it. The burgers are the best
Shopsin's I used to frequent when they were on Bedford St. I still go occasionally
Odeon I still go to and it hasn't changed much since the old days
Indochine I went to back in the day, and I still go, and the food is still good, the decor is the same , maybe needs a renovation.
Mee Kong moved from Prince St. to 6th ave. I still go on occasion
I used to go to 30 Pell St ( many names it has had originally Hong Gung) they still have dim sum
Golden Unicorn I still go to and I still like it
Hop Shing ( back to their original name) was my take out dim sum place then and still is.
Toon's ( closed on Bleecker, closed on greenwich st) now open on Park Ave South , and in Grand Central Station. Toon cooks great thai food.
Teresa's was my go-to spot on 1st and 7th. Now it is located in Brooklyn Heights, I go there occasionally. Veselka I also still go to.
B& H dairy , still there, amazing it still survives.I go occasionally
Katz's I've gone to then , and still go to now. It is better than ever.
2nd Ave Deli, I used to like in the 90's, i've gone recently and it was bad.
El Faro, one of the first restaurants in the meat market. I still go there
and then of course there is Le Bernadin and Jean Georges which I still go to and went back in the 90's.
I lived in kips bay during the 90s so my regular spots:
Tatany and Mishima for sushi and cooked Japanese
Moonstruck diner breakfast
Todaro Bros. for sandwiches, prepared foods and pasta
Live bait for the veggie burger and the tupelo wings
McCormacks for pub food
Bao noodle for the baguette sandwiches and pho
The whole enchilada for cheap mexican
Sam's noodle for Chinese
Food out of the neighborhood:
Bond St. (Hiro Nakamura was a friend, so we often went to have his omakase)
Great Jones Cafe for brunch
Temple bar for martinis
Most of these places are still open, and I would probably be eating much of the same things if I still lived there today. I now live in westchester-restaurant hell.
8 W 36th St, New York, NY 10018
17 E 48th St, New York, NY 10017
164 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016
Great Jones Cafe
54 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012
396 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016
365 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016
Love this topic! I was seeking out and eating way too many carbs! Lived on the UES...
Bella Donna was a staple for great, inexpensive pasta dishes and AMAZING bread. Loved the farfalle with peas.
Boyfriend used to love to go to Yuka for AYCE sushi...even back then, I thought that was just wrong!
Pick-A-Bagel for late-night carb fix
Pig Heaven or Our Place for Chinese in the 'hood
Hong Fat for late-night Chinatown fix after the bars
Fujiyama Mama was a big date place...sushi and a DJ mixing tunes!
Sedutto's for Tasti d Lite, which I considered one of the food groups back then
EJ's Luncheonette--used to get the Tuna Nicoise salad or an egg white omelette
Centro Vasco for Spanish--great prices for lobsters
Docks for seafood
Candle Cafe when I felt like being virtuous...LOVED their pumpkin pudding
Delizia for great slices
242 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10028
1374 1st Ave, New York, NY 10021
1557 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028
Prince of Pork and I overlap on a few... Pongrisi on Bayard, Ave. A Sushi always a fun place to start the night, also Sharaku on 9th, 7A for eggs benedict brunch special, White Castle, then I was so happy when the opened one in NYC... First on 1st ave. I miss the smores, and fresh baked pretzels, Milon for Indian on 1st, imho the better of the 6th St. fare, El Quiojote 23rd st. still my favorite NYC restaurant, nostalgic reasons and great garlic bread, Telephone for great shepards pie, 2nd Ave Deli on 2nd Ave & E10th pastrami, chopped liver, matzoh ball soup, Velselka for periogi,(these are way too highly priced these days) and Teresa's for blintzes, Ukrainian National Home for chicken cutlet, NY Noodeltown, Joe's Shanghai, Goodies, many of the mentioned are gone, some are still here, and I still go to some of them just for nostalgic reasons. If the others were long closed were still around I'd do the same as well. I just realized not only did I frequent most of these places in the 90's but the 80's as well...
24 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019
525 8th Ave, New York, NY 10018
re: michele cindy
re: michele cindy
Yes remember them all it was my old neighborhood. Cucina De Pesce had the free mussels while you waited for a table, they had a prixe fixe that was decent when you were trying not to spend too much, was a good suggestion back then for a date. Yes the tiny tinis, I really loved 1st.
I disliked food at Telephone too.
Cups is still around - friend used to waitress there so we would go all the time and get a free app or dessert. We still go sometimes and get that tartufo pizza.
Teresa's was one of first places my native NYer husband took me. Also first place I've ever had Polish/Eastern European food. RIP.
Spinach salad w/ carrot dressing @ Yaffa Cafe, almost never before 2 a.m.
Ox-bone soup @ Gam Mee Oak. Still great.
I'm surprised to see no mention of Florent! Another "almost never before 2 a.m." spot with food you can count on. Way before Meatpacking became unbearable.
re: michele cindy
Oh, Sharaku, the memories... remember being told by a very emphatic 2nd floor staff member, "NO MORE RICE!" (with both hands making slashing X movement)
Shockingly, I've been back over the years. Recently "rediscovered" this place for reliable quality and service.
14 Stuyvesant St, New York, NY 10003
In the late 90s I was goint to;
69 bayard at 2AM for Chinese food (not sober)
Hitting White Castle for a ton of burgers and chicken rings. Remind me what part of the chicken is the ring shape
7A diner on 7th and A
Sotto Cinque for cheap pastas
Circa on 6th and 2nd for awesome Lobster Rissoto. This was a great first date place. DJ came on at 11 and the place turned into a lounge
OG on the LES for dumplings
Piazza on 86th and 2nd
Mustang on the UES
Really into Chic Parm heros then, and I cannot find a good one today. Every place uses strips not cutlets and way too much sauce and cheese
Thai at Pongsri by the courthouse downtown
Always ordered Fried Calamari for an appitizer. Never order than now, just not good. Would rather it grilled.
Sushi at Avenue A. Great music, decent Sushi. I was just a rookie then.
Suprisingly enough Vodka and Club Soda was my drink then and still is.
244 W 48th St, New York, NY 10036
322 East 86th Street, New York, NY 10028
351 E 103rd St, New York, NY 10029
Nice list. Sad to hear that it's so hard to get a good Chicken Parm in Manhattan these days.
I used to eat a lot more take-out economical sushi & nabeyaki udon, usually from East Japanese restaurant. Rarely eat economical sushi these days, just treating myself to the good stuff once in a blue moon.
210 E 44th St, New York, NY 10017
Tse Yang- lots of stuff, on and off the menu, especially their Peking Duck, which I believe to be the best in the city. It's still my go-to special occasion Chinese restaurant.
Koh-i-Noor- now closed, one of the few good Indian places (I'm probably remembering it mid- '90s more than late) on East 6th. They had the kindest staff and, believe it or not, no twinkling lights. They also had the best Tikka Masala (scoff if you must!).
Veselka- still going, still ordering the fried potato pierogi and the occasional stuffed cabbage. Still love their mugs of American style coffee It's been about 20 years now since I was a high school student taking a Ukranian Easter Egg decorating class at Ukranian home next door and my teacher introduced me to Veselka. I'll never forget it.
John's Pizzeria (Bleecker) (again, more in the early-mid '90s than late). Still go occasionally, still enjoy myself immensely :)
Joe's Pizza for slices- Enjoy them less than before, but hey, so few things stay the same. I still like their slices, but miss the classic corner store.
The Saloon (Lincoln Center)- sadly, closed. The food wasn't nearly as good during the later '90s as it was earlier, but at one time they had great everything, especially people-watching.
H&H- no longer my favorite, but still THE bagel store to visit when buying lox next door.
Bagel Bob's on University- still great, though my current favorrite is Murray's on 6th ave. It will take a lot to top Murray's.
Ruby Foo's- boy, did I frequent this place (original UWS location) throughout the '90s. Also closed.
Il Forno (Little Italy)- it was actually pretty good, as was da Nico. Da Nico is still open (don't bother) but Il Forno is gone.
Rosa Mexicano- UES. Awesome margaritas and guacamolem but I haven't been in a long time. I'm sure it's still enjoyable, but I've definitely moved on in terms of going out for Mexican food. If I were to go today, I'd probably choose the Lincoln Center location.
Katz's- yes, and the same: corned beef on rye with extra spicy mustard.
Arezzo- Tuscan food in Flatiron. Closed, but they had great flatbreads, salads and risotto to die for.
Mei Li Wah- the one and only late night spot for steamed pork buns and coffee in Chinatown. Officially closed, but sort of taken over. Or not. It's complicated.
Magnolia Bakery- Frequent layer cake slice customer (preferred these to the cupcakes). Summer of '97 will forever remain the summer of Magnolia banana pudding to my memory.
Assorted "Szechuan" Chinese joints on the west side of Manhattan. I think they're all gone now.
Sam's falafel on Thompson- good cheap student food. As far as Manhattan goes, I have only eaten Taim falafel since I first tasted it 3 or 4 years ago. Seriously, it's that good.
I'm sure I'll think of more as soon as I hit "post"...
51 University Pl, New York, NY 10003
9 E. 18th St., New York, NY 10003
1626 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
260 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036
46 W 22nd St, New York, NY 10010
164 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013
34 E 51st St, New York, NY 10022
9 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003
Where do you go these days? I'm all about Toloache and Mercadito. Can't seem to tear my self away! But, to my palate, there's really nowhere else worth going for Tacos (I also love a quick bite at the La Esquina taqueria).
251 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10019
106 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012
179 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009