08/07/14 10:55am

What NYC Restaurants Do You Think Should be Preserved?


Great N.Y. Noodletown’s shrimp dumpling soup is a classic.

The other night I attended a panel discussion “Historic Preservation, Meet Restaurant Preservation,” where food writer and longstanding Greenwich Village resident Mimi Sheraton and Robert Sietsema, senior restaurant critic at Eater, discussed restaurant preservation in New York City. Rapacious landlords and the idea of forming a body to help restaurants as well creating a list of places that should be preserved, and just who determines who to include on said list were all discussed. When it was over the question of where to eat weighed mightily on my mind. Katz’s came up in the discussion several times, and I briefly considered it, but I ruled it out as too heavy.

Then I started to think along the lines of restaurants and Manhattan neighborhoods that I feel should be preserved. And I headed down to Chinatown. Fish Corner Market’s long gone. Mei Lei Wah ain’t as pretty or tasty as she used to be. Yet Wo Hop, whose sweet and sour pork my dear old Mom reproduced at home, and Great N.Y. Noodletown still abide. I opted for the latter. It’s survived a couple of name changes. The menu and the room remain the same. And they’ve still got one of my favorite dishes, shrimp dumpling soup. It’s a generous bowl of thin-skinned beauties packed with shrimp and mushrooms. I like to liven things up with a few spoons of the citrusy house hot sauce.

Time and tradition seem to have done a good job of preserving stalwarts like Katz’s and my Chinatown haunts, but who knows if scrappier underdog eateries will survive.  So here’s what I’d like to know what New York City restaurants, dishes, or neighborhood’s are on your preservation list?  Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter.

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2 Comment

  • Joe,

    I’m confused by the criteria. Were they giving priority to restaurants that seem to be struggling? If so, I doubt either Noodletown or Katz’s, for example, are in jeopardy. And what about non-food considerations. By the time I got to Gage & Tollner’s, the food wasn’t great, to say the least, but what a beautiful place. You could probably make the same argument about the Oyster Bar, too.

  • None. It seems like a good idea but once you start playing favorites you’ll find it’s a slippery slope. Better to let discerning diners decide in a free market economy than to prop up things for sentimental reasons because everyone has different criteria and someone needs to foot the bill. End result: Government-run restaurants that will suck anyway. Hey I miss plenty of places that are gone but still do not support any of them getting subsidies to survive basically at the expense of new better places that have arrived. Much better dining is available now that was 25 years ago. Also would not want to go back to the 1970s NYC when Bryant Park was a drug haven and Red Hook a war zone.