‘Edible Manhattan’ Haunted by Ghosts of New York Restaurants Past

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Photo: Shanna Ravindra

In the new issue of Edible Manhattan, selections of which are now online, Regina Schrambling dusts off an old copy of Duncan Hines’s Adventures in Good Eating (the Zagat of its day), and is startled by how different the New York dining scene was 50 years ago. Duncan recommends restaurants trafficking in cuisines that are underrepresented today (Belgian, Austrian, German, Danish, Hungarian, Polish, and Swedish), and hardly makes mention of Mexican, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Cuban, Caribbean, and the like. There are few celebrity chefs mentioned (back then the emphasis was on the restaurateurs and the clientele), and he mentions very few restaurants south of 32nd Street. “Overall,” writes Schrambling, “Hines reveled in a world of filet of sole Nicoise, chateaubriand, souffle aux parfumes, veal scallops Newport and cassoulet Toulousaine.” Why do we see this book being a good reference for a restaurateur looking to open something hot and hip?

Time Capsule [Edible Manhattan]