CHINESE RESTAURANTS IN NEW YORK
The fad for Chop Suey and for Chinese restaurants still persists. The Tokio and Pekin, in the White Light district, being the most prominent and most expensive.
There are five quite orthodox Chinese restaurants in Chinatown. They are ostensibly Chinese owned and managed by Chinese. The real proprietors, however, are Cohen and Rosenthal, so you can draw your own conclusions. Few homegrown Chinese take nourishment in these places, because they feel kind of out of place and they hate to break in on the nice white people from uptown and Brooklyn. But the waiters are all Chinese, for the same reason that the walls have Chinese dragon tapestry. The lights are shrouded in fantastic shades, and the place is redolent with the perfume of fire cracker punk, which exhales a not unpleasant odor. The prices are not moderate.
The Armenian restaurant, 323 Fourth Avenue, serves lamb in the forty orthodox ways demanded by this race, also vine leaves, rice and wheat, pilat, etc.—a very good restaurant, moderate in price and worth while going to see if you care for a real, genuine Armenian meal such as the native demands.
Mendel's restaurant, in the Grand Central Terminal, serves an Oyster Stew that is famous throughout the country, many strangers as well as New Yorkers, having partaken of the delectable dish.
On Lexington Avenue near 23rd Street there is a good typical native Bulgarian restaurant.
There are many other novel places in which the stranger can dine and experience complete change from the ordinary hotel or restaurants. You also get acquainted with the "local color." In most of these "out of the usual haunts" there is some special quality about the cooking that attracts. Two sisters from Detroit, for instance, serve a Sunday night buffet supper in an old house they have rented at 20 East 54th Street. After the price per head has been paid each guest helps himself to the croquettes, patties, salads, cold cuts, cheese sandwiches. The furnishings are unique and a visit is rather a novelty.
At the Blue Plate, 56 West 50th Street Meals are served from blue plate old English willow ware. The proprietor came from the West, where he turned away disappointed crowds every evening. The steaks, baked Virginia ham and other dishes made his reputation.
Marie Antoinette's Tea Room, at 128 West 72nd Street, makes a specialty of tea and waffles. There is a table d'hote luncheon consisting of Creole soup, braised chicken, ham and eggs, ice cream, pie, and demi-tasse. Southern cooking is the attraction here. The Desire, at 17 West 39th Street, serves a nice luncheon for 55 cents and dinner . The French pastry of their own cooking is famous. The Samovar, at 6 East 36th Street, specializes in New England cooking and serves Boston baked beans, baked ham, waffles, and its famous pumpkin pie, standing at least an inch high in its crispy browned crust.
The People's House Cafeteria, at 7 East 15th Street, with its green stained chairs and tables, is quite a peculiar place. It is modeled after some of the famous People's houses abroad. Any profit that comes from the food is turned back for the good of the place and the people frequenting it. The very reasonableness of the prices in these days makes one gasp.
One can eat here at reasonable expense. The California Kitchen, at 28 East 61st Street. with its scarlet high backed benches, Chinese scarlet hangings against the restful gray of the walls, is a nice place to dine. The light falls from great lanterns in a soft pleasing glow. A meat with vegetables, a salad with dressing, cherry pie, and demi-tasse is the luncheon. Dinner is 90 cents. As a bit from our Far West, this nook is interesting. Aunt Clemmy's, at 1 University Place, in the "Village," gives us sure enough Virginia cooking. Fruit pies, pumpkin pies, mince pies, made to order.
For some time, the old-fashioned dinner with its social and intimate conversation has been a thing of the past. Nowadays when you have finished your oysters your partner grabs you and shimmies around till he sees that soup is served. In the meantime, all the wicky-wicky boys and girls in grass skirts cavort around the open space you have just abandoned to the tune of countless ukuleles, tom-toms and clanking castanets. In a few moments the performers disappear, your soup has been served, and there is time for another whirl before the fish comes, and you whirl. All of which is vastly different from the good old days we formerly sighed for and which we are now likely to get back, just as we have become accustomed to the other. It must be con-ceded that the lights, the music, the brilliancy all go to make up a rather enjoyable scene. It is certainly different from what one sees at home and the novelty charms. Quite a competition has grown up among the various cabarets, and very elaborate programmes are now nightly given in most of the more pretentious places.
All kinds of attractive names are selected for the various rooms in which these performances are given, and many of them are most luxuriously and lavishly designed. It would be hard to find a more artistic creation than the Crystal Cascade at the Biltmore, the Cocoanut Grove at the Century Theatre, Murray's Roman Gardens or the Orange Glades at Healey's, to say nothing of a dozen others. Dining at restaurants is a custom much more largely the vogue in New York than in other cities, and naturally many inducements are held out to attract business, hence the ornate furnishings, delightful music
Having refreshed the inner man, we will now resume our trip where we left off and cross Broadway from Trinity Church and proceed through the Financial District.
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