In an era when four-year olds are playing games on touch screens and use words like “iPad” and “USB” the way we used “ball” and “tea set” back in the day, children may be pretty hard to impress.
It’s with great pleasure that Used York City introduces a new guest column showcasing NYC’s most treasured tables: “coups de coeur” as they might say where Adam was born in Montreal – focusing on hidden gems, each of which are reminiscent of another place – a country, a time, a memory… and which promise to transport you from the hustle and bustle of big apple. Welcome to Used York City, a little piece of the Internet featuring the best of New York…as used by New Yorkers. And that’s just the amuse-bouche…This is New York after all – I’ve seen signed Yankees and Rangers and Knicks jerseys; even Mets jerseys on neighbors’ walls, but never a chef’s jacket – one from Alain Ducasse in his kitchen, and one from Ferran Adria with a message on creativity personally penned across the chest. One of the things that great doctors and great chefs unfortunately have in common is that they tend not to think about price: whatever tools, products or procedures necessary shall be procured in order to ensure optimal result.

Danny Meyer, for one, gets that (if you’re at all interested in either business or restaurants, read his book Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business). It is said that creativity is not copying: here Eric Ripert’s team used Chinese black beans in a light-as-air vinegar based sauce vierge to add a whole new dimension to grilled octopus, which would have been delicious in its own right. This logic is at least partly behind the rise of gastropubs, yakitori bars and ramen shops, whereby nobody outside of NYC would think of paying $15+ for a bowl of soup noodles, but the thought of getting a top meal for about $20 with tax and tip is a novel concept for a New Yorker, regardless of the actual cost of the ingredients. A long way of saying that I’m not going to show you the fanciest, most gilded lilies of the NYC restaurant scene.
Chefs have become very successful working off this theme – think David Chang’s infamous pork buns (think pork fat + mayo + carb-loaded bun = yummy).

On the other hand, we should all be able to agree on the fact that it’s much more difficult, and speaks perhaps much more to the skill of a chef when you find the husband-and-wife special to be perfectly sublime at a nondescript Chinese restaurant.

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