A Meal for Every Occasion
Twelve short months ago, members of the city’s restaurant cognoscenti were still huddled in poky little rooms, picking at warmed-over barbecued ribs and platters of frites, gamely singing the praises of neighborhood restaurants and comfort food. Not anymore. The great restaurant boom that began in the nineties but fizzled out at the beginning of the new millennium has exploded all over again. Overnight, the meatpacking district has blown up into a chaotic gastronomic version of Bourbon Street. Grand old French restaurants have been replaced by baroque new corporate venues, extravagant wine bars, and Pan-Asian food palaces as big as bus depots. Out in Brooklyn, little mom-and-pop joints are serving foie gras and salting their dishes with black truffles, and in Manhattan, diners can blow $180 on a single entrée of Kobe-beef “Châteaubriand,” and $13,000 for a magnum of 1899 Château Lafite-Rothschild. Organic food is big business in the city these days, fancy Shanghai banquets are all the rage among Chinese connoisseurs, and down on the Bowery, the hot new restaurants are doing what the fancy uptown joints do: They’re serving an elaborate champagne brunch.