You Can’t Eat The Curtains

September 3rd, 2016 § 2 comments

Pete Wells, the New York Times restaurant reviewer, goes on and on about restaurant decor. HG couldn’t care less. After all, you can’t eat the curtains. All HG requires in a restaurant (besides good food) is pleasant, not too dim lighting and reasonable soundproofing. Some of HG’s best dining experiences have been in bleak Chinese restaurants, Jewish delicatessens and “dairy” restaurants. HG once had the temerity to suggest some art on the walls of a gloomy (but delicious) “dairy” restaurant on W. 170th Street in The Bronx. The grumpy waiter’s response was appropriate: “If you want pictures, go to a museum. If you want to eat, come here.” Two of HG’s favorite places in New York were the lobby of the Hotel Algonquin and the old Russian Tea Room. The Algonquin lobby had the friendly feel of an old (slightly impoverished) English country house. Carpets and seating upholstery were gently faded. Astute Ben Bodne, the hotel owner, would have replacements professionally distressed so change would not be visible to customers. After Bodne sold the hotel, various “improvements” were made. Last time HG peeked at the lobby it glittered with shiny modernity. The old Russian Tea Room was decorated with haphazard Christmas lights. They shone year round because the owner liked them (and his staff of superannuated ex-Russian ballerina waitpersons). The current RTR boils over with showy opulence and the prices are stratospheric. Progress?


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§ 2 Responses to You Can’t Eat The Curtains"

  • Charles Curran says:

    Two of our all time fav’s. The Algonquin for drinks and The Russian Tea room for dinner.I thought that TRT was out of business after a large redo?

    • Gerry says:

      Russian Team Room remains open. Touristy and super expensive (about $150-200 a person including cocktail, wine,tax and tip). When HG/BSK are in a nostalgic mood, HG buys salmon caviar and smoked salmon from Russ & Daughters (or Zabar’s). BSK makes blini. Sour cream on the table. Icy vodka (white wine for BSK). Nasdrovya and L’Chaim !!

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