7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
This is a great book, written by someone with impeccable credentials ... former chief food columnist for the New York Times, and a NYC born and bred native.
The author delves deeply into the history of NYC, and then works his way forwards to the present era - but he spends most of his time and energy covering the topic from the gilded age of the 1890's through the late 1980's. Between those dates he overviews all the most well known and influential restaurants of the day, along with information on who the movers and shakers were, what was served, and how they influenced the trends of the day. The author also includes about 100 classic recipes, from a wide variety of sources, directly relating to the names that he covers.
The author does the job credit - the historical information is meticulous, the recipes authentic (and he even included a recipe index in the back), and the book is well organized and well packed with classic photos and anecdotes, and plenty of New Vork verve and originality.
Want to know the origins of Steak Diane" ? Porterhouse Steak ? Lobster Newberg ? NYC Pizza ? It's all in there.
Just a few minor nits, in no particular (there are really just my own notes, to serve as a memory jog for eventually writing a letter of feedback to the author).
* Seafood (chapt 2): This chapter was already obsolete at the time it was first published. There are no photos of the Fulton Fish Market (gasp), nor is there any significant coverage of it's recent relocation to uptown. That section DEFINITELY needs update and expansion, both text, photos, and recipes.
* Porterhouse: very interesting and nicely done, but it could be expanded a tad to better clarify the distinction (in modern usage) between the Porterhouse, T-Bone, and Sirloin steaks. Many people are confused by those terms, and usage varies from region to region & country to country, so it's important to clarify the New York usage of those terms. The first two (as I'm sure you already know) are cut from opposite ends of the same "short loin" primal, and the third is from the sirloin primal just behind (rumpward) of that.
* Pictures: the pic of a bagel with lox & cream cheese in the front matter should have been repeated on p.119.
* Italian: the Italian section, at 24 pgs, is only given half the page count as the section on Jewish, at 44 pgs. Understandable I suppose, given that the author is Jewish, but it could use some expansion in a future edition ... the section on pizza, for instance, lacks a recipe, and sausage & peppers is given short shrift. Both can be made easily at home, from scratch, either with or without fancy tools & casings.
* Other nations: the sections on more recent contributions by immigrants from other nations could all be expanded by at least a page each, and include a recipe or two ... Japanese (ex: Nobu), Korean (the name of a top restaurant I went to in Queens escapes me ATM), etc.
* Restaurants: Loved all the historial info, but a few of the blurbs end a bit abruptly, without mention of whether or not they were still open at the time of this book's publication.
* Recipe Index: I wish that more authors remembered to include them. Minor editorial nit - it should have started on a new page, and been clearly differentiated from the main index with a header of some sort.