OUT OF TIME
NYC: Eats From Another Era
Forget the newest, hippest, and most stylish. For an only-in-New-York meal, swing by one of these stubbornly eccentric establishments (all past the 50-year mark), where the comforting food comes at prices to match.
Nom Wah Tea Parlor
Navigating the confounding warren of streets that make up Chinatown is good preparation for the experience of a traditional dim sum meal served at the Nom Wah Tea Parlor. There is no menu to speak of at this 90-year-old spot that caters to locals. Non-Chinese-speaking diners simply nod yes for dim sum and patiently sip tea as the chef-cum-waiter brings out plate after plate of spring rolls, fried wonton, succulent dumplings, and sticky buns. (Vegetarians should speak up early, since most of the dough-covered fare is stuffed with pork, shrimp, and chicken.) Although the decor has seen better days—the last upgrade seems to date back to when the place opened, as evidenced by the timeworn booth seating and sloping flooring—look past the shabby surroundings and focus on the tasty, authentic morsels that run about $2 a dish. Lunch for two, including six plates of dim sum and a large metal pot of potent green tea, comes to a 1920s-era grand total of $16. 13 Doyers St., 212/962-6047.
Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery
Known affectionately as the Knishery, this tight-squeeze, 100-year-old establishment ascribes to a simple slogan: One World. One Taste. One Knish. And the rules here for making the ultimate New York knish are strict: round, not square; baked, not fried. Savory or sweet, you can't go wrong with such options as classic potato, broccoli ("a knish fit for presidents and kings," claims the menu), chocolate cheese, and apple strudel ("just like grandma made"). At $3.50 and $4 for ridiculously plump knishes that easily clock in at a pound each, grandma would approve of the prices, too. Even Barbra Streisand once waxed poetic about her affinity for the Knishery—while in concert at Madison Square Garden. 137 E. Houston St., 212/477-2858, knishery.com.