Remember sitting down at a restaurant and unwrapping silver utensils folded elegantly in a white cloth napkin? Yeah, me neither.
Since March 22 when the stay-at-home order all but shut down New York City and state — following similar orders in Washington state and California — restaurants and bars were shut down and later open only for takeout or delivery.
New York City without restaurants is — or was — unfathomable. When I moved here from California, the main reason outside of career ambitions was the food.
The best restaurants in the country are here, the best chefs, the most international cuisines.
I would eat like a queen at Pasha, an old favorite Turkish restaurant on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I would hop on the F train from Brooklyn through Manhattan to Queens for delicious Indian curries at Jackson Diner.
I’d head up to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx and shop at Italian markets and stuff myself on cannoli from Marrone and celebrate at bacchanalian Italian feasts at Puglia, an century-old establishment in Little Italy where resident crooner, Jorge Buccio, would lead cheerful diners in “The Napkin Song.”
Then there’s all the fine dining: Le Bernardin remains my No. 1 favorite New York City restaurant and securing reservations there for myself, friends and colleagues brought such a sense of victory, I can barely describe it. Think of it as winning a gold medal, but you know, with an email confirmation from Resy.
So here we are, one week after restaurants in New York City reopened at 25% capacity. I’ve been eating outdoors since July — not often — but enough to keep my restaurant-related madness in check. But now it was time to go back to some semblance of reality.
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