Magazine article The New Yorker

ED'S LOBSTER BAR; Tables for Two

Magazine article The New Yorker

ED'S LOBSTER BAR; Tables for Two

Article excerpt

Pearl Oyster Bar, in the West Village, is the matriarch of downtown seafood shacks: in 2001, it spawned Mary's Fish Camp (Mary Redding was once a partner at Pearl), and, this spring, Ed's Lobster Bar (Ed McFarland cooked at Pearl for many years). Lately, lower Manhattan seems to be turning into one giant retrofitted clambake. Sun-kissed nostalgia is big at all three spots: aside from the homey names, each traffics in pie a la mode and presents the day's specials in chalk on a blackboard slate. Redding is said to have spun off after a falling-out, but McFarland doesn't seem interested in slaying the maritime mother. In fact, his place can suffer from second-generation complacency: when a trio of visitors arrived recently, a host said, "Three is difficult for us." The inconveniences of the original--an unaccommodating space, harried staff, the absence of overflow seating--are charming, in the way of an old beach house, but feel almost cynical in a new construction.

When it comes to cooking, however, imitation of one's elders is a perfectly salubrious, even commendable posture. …

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