Magazine article The New Yorker

Tables for Two

Magazine article The New Yorker

Tables for Two

Article excerpt

Amsterdam Ave. at 90th St. (712-2872)--Lamb chops or a potpie? A glass of red or a glass of white? That's about as overwhelming as it gets at this corner cafe, whose small, uncomplicated menu makes it seem like a throwback to simpler times. So do the sweetly innocuous decor (a couple of corn plants, shimmery copper-colored curtains, walls in shades of pale green and gold, an overly bright, impastoed oil painting) and the diners, who tend to greet one another like neighbors in a small town.

You get the feeling when the food arrives that rather than a chef there's a really good cook in the kitchen--and that's meant in the nicest way. On a recent Sunday night, as the place slowly filled with couples and more than a few lone diners, it seemed as though everyone had come to tuck into the tender four-hour-braised beef (with parsnips and carrots in coriander-scented gravy, accompanied by pan-crisped spaetzle), or the mustard-crusted halibut (on a tomato-leek sauce into which those Ping-Pong-ball boiled potatoes, the kind served in your high-school cafeteria, had been dropped). …

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