New York City - Around The World In 80 Dinners
( Originally Published 1959 )
OF the 22,000 eating places in New York City, a small percentage caters to 32 nationalities who have been absorbed into the city but still prefer their own original native dishes. At last count there were restaurants specializing in the foods and entertainment of the following foreign elements: Algerian, Armenian, Chinese, Cuban, Czechoslovakian, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hawaiian (Polynesian), Hungarian, East Indian, Israeli, Italian, Japanese, Javanese, Lebanese, Mexican, Pakistani, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Swiss, Syrian, Turkish, Ukrainian and Austrian (Viennese).
A man could eat his way around the world without once leaving the Island of Manhattan!
Obviously, it would be impossible to visit all of them or even list them all. Those mentioned here are out-standing for one reason or another. In some cases it is the food, in others the atmosphere, music, entertainment, clientele or historical significance.
There are only a few restaurants that might be identified as strictly American, specializing in dishes native to New England or the Southern States, including Creole (New Orleans). Next to the basic American fare of steaks and chops, French-Italian cuisine has long been recognized as the predominant choice of the American dining-out public. For this reason, they rate a group of their own and have been given the arbitrary classification of "Continental Cuisine."
Lottie's Dogwood Room, at 50 East 58th Street (in the Blackstone Hotel), is the answer to those skeptics who claim New York has every type of restaurant except a good American restaurant. True, Miss Lottie's emporium appeals more strongly to visitors from Dixie than to New England gourmets, but in any case it is definitely American. The specialties tell the story: corn bread, egg bread, spoon bread, buttermilk biscuits, hominy grits, blackeyed peas, watermelon rind pickles, corn fritters, collard greens with pepper vinegar sauce, marshmallow yams and, of course, fried chicken and gravy. Just don't ask for "hush puppies"!
LOTTIE'S DOGWOOD ROOM is strictly a family affair. Owned by Mrs. Lottie Louise Curry Mitchell Pierce, formerly of Anniston, Alabama, it is operated with the help of fourteen relatives including her mother, Lula Curry, a spry gentlewoman of 87 who daily visits the premises as overseer. Sister Mary is hostess, with an assist from niece Diane and daughter-in-law Pauline, while brothers Hugh and Bud are in charge of the kitchen. Another brother, Murray, is head bartender, assisted by brotherin-law Weldon. Lottie's son, George Mitchell, is manager and vice president of the operation. Another sister, Sally, comes up from Alabama for six months every year to organize inventory and supervise advance orders for staples and kitchen supplies. Lottie's niece, Corinth, is bookkeeper, while another niece serves as cashier. And sister-in-law Josie is assistant to Corinth.
Lottie Curry started cooking in Alabama while still in her teens and started business on her own in Brooklyn in 1928, in a tiny tearoom. Shortly after (1932) she was operating the restaurant in the Sperry Gyro-scope plant in Queens, Long Island. In 1944, she took the big plunge and moved across the river to the Hotel Meurice in New York's West Side. Two years later she was obliged to look for larger, newer quarters and the Hotel Blackstone, on the East Side, was the answer.
Lottie is one of eleven children and her mother heads a clan of 150 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and their respective in-laws. There is an annual reunion and crowding all the relatives into the DOGWOOD ROOm has become quite a problem.
The White Turkey Town Houses, of which there are four in New York, also feature strictly American cuisine, though catering more to the Yankee taste. The original 162
White Turkey, at Hartsdale, N.Y., is pLactically a shrine of Early Americana and the ideal place for Thanks-giving celebrations. Head of the overall operation is Richard G. Roth and best known of the hostesses is Mrs. Dorothy Davega, who presides at the 12 East 49th Street branch.
P. J. Moriarty's, at 1064 Third Ave., Sixth Ave. and 52nd St. (Radio City) and 213 West 33rd St. (Penn Station area), is Irish-American, specializing in deluxe corned beef and cabbage and other delicacies dear to the Gaelic appetite.
Tavern-on-the-Green, in Central Park at 67th St., helps to establish the boast that "New York is the greatest little summer resort." Inside and out it is refreshing and a definite departure from the customary city night club. Here, against a lovely background supplied by nature, one may dine and dance to excellent music, in a patio roofed over by leafy branches and the sky. And it is definitely American.
The TAVERN, owned by Arthur Schleifer and Julius Berman, is on the site of the sheepfold where the city maintained its fourfooted lawnmowers. In 1934, shortly after demolition of the Casino-in-the-Park, that playpen of the rich and profligate in speakeasy times, Park Commissioner Robert Moses had the building converted into a restaurant that would appeal to the general public.
During World War II the TAVERN became headquarters for the Civilian Defense Corps. After the war the Messrs. Schleifer and Berman, who had operated the historic Claremont Inn on Riverside Drive (since demolished), took over and redecorated and refurbished the dining Loom and kitchen. Jack Lasher is now the host.
TAVERN-ON-THE-GREEN features predominantly American menus (steak, roast beef, lobster, etc.).
El Chico (Spanish), at 80 Grove St., in Greenwich Village, is the oldest and most authentic Spanish restaurant in New York and also far and away the gayest be-cause of its lively cabaret shows. EL. CHICO has introduced more Hispanic talent than any other cafe in New York and last April (1958) celebrated an anniversary almost unique in local cafe history—33 years of continuous operation by one owner—Benito Collada.
EL CHICO (the Little One) was the beloved nick-name of the first King of the Alhambra and it is from the Alhambra that the restaurant gets its Moorish-type architecture and decoration. The club is, in a way, a museum of Spanish artifacts: mosaic tiles that tell the story of Don Quixote; 16th-century carriage lamps that once graced the coaches of Spanish royalty; capas (capes) and other souvenirs of bull fights, including one mounted bull's head from Valencia; and a tiny brass bell from the ruins of a convent near Madrid (originally a gift from Queen Victoria of Spain to the nuns) which is used to announce the floor shows.
In the foyer, where the bar is located, is a striking mural, a cavalcade of singers and dancers who have appeared at EL CHICO. Though Collada draws some talent from the Latin-American countries—Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, Argentina, etc.—most of it is imported directly from Spain and a nite at EL CHICO is the nearest approach to a tour of Barcelona's famous Paralelo or a visit to the gypsy quarter "down by the walls of Seville" that is glorified in Carmen. Flamenco gypsy singers and dancers are Collada's specialty. Because of the heel stomping, the dance floor has had to be renewed several times.
Very much a fixture at EL CHICO is an aged parrot, Senor Car, reputedly more than a century old, which once belonged to Pancho Villa. Collada has owned Senor Car longer than the club itself.
Collada, tall, slim, green-eyed and a native of Avillias, a village in Asturias, left home for the first time at the age of 11 for a three months' trip to the Philippines on a fishing vessel. He has been around the world three times and back and forth from the U.S. to Spain, Mexico, Cuba and South America more times than he remembers, working variously as bellboy, interpreter, waiter, guide, and hotel and cafe manager. Opened the Sevilla-Biltmore in Havana, the Hotel Gloria in Rio de Janeiro, and represented Cooks tours in Egypt, Rhodesia and Africa. Was the first non-official to visit King Tut's tomb. Preceding his first New York job, as bellboy at the Hotel McAlpin, he served six months with Pancho Villa's army in Mexico and was badly wounded. Still doesn't know what he was fighting for. ("The Spanish enjoy fighting," he explains.)
In 1930, after experimenting with a place in Sullivan St., Collada took a lease on a triangular cellar in the new building at 80 Grove St. (at the confluence of Sheridan Square and 7th Ave.) where he could offer to Americans the type of food and music that he found they liked in Havana, Mexico and other Caribbean cities. Some time later he married one of his entertainers, a beautiful Puerto Rican singer named Rosita Rios, who now acts as mistress of ceremonies, introducing the floor shows.
The specialties foodwise at EL CHICO are arroz con polio, paella Valenciana and guava paste with cream cheese, and other Hispanic delicacies.
Though not part of the entertainment, Collada might make a concession and show you Minetta Creek which still flows silently under Greenwich Village and can be seen through a trap door in the kitchen at EL CHICO.
Chateau-Madrid (Cuban-Spanish), at 42 West 58th St., is practically the last souvenir of the Latin-American dance craze that swept New York in the late 1930's and made Americans more rhumba-minded than the Cubans. Its owner and host is Angel Lopez, who for seven years was a partner of the old Havana-Madrid on Broadway (now vanished).
Like EL CHICO, down in Greenwich Village, the entertainment at CHATEAU-MADRID may be imported from Spain, Mexico or any one of the Caribbean countries, but it is predominantly Cuban. Two superb bands, spelling each other and specializing in the Latino-type music, make it a dancer's paradise for those who are cha-cha-cha-minded. The club features a Tuesday nite "Champagne Hour" in which amateur dancers compete 166
for awards doing the mambo, meringue, Paso doble and other dances that succeeded the rhumba in popularity. The CHATEAU-MADRID has featured the incomparable Carmen Amaya; Harry Mimo, the "Charlie Chaplin of South America"; Alberto Cartillo, the "Bing Crosby of Argentina"; and similar stars.
Foodwise, the club specializes in dishes that derive from Spain, including the inevitable arroz con polio and black beans and rice.
La Barraca (Cuban), 253 West 51st St., is definitely a Cuban restaurant—not Spanish, Mexican, Puerto Rican or another admixture—and like a small corner of Havana. Specializes in arroz con polio (chicken with rice), paella (the same dish with seafood added), shredded beef with black beans, fried plantains, etc. Its host is Jose Fernandez. Pancho Cardenas, remembered from many former Cuban rendezvous, plays a small piano there and the only other entertainment is phonograph records of Cuban music. Being in the heart of the theatre district, it naturally attracts before-and-after theatre patrons and most of the pretty blondes you see there are from the cast of "My Fair Lady," next door.
The Liborio (Cuban and Mexican), at 884 Eighth Ave. (neaL 53rd St.), has been there since 1949. Its owner-host is A. Perez Blanco, native of San Cristobal, Cuba, and veteran of a dozen restaurants in Cuba, Mexico and Panama, as well as the old Havana-Madrid and La Conga in New York. Starting as a small bar restaurant, LIBORIO has expanded in the past nine years to nearly ten times its original size. Features typical Cuban and Mexican food and Spanish music by Rogelio Reguera.
Zabala's La Zambra (Spanish), at 14 E. 60th St. (next door to the COPACABANA), is the new location for an authentic Spanish restaurant which for nine years previously had been located on W. 52nd St. There is no entertainment, but since this is a favored rendezvous of Spanish entertainers, you can never tell just when some one of them will burst into an impromptu flamenco.
Host Ramon Zabala was born in York, Pa., but he learned his kitchen craft in old Castile and many of his Spanish dishes follow authentic recipes inherited from his grandmother.
Ramon himself became rather famous for his foot-work in quite a different field—as a soccer player, both here and abroad.
Cafe Sahbra (Israeli), at 253 W. 72nd St., is the only Israeli nite club in the United States at this writing. The SAHBRA (the word means "native-born Israeli") presents the top artists and talents of the State of Israel, such as the actor-pantomimist Shai K. Ophir, singer Shoshana Damari, the Oraneem (a folk-singing and dancing group), folk singer Sara Halevy, folk dancer Sara Aman, et al.
The Cafe, which is less than two years old, is operated by Leo Fuld, a native of Rotterdam, Holland, who is 168
an internationally known singer. Fuld lost his entire family in the concentration camp at Auschwitz during World War II, and the creation of the State of Israel so stirred him emotionally that he wrote and recorded the song "Where Can I Go?" in 1946, which sold more than 2,000,000 copies around the world. The song was adopted as the official song of all displaced persons and made Fuld famous. In the past eight years, Fuld has given five concerts in Israel.
The SAHBRA suggests an actual cafe that might be operated in Israel today, with decorations by noted Israeli artist Yoram Kaniuk depicting scenes of the Middle East. The restaurant specializes in authentic Israeli delicacies, both food and drink.
The Hawaiian Room (Polynesian), in the Lexington Hotel, Lexington Ave. and 48th St., is and has been for the past 20 years one of the most colorful spots in town. Until recently it was actually better known in Honolulu or San Francisco than in New York. Recent television shows using the room as a background have made New Yorkers more aware of it.
The story of the HAWAIIAN ROOm dates from 1937.
The management of the Lexington Hotel, completed six months before the market crash of 1929 and costing $5,000,000, found itself stuck with a large and useless basement dining room. In 1932, it opened as the SilveL Grill, featuring bandleaders Ozzie Nelson, Little Jack Little, Artie Shaw and Carl Ravel (now Carl Ravazza) .
When its popularity waned, the manager, Charles Rochester, decided to experiment for a few months with all-Hawaiian entertainment in a cafe decorated with South Sea motifs and featuring Polynesian food. In 1937, the HAWAIIAN ROOm opened with Andy Iona as bandleader and Ray Kinney as featured singer. In '38, Kinney returned to Hawaii and brought back with him a trio of lovely hula dancers—Napua, Mapawana and Pualani; also a singing comedienne called Hilo Hattie, whose specialty was "The Cockeyed Mayor of Kaunakakai." The show was an instantaneous success and the pattern has varied little from then on.
Two years ago Restaurant Associates took over management of all the Hotel Lexington restaurants, with Jerome Brody, Joseph Baum and Alan Lewis—all in their thirties—to direct and manage the room. Lewis had fallen in love with Hawaii during the war and paid several return visits, so was a natural for his post.
Though the HAWAIIAN ROOm chefs are Swiss, the menu now features a greater variety of Polynesian dishes (not to be confused with Chinese) than ever. The drinks, fantastic concoctions involving coconuts and other tropical fruits, never fail to make a hit with visiting firemen. And the "old lady" always enjoys seeing her husband get up and make a fool of himself by trying to dance the hula in the "audience participation" numbers.
The motto of the HAWAIIAN ROOm is "Aloha," a very elastic word which can mean "hello," "good-by," "glad to see you," or—stretching it a bit—"if you can't come to the Islands, let the Islands come to you."
Trader Vic's (Polynesian), in the Savoy-Hilton Hotel on 57th St., is the latest and most elaborate of several restaurants of that name located in Honolulu, San Francisco, Chicago and Havana, and similar restaurants specializing in rum drinks and "Polynesian" food in Seattle and Denver.
TRADER Vic's in San Francisco, built inside a large Quonset hut, was opened in 1951, and is probably the most famous of the lot. The New York TRADER Vic's, said to have cost a million dollars, was designed by a Seattle firm in co-operation with nine other contractors, and is one of the most picturesque restaurants in the city, presenting the South Sea Islands as we would like to think of them.
Trader Vic opened his first restaurant in Oakland, Calif., in 1934 and built his reputation on special rum drinks and exotic foods. Those who recall patronizing the Oakland bar say he had a way of astounding his customers by suddenly plunging an ice pick into his leg. When they recovered from the shock, he let them in on the secret that he has one wooden leg.
Trader Vic in private life is Victor J. Bergeron. He says he is of French descent (he does speak French), but beyond that very little is known of his past and he prefers to keep it that way. He is married, has four children—two daughters, two sons—and lives in Orinda, Calif. He has written three books dealing with cooking and tending bar, one of which sold 150,000 copies; heads six corporations; and markets food and beverage products throughout the world.
Some of the more popular rum drinks served at TRADER Vic's go by the picturesque names of Samoan Fog Cutter, Doctor Funk of Tahiti, Molokai Mike, White 'Witch and Suffering Bastard.
The Luau 400 (Polynesian), at 400 E. 57th St., is another example of what we think the South Seas should be like. To enhance the atmosphere, owner Harry Bloomfield has employed all his theatrical skill to present tropical trees, waterfalls, and exotic birds as a background for the sloe-eyed waitresses, ukulele players, etc.
A favorite with show people, especially for private parties, and one of the last ports of call for upper East Side theatregoers on the way home.
Lucky Pierre's (Lucky Pierre Internationale), at 240 West 56th St., is chiefly celebrated for the host's unique method of cooking. He does it all with a blow torch, working stage center behind a framed windshield of gelatin paper, and to watch him at his work is quite a show. Pierre started cooking in his mother's Paris pension at the age of 9, and now claims he knows 5,000 recipes and 167 sauces.
Jean-Pierre Gendron started his restaurant operation as a sideline to his recording business in a tiny store on Times Square, mostly with borrowed fittings. He took up cooking with a blow torch during an emergency in which the electric stove conked out. Word got around that several struggling young actresses, one of them named Grace Kelly, liked to eat there and the place was made. Gendron claimed he taught the future Princess of Monaco how to cook.
Lucky Pierre got his nickname during World War II, when he was a Free French fighter, following a Nazi bombing of a truck convoy. Pierre and a pal sat out the raid under one of the trucks, fortified with a bottle of brandy, and didn't know until afterward that the truck was carrying ammunition. Following the war, he came to the United States in the entourage of the late Marcel Cerdan, for whom he acted as a sparring partner.
The Gold Coin (Chinese), 994 Second Ave. (the mid-Fifties), is a far cry from the type of drab, second-floor Chinese restaurants that started spreading over New York in the 1920's. This small (70-seat) restaurant was designed by Joseph Platt, famous Hollywood set designer best known for his Gone With the Wind sets, using a Chinese gold coin motif—a symbol of good fortune—throughout. The owner and operator of the GOLD COIN is Bill Chan, who gained his initial experience in the field working for his uncle, who owned a number of Chinese restaurants in New York and Boston. The GOLD COIN specializes in the Cantonese-type food. Incidentally, Bill Chan and his wife, who usually presides at the cash register, are two of the most attractive Orientals in New York.
The Empress (Chinese), at 710 Third Ave., one of the newest of the new-type Chinese restaurants, was decorated by Barney Goldman, who has designed more than 50 Chinese restaurants in New York. Cost of transforming a former street-level floor into an exquisitely decorated Oriental restaurant, Mr. Goldman told me, was $250,000. He also told me that in the course of working with Chinese he discovered some rather amusing facts about their food. It was Li Hong Chong (Li Hung Chang in our history books), special envoy to Washington from the Manchu Emperor, who introduced chop suey into the United States. It was impossible for Chong's chef to get all the oriental herbs necessary for his cuisine, so he turned to native vegetables, such as celery, onions, etc., and chop suey (literally "hash" in Chinese) was the result. The dish became so popular in Washington that Chong would hand out recipes to his guests, and from there the fad for Chinese food spread throughout the country.
The Peking (Chinese), at 845 Second Ave., and the Green Lantern, at 685 Lexington Ave., are also two of the newer type of East Side Chinese restaurants—all elegant and all expensive. The GREEN LANTERN was decorated by Russell Patterson, who is by way of be-coming the most popular decorator of restaurants, occidental and oriental, in New York. The GREEN LAN-TERN is a symphony in black, white and pink—black mahogany furniture, black velvet walls, white leather bar and pink satin draperies, lighted by many white lanterns and one green one. Thomas Hus is the manager and host, and the chef is Chan Sue, who once acted in that capacity for the Chiang Kai-shek family.
Ruby Foo's (Chinese), 240 W. 52nd St., is one of the more popular oriental restaurants and one of the first to feature modern decor combined with Chinese artifacts. It was opened in October 1936 by the late Ruby Foo and her partner, Mrs. Florence Pike, both from Boston. After Mme. Foo's death, Mrs. Pike continued to operate both the Boston and New York restaurants, which have maintained their reputation for excellent Cantonese and Mandarin cuisine through the years.
Lum Fong's (Chinese), for 18 years at 150 W. 52nd St., is the uptown branch of another Chinese restaurant of that name founded some 30 years ago by the late Lum Fong, where Americans were first initiated in such Chinese classics as egg roll, lobster roll, won ton soup and chow yock soong. Mrs. Mae Fong, widow of Lum, and his son, Dan Lum, now head the operation, with Jimmy Lee acting as manager.
The House of Chan (Chinese), at Seventh Avenue and 52nd St., is another one of the better uptown Chinese restaurants. In Chinatown proper there are dozens of them, one about as good as another. The only advantage they have on the uptown restaurants is that their prices are much lower and they have far more native color. Chinatown itself is and always has been one of New York's major tourist attractions.
Other uptown Chinese restaurants include:
Freeman Chum's, 142 F. 53rd St. Billy Gwon's, 128 W. 52nd St. Old China, 137 W. 52nd St.
Shavey Lee's ("the Mayor of Chinatown"), 32 Mulberry St.
Chinese Rathskeller, 45 Mott St.
Toy Wan, 194 Canal St.
Yat Bun Sing, 16 Mott St.
Joy Young, 85 Mott St.
Lee's, 36 Pell St.
The Golden Horn (Turkish), at 122 W. 49th St., one of Manhattan's leading Armenian-Turkish restaurants, has a many-splendored setting for its oriental cuisine. Favored by UN delegates and one of the establishments used by the Gourmet Society for its monthly dinners. Shish-kebab, naturally, is featured.
Karachi (Indian and Pakistani), at 144 W. 46th St., features Indian and Pakistani specialties, especially curries, at medium prices.
Two Guitars (Russian), at 244 E. 14th St. (just off Second Ave.), is the old Russian Kretchma. It got its new name when Alex Antonoff, a White Russian, and his Irish-American wife, Betty Lynch, bought the place for $20,000. The Antonoffs have preserved all the old White Russian customs for which the Kretchma was famous, and a visit to the Two GUITARS is a "must" during the colorful celebrations of Russian Christmas, which is on Jan. 7, Russian New Year's (Jan. 13) and Russian Easter, which occasionally arrives simultaneously with ours.
Antonoff's history varies from the usual story of a Russian refugee inasmuch as he escaped from Russia after the Revolution. Got out on a Greek ship and spent eight years abroad, visiting practically every world port before getting to New York. During World War II he served as a staff sergeant in the Fifth Air Force and spent four years of his service in the Pacific. He was maitre d' at the old Russian Skazka when he met Betty, a buyer of children's wear, who frequently dined there.
The Two GUITARS is one of the few oldtime Russian restaurants left in New York to feature the typical Muscovite entertainment, such as gypsy singers, balalaika players and dagger dancers. The fierce-looking dagger dancer, who pins dollar bills to the floor, is Mischa Uzdanoff, who was with the old Kretchma.
Unfortunately for posterity, the aging gypsy singer who sang there for many years and was reputed to carry in her head more native gypsy melodies than anyone living, passed on before getting someone to record them. She was the favorite singer of Rasputin, and was the attraction that took him to the out-of-the-way roadhouse the night he was shot by Prince Yusupoff.
The Polonaise (Polish), at 230 E. 51st St., is New York's most outstanding Polish restaurant, though it does not service Polish specialties exclusively. Its owner is Paul Pawlowski and the manager is his brother, Kazik Pawlowski.
Paul operated the most deluxe nite club in Warsaw before World War I, the Sphinx, and other restaurants in Italy, France and England before coming to this country. THE POLONAISE is operated in the truly continental manner, candle-lit and with exceptionally good violin music, from dinner on, by former European concert artists.
From luncheon on, during the cocktail and dinner hours, an extra added attraction at THE POLONAISE is Doris, a famous palmist who for 22 years gave her services at the Versailles. As Doris Brunton, she was a stage beauty best remembered for having appeared as the Virgin in Max Reinhardt's production of The Miracle.
The Gate of Cleve (Dutch), Sheraton-McAlpin Hotel, Broadway and 34th St. If you wish to go Dutch, gastronomically speaking, we'd suggest a visit to the GATE OF CLEVE restaurant, which is a replica of Die Port van Cleve restaurant in Amsterdam, Holland. Located in the huge basement "cave" of the Sheraton-McAlpin, its groincd ceilings and elaborate mosaic walls could hardly be reproduced today.
Phil Gluckstern's (Kosher), 209 W. 48th St., recently celebrated its 60th anniversary under one family's management. It is one of the city's representative Jewish restaurants, on the same location now for 13 years, and has expanded to three floors.
The history of GLUCKSTERN'S beginnings go back to the turn of the century, when Louis Gluckstern operated a modest little dinery in the rear of a Grand St. saloon, near the East River ferry. The fame of his traditional Jewish dishes, as well as Romanian, Hungarian and Slavic cooking, soon drew the uptown "carriage trade." His steady customers today include Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Eddie Cantor, Milton Berle and other big names of show business. Recently Phil re-turned from a visit to Ireland with something unique —a native Irish recipe for corned beef and cabbage Kosher style.
A few other Jewish restaurants, on lower Second Ave., where one crowds the other, include RAPAPORT'S, RATNER'S, MOSCOWITZ & LUPOWITZ, etc.
The two betterknown Japanese dining spots are within two blocks of each other: the Miyako, at 20 W. 56th St. and Sukiyaki at 144 W. 55th St. Both feature the Japanese style of cooking that is an entertainment in itself.
Finland House, 39 E. 50th St., the Ugly Duckling (Danish) at 82 W. 3rd St., and Three Crowns (Swedish), 12 E. 54th St., are three of the town's more distinguished Scandinavian restaurants.
Paddy's Clam House, 215 W. 34th St., is one of the largest and oldest seafood establishments in New York. Paddy (Joseph Patrick) White opened his first clam house in the Bronx more than 60 years ago and moved to the present location 26 years ago. He is now 80 and engaged in writing a book to be titled Eat Fish, Live Longer.
Paddy, born in Philadelphia, learned his trade at the oyster bar of Delmonico's. He still maintains that Lorenzo Delmonico was the greatest restaurateur of all time. Paddy established a record 59 years ago for opening clams—100 in 3 minutes, 20 seconds—and claims this record has never been beaten. Today, his West 34th St. restaurant serves i,000 people daily; disposes of 5,000 lobsters, 50 bushels of shellfish and 1,700 pounds of fish per week. The restaurant features wooden-topped tables and makes no pretentions to elegant service or appointments. And, Paddy boasts, people stand in line for his $2.55 five-course lobster dinner on Sundays.
Paddy is an avid fight fan, has known all the champs, and used to travel around the country to catch all the big fights of the past half century.
The Blue Sea, 153 3rd Ave., is one of the four seafood places owned by John Calamaras, a former Greek sea captain who came to the United States in 1937 and started his operation as a one-man clam bar in the Bronx. His first 3rd Ave. venture, dating from 1940, has expanded until he now owns most of the block between 14th and 15th Sts. on 3rd Ave. The BLUE SEA, in which he takes great personal pride, is three years old.
Grateful for his success in this land of opportunity, Capt. Calamaras has in the past few years sponsored some 150 displaced persons from the Balkan countries, whom he has helped to educate and train for jobs, both in restaurants and other occupations.
Other well-known and established seafood restaurants in New York include:
The Sea Fare, at 1032 1st Ave. (near 57th St.) and 44 W. 8th St.
King of the Sea, 879 3rd Ave. (near 53rd St.) Fisherman's Net, 495 3rd Ave. (near 33rd St.) Harvey's, 509 3rd Ave. (near 34th St.)
The Lobster, 145 W. 45th St.
Grand Central Oyster Bar, on the Lower Level of Grand Central Station.