Monday, February 9, 2009

Gone -- but not forgotten

Three terrific eateries are closing their doors -- much to this schlub's chagrin.

The first on this list is a legitimately great French restaurant, Fleur de Sel. This is particularly a shame, because this city's French fare is usually two fold: Super expensive (I'm thinking of Daniel and Balthazar which I admit are worth the occasional splurge) or mediocre bistro. There are only a handful of places that dance between the two, in terms of price and quality (Pastis probably comes closest). And Fleur de Sel filled that niche. (And I believe it had a Michelin star.) I've only been there once, but I had a truly fabulous piece of monkfish that melted in my mouth.

Second on the list is Alphabet City's The E.U., which I thought was a pretty decent gastropub. I had been hearing of its problems for months now, but when I went for dinner last year, it was hopping. And while it was slightly pricey, the sea bass that I had was by and large excellent. With a beer, I got out of there for around $30 (which isn't cheap, but isn't insane).

Last on the list of lamented closings is Anita Lo's Rickshaw Dumpling Bar.

This is the one I feel least bad about, because they're only closing the 8th Street branch (the one in Chelsea is remaining opened, as far as I know). And I'm not as crazy about Rickshaw as I am about other dumpling restaurants. If you really want a good dumpling, you're probably better off going to Flushing and going to any one of 7 or 8 different spots for soup dumplings. (Oh, the crab and pork soup dumpling is heaven!)

However, I do like Rickshaw's Peking Duck dumpling, which comes in hoisin dipping sauce. Their edamame dumpling is also excellent. And the dumpling skins are less gluey than you're liable to get at your average (non-Chinatown) Manhattan restaurant. All in all, Rickshaw was always a good snack, in a good location.

It's a hard economy. All of you will all be missed.