Bourdain states that he loves and apparently prefers the old-school, home base places and when it comes to the beautiful city of Manhattan, and this means restaurants such as Keens, Katz's Deli, and Russ & Daughters. He states that if he has been away for a very long time eating great food in other countries, the first place he would want to visit it Russ & Daughters to get some bialys and also a pile of a sliced liver, smoked salmon and cream cheese.
These unique New York institutions have survived all the brutal caprices of changing tastes and styles and are still worth patronizing even if it is not convenient. He makes it clear that “old" does not automatically mean "good." Simply because it is a "New York institution" is not an implication that all individuals would want to eat there. However, if it did, the New Yorkers may have actually gone to eat at the Tavern on the Green or Luchow's would still be operational. Peter Luger [the famous steakhouse in Williamsburg] as well as the Grand Central Oyster Bar would be in business. The places he was thinking about are just institutions, and they just happen to be ancient. However, newer, and more pragmatic enterprises could not or would not do what they are doing. Most of these places are dinosaurs, if not all, among the last of mainly extinct herds that previously, long ago, ruled the New York's concrete jungle. These eateries that still survived, though observed as no longer "ethnically important", and certainly not "current" – and as far from "hot” or “trendy" as anything can be – are what make New York very special. All are still amazing after all these years.
Bourdain contends that these restaurants deserve respect and love from anyone who is serious about food or even about having a great time. Good food is constantly "relevant," he says. He points Manganaro's Grosseria and the splendid time warp of a French cafeteria, Le Veau d'Or, as businesses which would probably be more profitable with selling designer cupcakes, sneakers, or tube socks, since they hang on in a predominantly unfriendly economic climate. They do so for a simple reason, and they are run by brilliantly stubborn individuals who happen to be owners of their buildings.
Manganaro's is a mix of vintage Italian-American, which people who were raised on a more post-Batali, al dente, northern-inflected, meatball-free Italian cuisine, and lightly sauced meal, might not like. However, it is a significant step back in time to another world, and it is indeed, an essential one to cherish and remember. He recommends that if you do not like the spaghetti and red sauce with meatballs in the rear dining area at the Manganaro's if you do not "get it"? You are just not taking enough red wine.
Bourdain admits that there is better French food in the New York area these days than the meals they are serving at the Le Veau d'Or. However, if you cannot have one of the informal-great times of your lifetime at this completely unscathed-by-time frog pond – and it's delightfully irony-free sixty-year-old menu, then you have no real love for French food – and nothing resembling a heart, Bourdain says. He describes it as the bistro that time has forgotten and a final link to a golden age of the tableside carving, and also the curly parsley and state-of-the-art desserts and garnish which was last seen on the pages of the famous Larousse Gastronomique.
A lot of critics will no doubt grumble that the Katz's has been covered excessively on TV and in movies. And they will grunt (accurately enough) that every lazy food writer from elsewhere hoping to cover the "real" city of New York will write about the few bites of pastrami in this downtown institution. The restaurant serves cured corned beef with pastrami to give it a naturally delicious taste without injecting any water, chemicals or other additives to hasten the process. They go by the alias, “the undisputed king of the city of New York” and Bourdain agrees with them. Their signature dish draws guests back over and over again.
Mission Chinese Food in East Broadway was also one of his favorite joints for cocktails and appetizers as well as the Osteria Morini at Lafayette Street for a perfect bowl of pasta. He also mentions the Shake Shack for double naked cheeseburgers without any lettuce or tomato. The franchise also specializes in roadside burgers, hot dogs, frozen custard, beer, wine, and a lot more.
The herring and cured and smoked fish they serve at Russ & Daughters will be just as alluring if the restaurant were a spanking new epicurean shop instead of an institution of over a hundred years old institution which grew from a street cart shop. The product from the restaurant speaks for itself, and Russ & Daughters resides in that rare and small area on the mountaintop, earmarked for individuals who are not only the last and the oldest but also the best.
The point which Anthony Bourdain was trying to make was that people should patronize these great places and not only honor Manhattan's rich cultural and culinary tradition, but you give themselves the permission to rest and have a hell of a good time with their family and friends.