Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Where are the restaurants of yesteryear?

Feeling more like taking a walk than cooking, Jenn and I set out the other day for Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. We intended to stop at a favorite restaurant that we hadn’t visited for a while: the New Prospect Cafe. When we got there the place was dark. Maybe they were taking the day off? No: when we shaded our eyes and looked inside, the chairs were upended and there was a dead plant in a pot. The place was gone, and with it the friendly, casual service, and the blackened catfish that Jenn always ordered, and the bison burgers that I would get when the craving for meat overcame me. Jenn used to go there for coffee and a snack some afternoons. She would have the place almost to herself — not a good sign, in retrospect — and could read and write as long as she liked. When Bodegas and Liquors closed in our neighborhood (both oddly named restaurants launched by our friend Christian and his wife) and then Boca Sol, which opened across the street from Bodegas and for a while had the sweetest plantains and the crispiest codfish fritters, we went into denial at first. The place must be closed for renovation, we told ourselves, or to give the owners a much-needed rest. Denial was gradually replaced by guilt, and the thought that if we had just eaten there a few more times, and brought our friends there, then maybe... But for the New Prospect there was no denying that it was gone for good, and not much reason to feel guilty. The New Prospect was a bit out of the way for us, but at the end of a long walk in Prospect Park it was nice to know it was just a couple of blocks away. Just another casualty of the high rents, probably, and a recession that began with the new millennium and for most people has never really gone away.

1 comment:

jenn said...

There aren't anything to replace them either. Sad :o{