For this week's Village Voice restaurant listicle, critic Robert Sietsema compiles the best 10 restaurants in New York's entire 200 year-old (or thereabouts) restaurant world history. He, of course, starts with the restaurant that started it all, the first place to bring leisurely service and an extended menu to the shores of Manhattan—Delmonico's. It is widely regarded as the the first modern day restaurant in the city and came at a time when the poor and rich ate at home (the latter with cooks), and the rest ate at rough communal eating houses or hotel dining rooms.
Also included on his list, the early 1800's Bank Coffee House, the restaurant at the Waldorf Hotel (inventor of both the velvet rope and the Waldorf salad), the first theater hangout Rector's, Barbetta, the famed '21' Club, Henri Soule's Le Pavilion, The Coach House (the space now occupied by Babbo), Lutece, and Daniel.
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Delmonico's, Robert L. Bracklow. From the Collections of the Museum of the City of New York. [link]