Back in 2008, when then Times Dining Section editor Pete Wells reduced the long-running $25 and Under column from a weekly to a bi-weekly rotation and longtime Under critic Peter Meehan resigned from the position, there was speculation that the column would be axed. A $25 meal seemed an unrealistic proposition, even in a city that was shifting in an ever more casual (though not necessarily cheaper) direction. Wells said he would keep the column, noting "I love cheap food and I always will," but he never chose a permanent Meehan replacement, instead shifting among an arsenal of freelance critics and allowing them to offer round-ups on tea houses, hot chocolate, hummus, and ice cream carts.
Now, 20 years after its debut under Eric Asimov and six months after Wells turned over his editorship to Susan Edgerley, the column has been cut. Is is replaced by "Hungry City" a new column by regular Times and New Yorker critic Ligaya Mishan. And cheap food lovers don't seem to mind.
Here, Edgerley weighs in to Eater:
· An India Rarely Tasted [NYT]
If Pete Wells' review covers the main game, the place you make a reservation for a Friday or a Saturday, then Ligaya Mishan's review is more Thursday night. This week is a good example: he's Le Bernardin; she's Curry Hill.
But it's not that simple, because Pete's appetite has already led him to plenty of no-reservation places and a burger chain. Drawing the line between the two reviews is more about the thousands of restaurants that remain and are worthy after Pete has weighed in.
Hungry City is not so different from $25 and Under in scope. But it was time to retire the old name, if only because, hey, prices are higher than when Eric Asimov introduced the column in 1994. Hungry City returns to the roots of $25 and Under in that it will run weekly and have a single, distinctive voice. Ligaya, who has already written many reviews for us, is all of that. She's terrific.
· Peter Meehan Ankles NY Times $25 and Under Post [~ENY~]
[Di Fara's Asimov Under via Slice]