For 50 years (1958 to 2008) there lingered on the West Village's Greenwich Avenue a narrow yellow lunch counter – you know, the old-fashioned kind clad in chipped Formica with twirling red stools. But here's the catch: the place served French food, a living breathing contradiction to the assertion, "There's no such thing as cheap French food, at least not in New York." The herb-flecked Provencale omelet was substantial and satisfying, the Monday special leg of lamb sliced and served with boiled potatoes, the baguette sandwiches thin and penurious with just a slice of meat and a slice of cheese, the way they make them in Paris. Nowadays, when your unpricey lunch options run to Subway and Chiptotle, we miss Chez Brigitte more than ever.
For the next hour of Classics Week, Robert Siestema pays homage to some of New York's finest restaurants now lost to history.