Boiled beef à la Charles is always a favorite dish of mine, served with a good strong broth and pleasantly garnished. A long list of fish and sea food dishes, including a crab meat pancake which is a special dish, will always be found, as well as a tremendous list of entrees and an amazing number of dishes from the grill. Desserts include some of the most delicate and tender crêpes I have eaten in a restaurant and excellent pastry in general. The wine list is quite comprehensive and well priced. However, we wish the waiters served the wine with a little more regard for its delicacy and quality. We also feel that in a restaurant the size of Charles there should be much more supervision and perhaps a little more attention paid to individual wants.
One of my favorite places below the dividing line of Fourteenth Street is a tiny spot near Washington Square called Ricky's, at 115 Waverly Place. Practically no larger than a small apartment in town is this place, but with charm, efficient service, and good food. It is open seven days a week, and Vincent Montemora will serve you dinner late in the evening. Put it on your must list for a summer spot. The restaurant is air conditioned, and there is a pleasant garden protected by a canvas so you don't have to run inside at a drop of rain. Those of you who are nostalgic in your eating and drinking habits will find some of the old marble-topped tables from the Lafayette in the bar.
While Ricky's is primarily a restaurant specializing in broiled foods, roast beef, and one or two other specialties, it has none of the usual props of that type of restaurant. No sawdust on the floor, thank God, no messiness, no feeling that the food is thrust at you rather than pleasantly served; there is a general air of good living and true hospitality. In fact, the service is unique. Monte, realizing that he has the problem of small space, has a crew of exdining-car waiters who have proficiency par excellence.
Nice little touches make for pleasant dining. Plates are hotter than Hades when they should be and chilled when necessary. If you order café espresso, it is carefully made at table in a glass coffee-maker. The buttered garlic toast is something to remember for lovers of the enchanted bud. To me, these things mean a greater enjoyment of an already good meal.
In addition to some excellent broiled meat, I ate the most delicious strawberries with real sour cream. It was not the usual somewhat diluted cream. You will gather that I like Ricky's. I do, for it is a true chophouse in the traditional manner. Entrees range from ＄1.50 to ＄3.50. Drinks are ample and inexpensive. There is Sunday evening buffet in winter for around ＄3—a bargain.
Situated on the site of the old John Street Theater, where the first play by an American author was presented in 1787, is Ye Olde Dutch Tavern, at 15 John Street. Mrs. Langerfeld, who is the owner and the manager, maintains the finest traditions of old gastronomical customs in this tavern. We have been there several times for luncheon and dinner and have left each time with a sense of well being and a feeling of having lunched or dined well. It is exceedingly popular for luncheon and pleasantly filled at the dinner hour, which continues until 8:30 every evening.