The pleasure of lunching or dining at Massoletti's is a manifold one. It means good food, excellent drinks, fine service, and the over-all stamp of the delightful personality which has developed with the spot. I am certain that no other restaurant of such magnitude purveys the same characteristic tinge of hospitality. Massoletti's is open for luncheon and dinner five days a week. Dinner is served until eight o'clock. No parking problem at night, either.
If your dear Aunt Tabitha or your maiden sister should arrive for the summer holidays and the ordinary forms of sight-seeing seem to pall on both of you, treat yourself to luncheon in the Washington Market. Go to St. Paul's Chapel first and brush up on your history about the site of the old Washington Market and why the present one is in the spot it has occupied for lo, these many years. Then take a tour of the booths with all the tempting game and fish and vegetables which are perfectly displayed.
For the climax, try luncheon in the tiny Petrosino restaurant in the market, situated on the west side just across from the Petrosino fish stalls. Note the tank of live eels and the lobsters of various sizes from babies to Gargantuan types. Order any fish you see in the market—if they don't have it in the kitchen, they will send across the way for it. Furthermore, they will prepare it as you wish—sautéed in butter or fried in deep fat. I prefer the former. And there are always choice shrimp or crab meat or lobster or clams or oysters in season with which to toy while awaiting your main course. Nothing fancy, mind you, but everything honest, plus amusing atmosphere. Beer is available, always a complement to fish. If you must have dessert, wander around to the bake-shop and pick what you want and munch as you walk along.
If the simple life of the market does not appeal to you, wander a couple of blocks to Whyte's, (145 Fulton Street, near Broadway). This is one of the plushier of the downtown spots and a restaurant which seems to emphasize space and size without being robbed of personality. Remember this about the large downtown restaurants, such as Whyte's. They must depend upon repeat business day after day, and in so doing they are obliged to maintain a high standard. Here you will find excellent sea food dishes—I have always had a real preference for their finnan haddie and their lobster dishes as well as their cold salmon. And speaking of cold salmon, I wish some restaurateur would do an excellent dill sauce for the king of the fishes.
There is also a goodly sprinkling of meat dishes at Whyte's, if you will spurn the fruits of the sea; however, they pride themselves on the fish and shellfish selections. Wonderful Martinis, too, for the addict.