Forty Years of New York Food

David Chang and André Soltner
David Chang and André Soltner Photo: Dan Winters

New York celebrates its 40th anniversary this week, and you can’t look back that far without having something to eat. Rob and Robin paired Lutèce veteran André Soltner in conversation with current “It” Chef David Chang. The pair discussed the difficulties of running a restaurant in today’s New York, the rise of American cuisine, and increasing sophistication of city diners. “Now you don’t open a newspaper or a magazine without reading about cooking, so people know much more,” said Soltner. “If they read two, three recipes, they think they know everything.” The Robs also compiled a Food Timeline spanning New York’s five decades, including takeout tandoori in 1968; the Greenmarket debut in 1976; tableside guacamole in 1985; sea salt in 1996; and Japanese ramen chains in 2008. Gael Greene, who joined New York at the beginning, recalls her favorite meal of the 18,814 she’s consumed on our behalf. Sadly, it’s nothing recent. But take heart — you can still eat at a few of what Gael considers the most important restaurants of the last 40 years, including Nobu and the River Café. Lest we be “borne back ceaselessly into the past,” Rob and Robin remind us of good eats available right now: New York state grapes.

A Conversation with André Soltner and David Chang
Rob and Robin’s Food Timeline
Gael Greene’s Favorite Meal
The City’s Most Important Restaurants
At the Greenmarket: New York State Grapes