Like the austere modernist architect who looks back with shameful fondness on his squat, stucco childhood home, we have an undiminished attachment to the TV dinners that were the daily consolation of our friendless youth. That’s why Andrew Rubin’s TV-dinner tributes speak so loudly to us. We haven’t eaten the things, but between the portioned tray and the menu items (fried chicken with peas and carrots, macaroni and cheese, and cobbler; pot roast with roasted potatoes, beets, and a brownie), they seem a faithful-enough tribute. Of course, a Swanson original doesn’t cost $30, and dining at the Regency Hotel’s 540 Park isn’t quite the same as sitting on a white vinyl chair watching 3 p.m. reruns of The Love Boat. But the Regency isn’t so bad.
It’s not the Swanson dinner of your youth, but it tries.