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The NYC Dining World According to Sam Sifton: A Pop Quiz!

How would Sifty describe the crowd at Ciano?
How would Sifty describe the crowd at Ciano? Photo: Photos: Danny Kim (Ciano), Handout (Sifton)

Not surprisingly, Sam Sifton’s review of the Fat Radish today contains a great deal about the crowd, which consists of “good-looking youngsters on their third jobs and second apartments, single and raging, with summertime Montauk shares and memories of Belize and Gstaad.” What, no gastro-tourists? The Times critic has a special way of setting the scene, and to celebrate it, we’ve put together a quiz! Read the descriptions below and, without Googling, guess which restaurants they correspond to in the comments (we’ve listed the possibilities alphabetically, at the bottom of the post). We’ll post the answers soon.

1. “The richest and most coddled people in the city … Women who shop and women who dress like their daughters and men who meet them for lunch.”

2. “Local burghers sit in the dining rooms alongside tight-faced matrons in vintage Halston, younger ones in diamonds and black pencil skirts. There are senior partners from white-shoe firms; publishing tycoons; one of the city’s premier public relations men, fiddling with an immense gold ring.”

3. “People who are particular about their food, who have bespoke shoes, who have worn white flannel trousers and walked upon the beach.”

4. “City patricians, upscale travelers, romantics celebrating anniversaries, cads with escort-service friends, priests drinking Burgundy and spooning soup past their dog collars. There is jewelry everywhere, evidence of plastic surgery. There are Thackeray characters come to life in a modern age. Some have spent too much time in the sun, doing nothing much more than turning the pages of a book.”

5. “Middle-aged [name of chef]ites in town cars and sportswear … [who] talk gaily of the market, the Galliano show in Paris, the Astor verdict, Letterman … Date-night couples and Wall Street irregulars.”

6. “Middle-aged curious… with bags under their eyes … Young bucks in selvage jeans and attitude.”

7. “Young professionals crushed into a corner, catching up (‘You’re moving to Elkhart? Where is that, Illinois? Indiana?’) or literary people polishing their eyeglasses in pairs as they talk about art … Women eating salad and talking about the economy, everyone slugging down wine.”

8. “Gastro-tourists in from Los Angeles, and old-guard food freaks with black cars lingering outside. Here are wine nerds with Filson bags clinking with tasting bottles alongside grown-up club kids going soft in the middle, younger ones photographing everything they eat and uploading it to their Tumblrs.”

9. “Doctors lingering over red burgundy with the people who sell them drugs.”

10. “Food maniacs, scenesters and a few Actual Italians.”

11. “Multigenerational Chinese predominate, the elderly leaning on parked cars while children run or pout and moms and dads work mobile devices against the delay.”

12. “Roughly 70 percent of the women who eat at the restaurant look like [Tinsley Mortimer and Kelly Bensimon] … Men in suits who’ve removed their ties, guys who worked in Brussels and don’t wear ties under their suits but sweaters, or little scarves.”

13. “Sleepy-eyed models not eating their oatmeal”

14. “Editors and artists, writers, models and hangers-on, along with Broadway actors and in-town rock stars and friends of [the restaurant’s owner]. They gather in contentment and good clothes.”

15. “Couples, young families, people on their way to that state. Later, the scene will shift toward off-work analysts from the counting houses nearby, local roués at the bar and shy visitors peeking at them over glasses of savagnin.”

16. “Those who live nearby and for those who have come from Bay Ridge or Mill Basin for a nice night out, from Ditmas or Kensington or Sunset Park … those who still think of Manhattan as ‘the city,’ and who rarely cross a river to get to work.”

17. “Hotel guests (‘I used to stay at 60 Thompson’), television fans (‘Psst, look, I think that’s Kenny from Top Chef!’) and gastro-tourists photographing their mussels in coconut milk.”

18. “Men and women poring over the drafts of PowerPoint presentations while stabbing at vegetables, terribly alone, or families in repose, children whining over milk, parents staring wordless and exhausted at the ceiling. Groups of business associates…”

19. “Delta Taus and other frat packers, men in distressed jeans aspiring to six-pack abs, women skating on the thin ice of fashion and yapping into mobile phones.”

20. “Dinner parties that seem pulled from rejected ‘Sex and the City’ scripts… Models and people with incredible collections of music and sneakers and phone numbers, accompanied by the people who went to college with them who now work on Wall Street.”

21. “Plain-Jane American wealth. There are business travelers and older residents of the Upper East Side, a few Eurobankers and the odd plastic-surgery victim.”

22. “Gastrotourists and scenemakers … Hipsters … Their faces — mustachioed, unlined or dusted with glitter, behind geek glasses or Edie-style eyeliner — are filled with anticipation.”

23. “There is a lot of cashmere and silk… plenty of crazy wealth. (That’s Mr. Rosen over there now!) But it’s still fun in Spence-Chapin thrift-shop merino, in a Housing Works frock.”

24. “Date-night renters at the bar, kids from Ocean Avenue flats sharing an entree and a beer; local home-owning families eating out with neighbors; Filipinos who’ve driven in from other parts of bedroom Brooklyn; a few bewildered travelers off the Q train.”

25. “Celebratory young Koreans texting … office parties and passers-by from local hotels.”

26. “There are office parties celebrating around the large round tables by the open kitchen, a few setups of in-laws and marrieds, some dudes in Brooks suits getting serious about rib-eyes and hash browns.”

27. “The crowd runs from sample-sale women in black to fellows in untucked striped dress shirts and pressed jeans, everyone hopeful: top of the second inning, no score.”

28. “The kind of bikers who don’t ride Harleys in leathers and boots, but stripped-down Schwinns in boat shoes and skinny jeans.”

29. “Fathers and daughters, mothers and boyfriends … Interspersed among them are neighborhood couples, weeknight office groups, friends meeting friends under warm wood, beside bookcases and white brick. The talk is of babies and work, Uncle Murray and this summer’s vacations.”

30. “A clientele that is perfectly New Yorkish: old and young and middle-aged, white and black, riotously Italian and fashion-forward, Mitteleuropean and plain.”

Possible Answers:
Bar Americain
The Breslin
Casa Lever
Fatty Cue
Fornino Park Slope
Imperial Palace
The John Dory
La Grenouille
Le Caprice
Marc Forgione
The Mark
Osteria Morini
Plein Sud
Purple Yam
The Lion
The Mark
Wall & Water

The NYC Dining World According to Sam Sifton: A Pop Quiz!