When a restaurant is gone, it’s gone. Well, not always. Sometimes, shuttered restaurants, like bumped-off soap-opera characters and horror-movie serial killers, spring back to life. But the resurrection often takes place in a different location, and the vibe isn’t the same. It’s hard, after all, to re-create the particular alchemy of all the things that make a place special: the staff dynamic, the cast of regulars, the menu as a whole. Individual dishes, though, travel through time and kitchens and have the singular power to evoke moments and memories. Here, a few coronavirus culinary casualties that happily can be found elsewhere — either in homage or purely by coincidence.
Bar Sardine’s Burger
Fairfax, 234 W. 4th St.
A thick puck of juicy beef with smoked cheddar, BBQ mayo, cucumber, onion, Cuban-style potato sticks, and a cult following is not something you put into retirement just because the pandemic-induced pressures of the New York real-estate market have forced you to close your restaurant. So Gabriel Stulman took his star menu item across the street to sister restaurant Fairfax, where you can now get it with a side of Old Bay tater tots.
Prune’s Fried Sweetbreads
Available at Houseman, 508 Greenwich St.
To be clear, Prune has not given up the ghost, and we hope it never will. But at press time, the only place we could find a trace of chef-owner Gabrielle Hamilton’s culinary DNA was Houseman, a restaurant run by former Prune cook Ned Baldwin. On occasion, he’ll add a tribute dish to the menu, most recently sweetbreads with capers, bacon, and brown-butter–lemon sauce. And for an upcoming brunch, he was talking about serving “the rösti I made thousands of back in the day. I could see running a Tabasco omelet as a special down the road one day, too.”