We don’t have cable, so we’re grateful to New York magazine for describing chef Anthony Bourdain’s “Disappearing Manhattan” episode of his “No Reservations” Travel Channel show. Apparently Bourdain visits and celebrates such old-school joints as Manganaro’s, the Heidelberg, Keen’s Chop House, Russ & Daughters, and others including good old Sophie’s Bar.
In each case Bourdain brings a guest, and to Sophie’s he brings, or rather takes as his Virgil, author Nick Tosches, who says that not only are joints like Sophie’s disappearing, but “actual liquors have disappeared. When was the last time you looked behind a bar and saw a bottle of Carstairs or Fleischmann’s?”
We’re a little annoyed that Bourdain’s colleague Chris Cheung chose to elevate Hop Kee by dissing Wo Hop, but we are pleased that anyone with any authority is praising the old-fashioned and the inexpensive to a nation of jaded joy-poppers who won’t watch black-and-white movies or listen to anything that wasn’t recorded by robots. Besides, if Bourdain further popularizes the role of Bitter Crank, there’s hope for the rest of us.