Where to Find Wheelchair-Accessible Dining, and More Reader Questions
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By Nikita Richardson
As spring marched forward and cherry blossom petals covered city sidewalks, you filled our inbox with questions both practical and highly specific. One reader is searching for wheelchair-friendly dining. Another is looking for a replacement for a beloved restaurant — I found the perfect spot — and a third asked for recommendations in Upper Manhattan for the “one million people in Westchester,” as the reader put it.
As always, email me at [email protected] with your questions or advice, and you may see your message featured here.
Dining With A.D.A.-Accessible Accommodations
My husband recently started using a wheelchair. Before his illness, we enjoyed eating excellent food ranging from luxurious to neighborhood. He especially likes excellent sushi. Please tell us great places to go that are wheelchair accessible (including the bathroom!). — Ellen C.
The excellent Peruvian restaurant Contento in Harlem immediately springs to mind. Two of its owners use wheelchairs, so the space has been outfitted accordingly. (And if your husband loves sushi, the ceviche will hit the spot.) If you want luxurious sushi, Yoshino, a restaurant in NoHo that Pete Wells awarded four stars last year, is accessible and has a counter at wheelchair height.
Finally there’s Fulgurances Laundromat, where rotating resident chefs showcase their talents with a six-course tasting menu for $89 ($149 with wine pairings). The nearby Greenpoint Avenue subway stop is A.D.A.-accessible, and the restaurant has an entrance ramp and a wheelchair-accessible bathroom. Through April 29, the resident chef is Flor Camorlinga, who mixes elements of Japanese, Korean and European cooking with food rooted in her native Mexico. And because the menu changes every few months, this is a restaurant you can revisit as you find your way to a new but no less delicious normal.
Tracking Down a Chef
The Red Cat was recommended to us by Ina Garten. Sadly, it closed after the owner wanted a fresh start — good for him, but bad for us. Can you recommend a similar restaurant? We like the neighborhood vibe without loud music or TVs. — Kathy H.
It’s so rare that I’m able to find a near-perfect answer for a question, but Kathy, wait until you see what I came up with! Some background: The Red Cat was a popular American restaurant in Chelsea that closed in 2018 after nearly 20 years in business. As this reader points out, the chef and owner, Jimmy Bradley, decided to take a break. We could all learn something from Jimmy.
The first place that came to mind was Motel Morris, a chic, New American restaurant, also in Chelsea, where the music is of the soothing soul variety (think Nina Simone and Stevie Wonder). And wouldn’t you know it, the restaurant’s executive chef is one Bill McDaniel, who spent 14 years as the chef de cuisine at the Red Cat. Ta da! Go for the red curry mussels at dinner, or the Gruyère-smothered, open-faced Reuben at lunch.
Dinner Near 125th Street
For the one million people in Westchester, where can we drive down for a great meal in New York City but not have to go below 125th Street? I have a place for Dominican chicken on Broadway and 177th Street. But what else? — Betsy T.
First, please tell me the name of your Dominican chicken place. I hope you don’t mind that my recommendations are below 125th Street — but only by a few blocks. You’ll find one in an earlier answer (Contento). And for the second, my dear colleague Eric Kim lives in Upper Manhattan and has always loved Massawa, the 35-year-old Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurant between 120th and 121st Streets. I trust Eric’s tastes completely and you should, too. He says to order the cabbage and potatoes; the salmon; and any of the vegan options, like the tsebhi hamli, collard greens stewed with tomatoes and berbere.
In Other News …
There’s no restaurant review this week, but here’s Pete Wells’s list of the city’s 100 best restaurants in case you missed it.
Openings: Ma-dé, “a Balinese beach party” of a restaurant from the Wayan team, is now open on Spring Street; Jupiter at Rockefeller Center has added Jupiter Pasta & Wine Terrace, serving cocktails and small plates; and Little Egg, a spinoff of the restaurant Egg (closed), is now open in Prospect Heights.
Priya Krishna has a vibrant report on Corona Plaza in Queens, where Latin American food sellers have created “one of the only markets in New York spearheaded and operated by local vendors,” she writes.
Through interviews with dozens of former employees and local restaurant veterans, Julia Moskin reported on allegations of workplace abuse and harassment against Barbara Lynch, one of Boston’s most celebrated chefs and restaurateurs.
Tejal Rao wrote about Los Angeles’s ever-growing and ever-delicious doughnut scene.
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