When I was growing up in N.Y.C., there were plenty of great restaurants to visit. La Caravelle, Le Cirque, Elaine’s. (Our family didn’t go to any of those, of course, nor did we even know they existed.)
Living in Riverdale, a middle-class section of the Bronx tucked between Upper Manhattan and Yonkers, most of our dining experiences were relegated to the mom and pop spots. Italian-American restaurants like Pizza Beat on Central Avenue or Dominick’s on Arthur, the five competing Chinese restaurants on or off Johnson (our favorite switched often, but it was usually Empire Hunan). If we were lucky, a trip to the Upper West Side for Indian at Mughlai or for a “Hay and Straw” pasta at Isabella's would have been in order.