The Infatuation. May 2021.
For more than a century, the traditional American understanding of “fine dining” meant white tablecloths and French (or at least European) cuisine and modes of service. Fine dining might have come to New York earlier than elsewhere in the country, but any sort of non-Euro fine dining didn’t effectively exist in the city until the latter half of the 20th century. Chinese restaurants didn’t appear in numbers until the 1960s, with Shun Lee, arguably the city’s first Chinese fine-dining spot, opening in 1965.
And the rise of Indian restaurants in New York came even later, fine or otherwise. “We are still very new, when it comes to our journey to the Western world,” says Vikas Khanna, judge of MasterChef India and former executive chef at Junoon in Flatiron. The latest wave of Indian chefs and restaurateurs are less worried about fine dining as a category, focusing instead on spinning their own version of Indian food as a sincere, personal experience.
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