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"How long have you worked here?" I asked the white-hatted counterman at Cup & Saucer after our meal. "Oh, only 25 years." As one of the owners of the Chinatown lunch counter, he admitted that not much has changed over the years. He then got back to singing while manning the flattop.
Not much inside, anyway. There's still a counter with swirly stools, and yes, all the employees do where those little white hats. But a look at the signage outside, and the Chinese characters immediately above it, show that the neighborhood has come a long way.
I wouldn't call Cup & Saucer a diner to go out of your way for. But it's impressive that it's still there at all, and the time warp of having a meal at the counter is well worth it. One way to do so: Fish, helpfully noted on the menu, on a bun ($6.50). It's just what you expect: crisp breaded fish cake, tartar sauce, iceberg, sesame seed bun. Though it's pricier than a Filet-o-Fish, it's a good deal larger, and easy enough to call lunch on its own.
It's better than a Filet-o-Fish as well, more crisp, with generous tartar sauce and a bun that retains some structural integrity. There's an upper bound on how good a fried fishwich like this can be, but given what Cup & Saucer is working with, they're doing a fine job.
Cup & Saucer
89 Canal Street, New York, NY 10002 (map) 212-925-3298
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