The big NY Times Dining feature is about how dining in the year 1985 shaped NYC's restaurant going experiences through today. Led by chefs and restaurateurs David Bouley, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Danny Meyer, Drew Nieporent, and Alfred Portale, diners were treated to fine fare in sketchy neighborhoods, less pretension, smaller checks, lighter California cuisine, and the reliance on fresh, Greenmarket ingredients. An overall democratization of going out for a delicious meal (freed from the restraints of what Nieporent calls the "Le/La restaurants") which might have become the genesis of the modern day foodie.

There are PDFs of reviews for Gotham Bar and Grill, Arizona 206, Lafayette, Jams, Montrachet, Union Square Cafe, and An American Place from 1983 through 1986 (not to mention quotes from Bryan Miller!), which makes Gothamist a bit envious to have missed that exciting time of seeing a seared tuna steak for the first time. Nowadays, the Union Square Cafe and Gotham Bar and Grill are more reliable standbys for a comfortable meal, versus something new and exciting - but we'll still take it. And happy 20th birthday, Union Square Cafe - you're almost legal.

Do you still go to the USC or GBG (fancy nights out with parents or the office count)? Or are you foraging today's pioneering restaurants, in the Meatpacking District, Lower East Side, or Brooklyn?

Photograph of Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Alfred Portale, David Bouley, Drew Nieporent, Danny Meyer from the New York Times; not quite a Rat Pack, nor Brat or Frat Pack...maybe the Morel Pack