Jacob Wirth

2003 Best Chinatown Restaurant, Neighborhood

We get the irony that our favorite neighborhood restaurant in Chinatown is a 135-year-old German beer hall, beloved by generations as a great place for a sudsy tall one and a grilled bratwurst. Now that Jacob Wirth has pulled itself from the brink with a new chef and menu, its halcyon days may still lie ahead. Chef Phyllis Kaplowitz’s menu offers traditional sturdy German fare from schnitzel to spaetzle, but also pasta with shellfish, grilled steak tips, and garlicky P.E.I. mussels that ought to come with straws for all that luscious broth. And with wholesome entertainment such as live jazz and Mel Stiller’s Friday piano sing-alongs—in which rowdy graduate students, old-timers, and tourists alike join in on classics from the last four decades—the old place is as lively as ever.

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