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My Favorite Late-90s/Early-00s Barnard-Area Restaurants

A look back at where we ate during my college years. Barnard-area restaurants were aplenty but a few favorites really stood out in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.

I get reminiscent every so often about all the good food I ate while studying at Barnard College in New York. My friends really opened my eyes to some great ethnic foods that I might not have sampled otherwise. Around Barnard, restaurants were (and are) aplenty and some became lifelong favorites.

There was Zula, the Ethiopian restaurant that has since closed, where my friends and I would share great vegetarian dishes and eat until we were stuffed. Then, we’d order rum cake to top it off. I was so sad to learn that it had closed. I really want to locate another Ethiopian restaurant since that ranks among my favorite food.

Then there was Mill Korean at 2895 Broadway. Fortunately, that is still there, and still serving the streaming Bi Bim Bap in a hot stone crock. I have never tried anything else there because that was just so delicious with the red chili sauce stirred in. If I remember correctly, that was the first restaurant my roommates and I went to together when I started school at Barnard in the Spring 1999 semester.

I would be remiss not to mention Saigon Grill, though it’s a stretch to call it a Barnard restaurant since it was located pretty far south of the school at 620 Amsterdam Avenue on the Westside (now closed). Their chicken satay with peanut sauce is to die for. Served over rice noodles, I just cannot get enough of it.

Of course, Che Bella at 1215 Amsterdam Avenue makes a good pizza and garlic knots. And Wrapp Factory at 2857 Broadway makes a mean (and large) wrap. (Update 8/2008: Wrapp Factory has closed.)

And there were others too. Tom’s Restaurant, which served memorable black and white shakes with a side of attitude. A couple of long-gone Chinese food places. The deli counter at Appletree, a tiny grocery below our building.

I graduated in 2001. It’s amazing to see how much has — and has not — changed in our school neighborhood. And how much I yearn to go back to those days. And not just for the Barnard restaurants.