It wasn’t surprising, but it was a very sad moment, as Cendrillon and its proprietors, Chef (Mang) Romy Dorotan and Amy Besa had been part of many fond memories at an establishment that made us proud as Filipino New Yorkers. With all that has happened in the last couple of months, we have seen so many casualties of this economic crisis we are all current suffering from.
I remember some of our first few dinner dates here after I moved to New York in June 2000, and the many celebrations had there with family and friends. I had proudly brought visiting family and friends to dine here, warning them that it was Filipino cuisine with a twist. Some looking for good old Filipino homecooking were sometimes disappointed by the variation on old favorites, but to me, those very twists to the cuisine I grew up made it a novelty of an experience worth stopping by for in Manhattan.
Mang Romy and Amy usually hopped from table to table talking to their patrons whenever they could, making friends among their many loyal customers. They cheerfully shared stories and got to know the people who trooped to their doors. They featured artists, known and otherwise, lending their walls to showcase talent.
Sometime after 9/11, Alan and I had talked to Mang Romy and he shared with us how the Cendrillon family agreed to cut salaries and hours to survive the scourge of those days when they were cordoned off within the so-called no man’s land, a very trying period for many establishments.
I’d like to think of this as but a new chapter in the ever-evolving repertoire of Chef Romy Dorotan. It is heartening to know that they are building yet anothe restaurant, Purple Yam, which will be opening in Brooklyn sometime in May 2009. The restaurant is still under construction and will be in a area where there are other similar restaurants serving a wide variety of international cuisine. Alan and I are waiting for that opening excitedly, and looking forward to seeing our favorite restaurateurs churning out Filipino fusion cuisine once again.