It's been nearly a month since the DOH slapped the timeless Chinatown treasure, the Nom Wah Tea Parlor, with 58 violations, resulting in the shuttering of the dim sum palace. So I decided to check in on the Doyers Street restaurant over the weekend.
I found it still shut, but with the lights on, revealing the wonderful interior, with its tile floor, tin ceilings, old-fashioned bar and ancient equipment. The central pillar surrounded by coat hooks is, alone, a wonder. Things didn't look too tidy, so I wasn't encouraged as to the parlor's future. In the back, four middle-aged and elderly Chinese men sat. I think there were playing cards.
After a while, one of the men peered out the door, and I seized my chance. This turned out to be the owner. He told me he expected the parlor to reopen next week. He was only waiting for a DOH inspector to return. "It's all cleaned up," he said. He also did not try to pretend that the restaurant had really been closed for renovations or because of an electrical problem, as many eateries pretend when the DOH shuts them down. He just slapped his hand on the DOH notice in the window. "Health Department," he said, simply.
It will be good to have the parlor back.