Turn-of-the-Century Recipes From a Restaurant Legend

George Rector served the stars of an earlier era
Rector's Naughty '90s Cook Book
Arthur Bovino

Rector's Naughty '90s Cook Book

George Rector was one of the most famous American restaurateurs of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a third-generation host whose Rector's, on Broadway in Manhattan, welcomed all the celebrities of the era and apparently fed them very well. (For a time, Rector also ran Frontier House in Lewiston, in upstate New York.)

His food was largely French in style or inspiration, tending towards what guidebooks of a slightly later time might have called "American–Continental." He was also a celebrated raconteur and a pretty good writer, author of half a dozen volumes of recipes and reminiscences. Here are three of his recipes, drawn from a book published in 1949, two years after Rector's death, called Rector's Naughty '90s Cookbook, by Alexander Kirkland.


Below, three recipes from Kirkland's book. 

Fillet of Sole 

A simple, French-inspired recipe that's actually quite simple to prepare.




Potato Croquettes

A delicious combination of mashed potatoes, butter, and breadcrumbs that's then fried to perfection. 




Dutch Apple Cake

An easy recipe that's topped with a buttery crumbed mixture.