This is an encyclopedic book, history as told through old newspapers and telephone books and scraps of detail found in letters and memoirs ... This dense cultural and culinary history is reason enough to come to The Dairy Restaurant. But Katchor...has a sharp mind and a sly sense of humor. His words and his charcoal-palette drawings have a combinatory intelligence ... Many of the best moments in this book are stray gleanings ...This is a forlorn book, somehow. You wish it came with a good mixed bread basket, for mopping up the lonely broth.
...monumental ... The Dairy Restaurant...has the quality of an illuminated Haggadah (itself a sort of menu). Because Katchor is a wonderful cartoonist, his book can be looked at as well as read. In that sense it is a chronicle of Katchor’s distinctively blocky yet delicate characters, drawn from the Hebrew Bible as well as history, wending their stolidly weathered, gray-washed way from the Euphrates valley through the Negev desert...to Middle Europe and finally New York City’s Lower East Side ... The Dairy Restaurant is a trove of fun facts ... haunted by a sense of the vanished and ephemeral ... The visualization of these ghostly eating places—their storefronts and signageeven more than their interiors—may be The Dairy Restaurant’s meat, as it were. Katchor, however, is far more than a simple lox-and-bagel Jew.