If New York spent the last decade gorging, Danny Meyer catered the feast. The St. Louis-bred paragon of smooth brought celebrity-chef culture and seasonal menus to the masses in the Clinton years and then made custard shakes and burgers a reward for going to the park . Meyer's made himself an above-board, meticulous successor to Sherman Billingsley for a New York that's as gilded but less gangsterish than the one that preceded the Depression. Confronting another Depression in an interview for New York magazine's Grub Street, Meyer says his calling rings truer than ever: it guides people to share the unexpected graces of company. If he has to sweat a few pennies to keep on that course, he seems willing.