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Resisting the Hot Reservation Economy

If you’d prefer to stay off the reservation sites, you can try calling: Restaurants of a certain era, like Yakitori Totto near Carnegie Hall, sometimes take last-minute reservations over the phone. Or you should join every restaurant obsessive I know in dining out at 6 p.m. Sure, it’ll be on the quiet side when you first sit down, but not for long.

“I like to dine early because you get more attention from the servers,” said Christine Yi, the content creator and influencer behind @cy_eats. “There’s more attention paid to preparing the food and you can spill into that time when the restaurant gets lively.”

Or look to restaurants that skip reservation sites completely! For instance, Dept. of Culture, the Nigerian tasting menu restaurant in Bed-Stuy, as well as Runner Up in Park Slope, which holds it down on Mondays, are both incredibly responsive over email, even if you don’t work for a 170-year-old newspaper.

If you just can’t resist that piping hot reservation — think Via Carota in the West Village — you should always pick the nearby bar you’re going to hang out at in case you have to wait — Bar Pisellino, Employees Only or Blind Tiger — or designate your nearby Plan B restaurant — B’artusi or EN Japanese Brasserie. And your chances increase a thousandfold if it’s a holiday weekend, like, say, Memorial Day or the Fourth of July. How else could I get into Dame in Greenwich Village last year?

Ultimately, your best bet is to walk around your own backyard. Those menus are posted in the window for a reason: Your local small business owner wants you to come in, take a load off, enjoy a meal. BECOME A REGULAR. Think of that as a standing reservation.


In response to one of last week’s questions about great salads, some readers sent along recommendations of their own! Diana B. said that since moving to Florida, her “most missed dish” is the Gotham Salad at Bergdorf Goodman’s BG Restaurant. (Good news: Town & Country obtained the recipe in 2013.) And Andrew G. said, “In my honest opinion, no list of top N.Y.C. salads is complete without Il Buco’s cavolonero,” with Tuscan black kale and garlic-anchovy-lemon vinaigrette. Keep those responses coming to wheretoeat@nytimes.com, and see you next week!

  • “Nonna” may have been reduced to a code word for good home cooking, but not at Nonna Dora’s Pasta Bar in Kips Bay. The branding — and the 20 pasta varieties made every day by 86-year-old Addolorata Marzovilla — is authentic, writes Pete Wells in his latest review.

  • Openings: Everytable, a Southern California chain that sells affordable prepared foods according to a neighborhood’s median income, will open in Chelsea and the East Village on Monday; the music-themed Vinyl Steakhouse is now open in the Flatiron district; and Gugu Room is crossing Filipino cuisine with izakaya-style dining on the Lower East Side.

  • At Les Trois Chevaux in the West Village and at other high-end restaurants across the United States, dress codes are back, reports Priya Krishna.

  • Grace Young, a longtime champion for the preservation of Chinatowns and Chinese cooking, will be honored with the Julia Child Award.

  • The piano bar is back, and The Times’s nightlife reporter Julia Carmel interviewed the pianists who are benefiting from its return.

  • The restaurant group behind Carbone will open a New York branch of their Miami members-only ZZ’s Club in Hudson Yards.

Email us at wheretoeat@nytimes.com. Newsletters will be archived here. Follow NYT Food on Twitter and NYT Cooking on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest.

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