Wednesday, April 5, 2017
WITHOUT ANY RESERVATIONS
Sorry wrong number
I'd forgotten just how much work it is to dine
here in Manhattan. Back in rural Montana
our favorite local eatery is rather popular.
Thus it's best to book a table a day or two
in advance. Whereas here in the big apple
one must plan far ahead. And depending on
where one wants to dine, that could mean
weeks if not months in advance. While we
have multiple restaurants on every block,
bagging the best table at the hottest spot
is akin to snagging a prize beast on safari.
And not only is said catch elusive, it can
be ornery and turn on you at any time.
Gone but not forgotten
Easter Sunday is one of our favorite holiday.
Pre being booted out of the Catholic church
we always attended 11 o'clock mass. Post
excommunication thats not an option. But
we will stroll down Fifth Avenue to view
the Easter Parade then enjoy a pascal repast.
Our problem is when and where. I'll admit
that I'm not on my game versus times past.
Thus I started said culinary quest just this
week. ALL - I repeat ALL of our choices
were already booked. Hence much like any
bottom feeder I had to pick through what
was still available. Timing is everything!
Obviously we missed the sweet spot. I was
able to find a table at several lovely locales.
However I had to embrace enjoying Easter
Brunch before one or after three. Life here
in Manhattan is if nothing else an exercise
of compromise. So I quickly booked us a
twelve fifteen table at a primo spot on the
park. Niece "B" and her beau "C" will join
us. And so in the end while forced to dine
amongst the early birds, at least we're in!
Yet somehow said process of elimination
was anything but festive. The trick is to
enjoy the battle rather than be defeated.
The fact is that special occasions make dining
out all the harder. On a daily basis we've got
plenty of fabulous eateries within walking
distance. One can easily dine out nightly and
not engage in a repeat visit for weeks. But
I'm a creature of comfort. Thus I've already
identified a few favorites which always top
my list. There is nothing like being literally
welcomed with open arms by the chef or
maitre d'. And at least for a curmudgeon
like me, the less surprises... the better. But
once in while even I like a change of scenery.
Which is akin to being a stranger in paradise.
Far, far away
Here in Manhattan one must deal with many
rules and regulations. The most stringent of
which are duly enforced by those tasked with
populating our most popular of eateries. Rarely
can they be bribed, swayed, or distracted. They
strategically fill their tables with a proper mix
that insures success. Like any good host, they
selectively seat. Hence unless they know you,
chances are you will end up sitting in Siberia.
Whereas should you be a celebrity or regular,
you're positioned within the room with careful
discretion or for maximum impact. Hence it's
all about who, when, where, and... WHY!
Breaking through that barrier is never easy.
While I adore the convenience of booking
via OpenTable.com you're at the whim of
whomever whenever. The good news is that
once you've been there a few times, they'll
know it. The bad news is that unless you
specifically ask for a proper table - they'll
seat you in purgatory. Consider the room
during lunch at Michaels. If possible one
should sit with the movers and shakers in
the front room by the windows. However
I'm deaf so I prefer a corner table back by
the garden. And it's mine for the asking.
This city is fueled by insider information. So
it's no surprise that developing a rapport with
the power broker behind the podium insures
one a proper place. The same applies for wait
staff. Once you're in - you're in. Which can a
guarantee to a lovely evening. All the reason
to limit your sphere of influence. At this point
in my life, I'm over chasing the hottest dish in
town. Rather I want to enjoy my evening meal
with people who know and care about me. If
that makes me passe' then so be it. However
if or when push comes to shove, as a regular
I'm certain to be the one who gets seated!