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Jan 10, 2001 01:24 PM

How do you get a table at Babbo?

  • t

If you call exactly a month in advance at 10am (as they suggest) would you be able to even get through? Any suggestions? It's for my dad's 50th B-day so I don't want to screw this up. Thanks.

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  1. calling a month ahead should work......especially on a week night.

    3 Replies
    1. re: sally

      That's the thing, I need to make a reservation for a Saturday night. Would it be very difficult?

      1. re: sally

        The best thing to do, if you don't make it on the phone, is to take yourself there for a drink, chit chat with the bartender and ask about making a reservation.
        If you feel comfortable with schmoozing, tell whomever you are refered to about "dad's birthday, want it to be a special night etc. etc."
        I know this sounds like a bit much but it works.

        Restaurants make a point of accomodating those who have already spent money---even if it is just enough for a glass of Pinot Grigio or a sidecar.

        1. re: heather

          I agree with Heather - try to go over there and make the reservation in-person. It always works for me and it gives me a chance to check out the space and see where I might NOT want to be seated - at least I can then state my preference such as "please don't seat us near the restroom, front door, etc. I've also found that with very popular restaurants they never "seem" to have any table openings except for 6-6:30 or 10-10:30 no matter how far in advance I call.

          Over ten years ago, I tried daily for over a week to book a table at Lutece and I just kept getting a busy signal. Finally, I hauled myself over there before lunchtime and rang the bell as the door was locked. Who should answer the door with his famous toque but Mr. Andre Soltner himself. He was charming and I explained to him about the constant busy signal, that I had a special occasion and wanted to celebrate there. He invited me inside and asked his wife to list me in the reservation book. Voila! Instant reservation at a civilized hour.

          Of course sometimes you just can't book a reservation as popular places are filled up in advance but they may get cancellations and you can be waitlisted and check back.

      2. Well, there's always the method used by the reporter in the Post last summer. You might recall that he just showed up at a number of the city's hot restaurants without a reservation and gave the maitre d' $50 for a table. In all but one restaurant, he got a table right away.

        But I would agree with the other respondents here: drop by one night for a drink at the bar and make the reservation in person. Get the bartender's name and the maitre d's name, so that should there be a problem the actual night, you can refer to the staff by name.

        I'd like to hear how it comes out.

        1. Guerrilla tactics IF making the reservation in person doesn't work: Get as many friends as you can involved on the phone on Saturday morning and speed dial away. One of you should get through for the reservation time you need. Saturday nights are VERY difficult to book anywhere.It's the biggest night. If after all of this they claim to be booked up in prime time and offer you 6 or 10, take the 6. Tell everyone in your party to meet you there at 7pm. Night of, call at 5:55 and explain you're running a bit behind. Babbo holds tables for 20 minutes. YOU arrive at 6:15, check in and tell the Maitre d' someone is parking the car and will be in shortly. YOU take the table, ask to see the wine list order a cocktail and cool your heels. Yeah you're hanging out for awhile by yourself but even Babbo wont throw you off a table once you're seated and anyone who is seemingly looking at serious (read expensive) wines will get their loving attention.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Travis
            yvonne johnson

            I don't get it. This suggestion leaves later diners waiting for your table, and in many other ways it's unsound.

            1. re: yvonne johnson

              Hey, I used the word "guerrila" for a reason. If one's only choice is a prime time dinner reservation at Babbo on a Saturday night and all else fails this is a WAY to get what you want. It's not supposed to take anyone else into consideration. I don't know what's unsound about it and I can tell you from experience IT WORKS.

              1. re: Travis

                I probably will be sorry for responding to your "Guerrilla" tactic...more assuredly "Gorilla" tactic...But here goes...If you only knew how the staff at Babbo would frown on you if you pulled a stunt like that. Is this the way you like to pissing your hosts off? We make reservations so that we know at what time we will be eating dinner. We, in the business, try to coordinate our service so that we are able to accommodate you and the guests that will be arriving after you...on time. This is where all these complaints about honoring reservations stem from. We read them all the time on this board! So the next time that you are held in the bar waiting for your prized 9:30 reservation...remember your post. And remember that we in the restaurant business read these posts too. It's not like we are not onto these scams. We know every trick in the book. It's just that I'm not used to seeing them written down...on a message board...encouraging people to behave like you. Thanks for listening...

                1. re: Jim

         the world of restaurants...we are talking about Travis. And when any and all of you pull this "Guerrilla" stunt that Travis has proposed...Know that we are onto you...You are "pulling a Travis"...WE are onto all of you...and you will be waiting at the bar...when "Travis" has reared his ugly head! I know your kind!

                  1. re: Jim

                    I wouldn't ever consider these "guerrilla tactics" just because I've waited at restaurants to be seated (with reservations!) for over 30 mins since obviously someone pulled this kind of a stunt. I try to be considerate of other people when I dine out, it makes for a much more pleasurable experience. If I got a 6pm reservation at Babbo, I'd be happy with that. If anything, it'd probably be a bit less hectic there at this hour.

                    1. re: Tatyana

                      Is Babbo the all important?
                      Can't I go somewhere that has not been taken over by the culinary Tourists? (no offense to those groups)
                      What about being gracious when told: No....?
                      Oh, it's a Mario thing. yeah. those pink kness, those Birki clogs.
                      I prefer my chefs as cooks, thank you.

                      1. re: wb

                        Any suggestions for a special occasion celebration?

                        1. re: Tatyana

                          Hello Everyone,
                          We ask that posters consider, when devising subject titles, their many brother chowhounds who are trying to determine what the various discussions are about in order to decide what to read. "No Way!" and "OK, so where would you go?" provide, of course, very limited information.

                          I'd like to suggest that we all follow the golden rule: provide the sort of subject titles we, as readers of these boards, would hope to see as we're surfing up and down the indexes, trying to determine what's of interest.


          2. Isn't it interesting that BABBO always sparks these monstrous threads?