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May 30, 2007 07:15 AM

hardest reservations to get?

which restaurants are the hardest to get into in NY? (assuming you want a prime time table)

the places that come to mind are per se, peter luger, waverly inn, little owl, rao's, etc. i find that restaurants on opentable are relatively easier to get in general, as long as you know when they open up the slots.

on a side note, i just called babbo and got an 830 pm reservation for june 30. im pretty excited, even if i dont really have anyone to go with yet.

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  1. I went to Babbo about a year ago with my wife and a couple of friends. I love great food, but am not a great restaurant aficionado, so I was a bit anxious about going in. We asked the waiter to make suggestions on the menu and gave him our wine budget. He was very helpful, and set us up with delicious food and wine. It was a terrific experience. We had considered the tasting menu, but the waiter suggested otherwise. He said that the number of wines served can be overwhelming.

    Here are a few of our favorites.

    Linguine with Clams, Pancetta and Hot Chiles
    Mint Love Letters with Spicy Lamb Sausage (sounds corny, but wow!)
    Sweet Potato “Lune” with Sage and Amaretti
    Grilled Lamb Chops “Scottadita” with Eggplant “in Scapece” and Lemon Yogurt

    We also had braised beef cheeks. (That item was not on the menu)

    Have a great time. I'm sure you will have a memorable meal.

    1. How about "any Danny Meyer restaurant during Restaurant Week"? :)

      1. Waverly Inn must be the winner. I went there once with Christopher Hitchens - I didn't even know the place is impossible to get into, I only read about it later.

        2 Replies
        1. re: nokitsch

          How was the food at Waverly Inn? I

          1. re: BW212

            We didn't have a full dinner, rather some aps. and drinks - whatever I had was excellent.

        2. Rao's doesn't count. It really isn't open to the public.

          2 Replies
          1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

            Sure Rao's counts...It is absolutely possible for a commoner to get a table there, just requires a little understanding of the game and some stones...

          2. My answer was going to be "Babbo", just from reading your subject line. You're lucky to get reservations that early in the evening, even by calling the required 30 days in advance. What a fun dining experience that was, not to mention delicious. Have a great time!

            11 Replies
            1. re: dallen

              Try calling Rao's, Waverly Inn, or Per Se (or probably Masa) 30 days in advance. If you get through, you'll have to hold the phone away from your ear so as not to be deafened by the reservationist laughing at you.

              And Rao's is not a private club. Last I heard, you can still go in for a drink at the bar and casually inquire as to the next available table (which may be in 6 months). Still, it's worth a shot (so to speak).

              Krystle, I'm sure lots of chowhounds would volunteer to accompany you to Babbo!

              1. re: Andrew P.

                The problem with Babbo, is that you can't call 31 days in advance. They won't even talk to you if you're calling 31 or more days out. Means having to set an "alarm" to call at breakfast time on that 30th day.

                1. re: dallen

                  Yup, that's how it works.

                  Another tactic:
                  A good friend of mine ate at Babbo, and was sufficiently impressed that, on the way out, he asked the hostess if there were any cancellations coming up. She looked, and lo and behold, a table for four at 9pm in two weeks' time.

                  1. re: Andrew P.

                    Another tactic - if you or any in your dining party has Amex Platinum, then call their concierge service to reserve the table for you.

                2. re: Andrew P.

                  If you can get to speak with a "reservationist" at Waverly Inn, you'd be a miracle worker because, from what I've heard, they don't answer the phone.

                  1. re: RGR

                    I work for a food magazine, and my vote for reservation impossibility goes to the Waverly Inn. I heard that it's actually open to the public now (though this may just be a rumor). That said, I'd much rather put my energy into securing a restaurant known for its food -- and not its better-than-thou scene and be seen... The Little Owl's tough to break but so worth it. The same goes for Babbo, Per Se...

                    1. re: RGR

                      waverly works with either have it..or u dont

                    2. re: Andrew P.

                      Waverly Inn doesn't have a phone - that is part of the whole mystique. If you don't know someone, you go to the restaurant itself and the maitre'd will make you a reservation (up to 3 days in advance).

                      1. re: carrotcake4me

                        true. i dk that it is all that hard if you walk in. we went for drinks and could have eaten there on the spot, but looked over the menu and took a pass. eh. i hear you can do similar with RAOS, but i dk or care.

                      2. re: Andrew P.

                        Rao's all the tables" belong " to people. they all have their night whether it's wednesday , thursday , etc. If someone with a table isnt showing up you can be sure a friend of theirs will show up. The food is ok at Rao's, the roasted peppers are great ,,but you can get that at their sister restaurant run by Frankie Pelligrino from Rao's on 49th st. many things are the same as Rao's even the upstairs tries to look similar. Masa you can go to the bar.