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Jul 31, 2008 06:50 PM

Everything is booked

No surprise here, just frustrating. My husband and I are visiting New York for all of 2 nights at a last minute opportunity next Saturday Aug 9th. Though I didn't entertain a lot of hope in getting in anywhere renowned once I started looking on this board I decided I did want to eat at the places I can't get into!!
We've been to NYC before and previously dined at Le Cirque, Gotham, Aquavit, Artisanal, Lupa and Nobu. This time I wanted Babbo (yes I know a weeks notice!) and finally got through to the reservationist who suggested we try the day before for cancellations. Question 1 - Should I even bother to hope there will be a cancellation? We have managed to make a reservation at Gramercy Tavern for 10.30pm (which isn't as bad as it sounds as we are coming from Hong Kong and it will 10.30am our time). Question 2 - will there be anyone left in the dining room by this stage or will everyone be heading out? Question 3 - should we try a walk in for the Tavern as opposed to the dining room and will 8.30/9pm be too late to snag table?
I also tried to call Lupa but their earliest is 10.30pm... and Union Square Cafe who can offer 9.45pm.
Question 4 - Can anyone suggest another restaurant with good food, atmosphere, (similar calibre to the ones above) location doesn't matter, that we can get into for Saturday night! Also was thinking of trying Bar Boulud but I haven't read many positive things about it....can anyone share? Many thanks.

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  1. Maybe you should take it as a sign and give all the superstar restaurants a break. Try some of the smaller places for a change.
    Why not give Pepolino a call or Extra Virgin and enjoy the neighborhood after dinner.
    Thalassa in Tribeca is one of the best meals I've had in a while.

    1 Reply
    1. re: il Trifulau

      Agreed. Also, try Aquagrill, they might have something. Or go to Blue Ribbon early, leave your cell #, and go hang out in a bar nearby till the call you. It may not be up there in terms of food, but it's still a great NYC place to try.

    2. You could always try a walk-in at Babbo or Lupa if your heart is set on a Batali place. The Enoteca Room at Del Posto is also a good value.
      While I haven't been to GT at 10:30, NYC is a late night dining crowd, so I wouldn't worry about the restaurant being deserted. If you go to the Tavern Room at 8:30 or 9, you should be fine. I've shown up around that time on a Saturday and been seated w/in a half hour each time.
      I wouldn't recommend USC. While it's solid, I don't think it's special enough.
      I've been impressed w/the Jean Georges restaurants lately. I'd suggest also looking at Jean Georges and Perry Street. I had a good Restaurant Week meal at Nougatine yesterday too, if you're looking for something more casual.

      1. For Babbo, yes, cancellations do happen. It's risky though. You can also try to dine as a walk-in and there are a few threads here dedicated to doing that (be prepared to wait or walk in very early).

        For Gramercy Tavern, if you are looking for a more ambitious, special meal, than by all means, hold out for the formal Dining Room. Did you let the reservationist know that you were interested in an earlier time? It might be worth asking, too, when you confirm your reservation. And yes, there will be people finishing up their meals at GT when you sit down. I once had a 9:30pm reservation and didn't leave until nearly 1am.

        For Lupa next weekend, have you considered lunch? I'm on OpenTable right now and I see a lot of slots for Lupa for weekend lunch. That might be an option...Lupa also takes walk-ins. You might also want to try Otto.

        For similar caliber restaurants, I'm looking at OpenTable right now and I see availability at 15 East, A Voce, Blue Hill, Craft, Cru, Eleven Madison Park, Esca, Gari, Insieme, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, The Modern....

        1. i'm a very big fan of Il's old-school NY Italian in Tribeca...not as trendy as the Batali joints but an elegant place w/ great food every time, and i've gotten last minute reservations there in the past...

          i'd also rec trying 15 East if you want stellar sushi...

          Balthazar might also work as they are open late (so good for jet-lag time-change food cravings)...great for oysters, salads, steak frites, etc...

          Another option is Casa Mono if you are willing to get a drink nearby and wait for them to call your cell...there was a recent thread about doing this and most people agreed it worked out pretty well...

          1. I would forget about Babbo and just make a reservation (easy to do) at Convivio, the restaurant formerly known as L'Impero. The menu has been expanded, the price of the 4-course prix-fixe lowered from $64 to $59, and the food is as superb as ever. I actually prefer it to Babbo. Bar Boulud is quite good, if you are looking for typical bistro dishes. I agree with Lucia on the Jean-Georges restaurants. The lunch menus at J-G and Perry St. are particularly good value.