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Aug 27, 2013 10:38 PM

Friday reservation?

Trying to make a reservation for Friday after next (9/6) at a reasonable hour without luck. Any ideas for great places that leave a little room for walk-ins? Anybody know if Island Creek Oyster Bar has counter/tables for walk-ins? Thanks!

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  1. yes, they can seat you in the bar/lounge AFAIK. Also remember, if OpenTable (or another system)shows no availability for a certain time, call the restnt because they keep tables of their own to reserve.(that's true for most/all restnts.) Also good to keep calling the restnt , any restnt, to check on recent openings.

    1. What, where, when exactly are you trying to book? Just a quick perusal of OpenTable shows plenty of availability at many well regarded places. OC provides excellent advice as well.

      1 Reply
      1. I'm pretty sure ICOB holds 1/3 of their tables for walk ins. That said, I'd always recommend a reservation based on its popularity. I know they block prime time tables from Open Table, so your best bet is to call.

        Just had a fantastic brunch there this weekend with extended family. There aren't a lot of places I can count on to please everyone and deliver a great experience but Island Creek always seems to step up to the plate and exceed expectations.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Klunco

          Almost any hotel-based restaurant will hold a portion of its tables for hotel guests, and I suspect Island Creek is no different. Of course that also means that a guest of the hotel likely will be given priority for an available table, but at least there's a decent chance some tables will be available.

          1. re: Blumie

            and NO restaurants puts 100% of its tables on opentable. many also will not offer any slots for parties of 6+, requiring a phone call.

          2. re: Klunco

            kl, oh good! i've been wondering about their brunch for a long time, but never have seen coverage of it. Plse tell what you had. [I could see myself squirreled away at a corner table with (eggs and) one of their huge amAzing honey glazed biscuits -- ALL to myself. Man that is one tough choice at dinner: Biscuit....oysters....biscuit...oysters ....... (Too rich to do both in the quantity i want!)] TIA.

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              OP, I'd recommend. I am an avowed brunch hater, but in the past month have somehow been to ICOB twice and Craigie once. Maybe I'm getting soft.

              I don't think you could go wrong with oysters and biscuits and maybe a crisp white. What I liked about ICOB is there are items to satisfy everyone and the service does a great job with the fussy/picky eaters we had in our crowd.

              Most recently they started us off with an assortment of pastries (muffins, cornbread, scones, etc.) all of which were very good. I'm rather picky about baked goods and was impressed with the quality for a restaurant. They may not beat Clear Flour, but they were interesting, well made selections better than 75% of bakeries out there (not that that's say that much.) Fresh oysters on a Sunday morning are unbeatable in my book. In addition, the egg white frittata with tomato and chèvre was light, tender, and refreshing. Lobster rolls were well recieved by out of towners who wanted to have one (yes we've had a number of posts going back and forth about this, but I think it's a solid roll).

              Lobster omelette with pecorino was classic French style with no-browning. I'm skeptical of cheese and lobster but heard no complaints. French toast was similarly fine; exactly what the person ordering it wanted. We've had the fruit/yogurt before which was very well presented. I was tempted by the beans, egg, and bacon but will have to wait for next time.

              The coffee was dreadful as always. First time we went we tried the chemex brewed tableside. I should've known that was a bad idea for a coffee nerd like me: it was not brewed properly. I did mention it to them, and part of the problem imo is that a properly brewed tableside coffee prep (a la Eleven Madison's Vacuum brew) requires real training and a time commitment when executed. To properly do chemex tableside should require 3-4 minutes of active pouring and should entail a scale for accuracy. The problem is, that's a longtime for a server to be held up for a single cup of coffee, plus it's probably awkward for many patrons. That said, the next time we went we got the standard coffee which I thought was poor even for hotel coffee.

              The space is bright and not too crowded for brunch which is a plus. Prices fair. We enjoyed Craigie but it was considerably more expensive. Both places had great service even for a Sunday morning.

              1. re: Klunco

                Solid Bloody Mary at ICOB as well.

                1. re: Klunco

                  wow, k, what a well done write up. Might you consider reposting it as a Brunch at ICOB thread? because that would be seen by alot more peope l think. (That bad coffee thing is so weird...go figure. )Thx so much.

            2. ICOB definitely keeps the high tops in the bar area open for walk-ins as well as (all of?) the seats at the sizeable bar area where many choose to eat dinner. I have never had a problem there walking in with 2-4 for dinner if willing to wait up to an hour. The Sox are not in town that night so the crowds should not be horrible given the large capacity there - and it's a GREAT place to eat with top service throughout

              The host stand is very transparent about availability of tables / timing and will cheerfully take your cell phone and number then call you if you are OK waiting - their bar is good, but The Hawthorne next door is special and Eastern Standard is lively and great as well.