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Bar seating LES with a view of the kitchen?

When I travel I am alone and like to sit at a bar or counter where I can watch the kitchen at work--Bar Tartine in San Francisco being my favorite experience. I'm going to be in Greenwich Village/LES this coming Monday night May 19. What do you recommend?

Blue Hill, Momofuku Ko and a couple of Batali restaurants are within walking distance of my hotel (near Union Square). Does any of these have a kitchen counter? Also, what are my chances as a walk-in single or trying to get a reservation on short notice? Thanks!

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  1. The Chef's Table at Hecho en Dumbo is served at a bar overlooking the kitchen. I've only had it once, but enjoyed it very, very much.

    http://www.hechoendumbo.com/chefs-table/

    BTW, if you are looking for walking distance, you probably want to focus on the Village (East and West), Union Square and Flatiron. The Lower East Side certainly is doable, but a longer walk.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Blumie

      I ate an Hecho en Dumbo last night and while I didn't eat at the counter overlooking the kitchen no one else did either so you would either find that thrilling or lonely. I thought the food was weak and pricey for what it is. Noise level and music playlist made it unpleasant to be there. Tacos of short ribs were good. Burritos were dry and unevenly spiced (unpleasantly so). Out of the wine I ordered. I basically just fled as soon as I could.

    2. Pig and Khao has a bar looking into their open kitchen. Casa Mono also, very near un sq.

      2 Replies
        1. re: princeofpork3

          +2 Pig and Khao
          also Bugs has an open kitchen, and Kyo Ya is pretty much open, and Hirohisa

      1. Hearth has a little chef's pass seating area.

        1. The entirety of Momofuku Ko is a kitchen counter. But getting a reservation isn't the easiest thing in the world. They have an opening for single diner this Sunday, but Monday looks booked up unless there's a cancellation.

          WD-50 doesn't have a view of the kitchen, but the bartenders do some pretty amazing work and some of them are pretty good conversation (Jafrul especially) - plus, if dining at the bar (no rez, walk-in only) you can order a la carte if you like, whereas reserved seats you're locked into a tasting menu.

          Babbo has dining at the bar - again, no kitchen view - but it's best to get there on the earlier side. A Monday night shouldn't be bonkers busy, and if you're dining solo the wait might not be as long as it would look from the crowd.

          Momofuku Ssam has long communal bar-type seating. You can sort of see the kitchen depending where you're sitting but you're not, like, on top of it where you could actually talk to the cooks.

          Hearth has three seats at a little bar at the pass where you can see the kitchen.They also have regular bar seats as well if those are all taken.

          1. Ko does NOT take walk ins, BTW.

            Joseph Leonard has a seat or two at a chef's counter looking into the kitchen.

            See also:
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/963699

              1. re: pernodoj

                And was a great meal when I was there recently

              2. Thanks for these great suggestions and thanks also for the link to the earlier thread. At this point my first choice is Ko if something opens up that day, but the other ideas are tempting. I'll report back.

                1. Miller's Near and Far has a long bar in front of their kitchen. Joseph Leonard chef's counter is one of my favorites, though.

                  1. Try Hearth.

                    Not "lower" but east side ...

                    1. Not at all sure of location...but degustation is only bar overlooking kitchen.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: smilingal

                        239 E 5th St, just west of 2nd Av. - so Lower East Side back in the day, but now usually differentiated as the East Village.

                      2. Not on the LES but near your hotel: Casa Mono, part of the Batali empire. I like their pan-Spanish-style food.

                        1. So, in the end I ate at Il Pesce in Eataly... sat at the bar next to the waiters station which served my purposes. It was a great night with raw uni in the shell (too much lemon unfortunately) and grilled Montauk squid.

                          Thanks for the suggestions... for next time.