FOUND: a seat at the bar
Double Chicken Please, Al Coro, The Modern, Eleven Madison Park, wagyu beef, upstate art, best coworking spaces, MORE
RESTAURANTS & BARS • FOUND Adjudications
A reservation ‘for the fucking bar’?
Just about the only bad seats in the (undeniably cool) back room of Double Chicken Please on the Lower East Side are a short line of stools under a bar shelf facing the room’s front wall. Walking in one July night, this is where I found myself contemplating the state of bar reservations in New York City.
For the uninitiated, DCP was recently crowned the No. 1 bar in North America by 50 Best. It functions as two separate bar experiences: a front room serving batched cocktails and the back room, where they mix food-themed bespoke cocktails such as French Toast and Key Lime Pie. The front is walk-in only, and the back is half reservations, half walk-ins, with wait times stretching up to five hours. (The extremely excellent chicken sandwiches, which are larger and more delicious than I expected, are available in both rooms.)
On this lazy summer weekday, I’d arrived at 530p and managed to snag the last bar stool in the back room without a wait. But the complicated door policy brought to mind my previous musings about reservation apps, and an email we’d recently received from a FOUND subscriber:
Subject: Bar seats on Resy
I need Found to adjudicate this: https://www.tiktok.com/t/ZT81mmquT/
In this TikTok, a woman, who was denied a walk-in martini at an unnamed restaurant, rails against a world in which one needs a reservation “for the bar, for the fucking bar.” As the world turns, cocktail writer Robert Simonson recently weighed in on the topic of bar reservations, correlating their rise (mostly in cocktail bars) to the pandemic era of NYC drinking, and bemoaning the way hosts often ask for a phone number even when bar seats are available — all in the name of guest management. Clearly that TikTok woman is not the only one deeply frustrated by the current state of play.
But really, what are the alternatives? Well, dive bars, for one. Or, at a fancy cocktail bar, long lines outside and/or crowds inside. Back at DCP, I paid the tab and gave up my wall-facing stool, making room for the next person waiting for a seat, any seat, at North America’s best bar. It was just past 6p, and the front room was now jammed with walk-ins, and I thought, you know what? Maybe bar reservations are good. –Lockhart Steele
FINE DINING REPORT:
→ The summer menu at Eleven Madison Park (Flatiron) begins with a soft tomato cocktail with toasted juniper, Thai basil, and lemon thyme. It’s the ideal pairing for an heirloom tomato salad with Calabrian chili, shiso oil and sansho leaf. Also new: Tonburi (land caviar) from Aikita Prefecture in Japan, accompanied by a horseradish crema and baby lettuces from Magic Farms (above). Spread over a Sobre Masa radish tostada, it’s a perfect summer bite.
→ Chef Thomas Allan continues to do standout work at The Modern (Midtown). See: Butter-poached Maine lobster over a bed of orzo pasta with pimento oil, Sungold tomatoes and an olive oil sabayon finished with a blanket of shaved Australian black winter truffles.
→ Another two-Michelin-stars restaurant, Al Coro (Chelsea), is also doing its best work to date. A recent dinner featured lobster-stuffed cannelloni with mascarpone, béchamel, Thai basil, and Calabrian chilies. –Lee Pitofksy
Lee Pitofsky, aka FineDiningNYC, recently enjoyed his 50th meal at both Per Se and Eleven Madison Park. This is his first Fine Dining Report for FOUND.
OPENINGS AND CLOSINGS: FOUND-subscriber-favorite Claud (East Village) reopened for service Sunday night after its bizarre one-week liquor-license-induced closure. Meantime, Italian import Roscioli (Soho) is telling patrons that it plans to open its no-reservations upstairs alimentari before the end of August.
NYC RESTAURANT LINKS: Brooklyn Fare chef expanding to Hudson Square • Weird dining: East Village’s Foxface Natural is NYC’s most daring new restaurant; Gowanus’ Café Mars is weird and witty • The best American restaurants this year are wine bars • The cheap, gluggable liter of Grüner got weird.
RESTAURANTS & BARS • The Nines
Nikutei Futago (Soho), direct transport to Kyoto
J-Spec (East Village), affordable wagyu in former Jewel Bako space
Esora Omakase (East Village, above), kaiseki-inspired, wagyu-focused omakase
Bowery Meat Company (East Village), modern steakhouse just off the Bowery
Yakiniku Futago (Chelsea), sleek casual sibling to Nikutei Futago
COTE (Flatiron), upscale Korean BBQ with serious wine list
Shinji’s (Flatiron), wagyu katsu sando
HYUN (Koreatown), under-the-radar beef omakase gem
Yakiniku Toraji (Midtown), where the Japanese go for BBQ
Japanese wagyu only. Hit reply or email firstname.lastname@example.org with additions and subtractions.
CULTURE & LEISURE • FOUND Object
Art worth taking the stairs for
The final reward of the current exhibit at the Wassaic Project upstate is Danielle Klebes’s “7th Floor Walk-up,” a collection of 100+ paintings recreating a “colorful man-cave type apartment” — from the solo cups on the mantle to bookshelf in the corner. The inspired works, each perhaps an antidote to your own apartment’s cliched stylings, are all for sale. –Josh Albertson
→ Danielle Klebes, “7th Floor Walk-up,” Wassaic Project, $100-$5000 per
GOODS & SERVICES LINKS: Much-anticipated Wegman’s Astor Place sets opening date for fall; first look inside • Skincare brand Aesop plans new flagship in Meatpacking District • Tribeca’s Chambers Street Wines in moving down the street • Emporio Armani opens new flagship in Soho • Brooklyn’s Avenue U is New York’s most bonkers boulevard • Eight winning wine bags • Gucci reveals rewards for Vault Materials NFT holders.
WORK • Heat Check
When it’s too hot to RTO
Of the many indignities inflicted by modern office life, “summer” must rank near the top. There is no recovery from a sweat-soaked commute to Midtown at the height of a heat wave — and certainly not in the form of the over-cooled office that waits at the other end.
Last week, non-profit Climate Central put some numbers to this pain when it released its urban heat island (UHI) index, a measure of how much hotter 44 U.S. cities get due to the characteristics of their built environments. New York City topped the list, with ambient air temperatures an average 8.6 degrees hotter than normalized conditions. Zoom in to the city’s work centers, and it’s even worse: Midtown registers an index of 13 degrees above (the hottest of the hot), with Wall Street not far behind.
Climate Central’s proffered solutions to these crisis conditions include more trees, rooftop gardens, and cooling building materials — all reasonable, useful considerations for long-term mitigation. Meantime, perhaps a working summer on the Italian coast is in order.
NYC WORK LINKS: NYT says city can no longer count on tech firms for growth; VC Fred Wilson says that's laughable • Troubles worsen at 111 Wall Street as foreclosure looms • City's first recreational marijuana shop sold $12 million in six months • Local malls, stuck in ‘death spiral,’ plunge in value.
WORK • Tuesday Routine
Taking stock of the real estate market
JONATHAN MILLER, president & CEO, Miller Samuel
Neighborhood you work in: Midtown West
It’s Tuesday morning, where are you working?
I'm camping out at my office in our Ridgefield, Connecticut home (built in 1755). It's 30 minutes further from the city than our previous home, a consistent one-hour commute. Since the pandemic, I have usually ventured into the city on Wednesdays and Thursdays by commuter rail. Going in only two days a week makes the 90-minute commute tolerable.
What’s the Tuesday morning scene at your workplace?
Getting ready to Zoom (above)! Seemingly half my day. I have identical equipment in my home office as in Midtown: a big monitor, boom mic, lighting, keyboard, and mouse. So I travel back and forth with my laptop and plug in.
What’s on the agenda for today?
Today, I’m reviewing and editing the final proofs for the Thursday publication of seven second-quarter market reports for Douglas Elliman (including the Hamptons and Los Angeles). I usually start working on my weekly Friday newsletter, Housing Notes, which is chock full of housing market data and insights. And I’m finishing the 3-hour lecture I deliver on Thursdays for the 120 Columbia grad students taking my market analysis course. (It’s full of dad jokes and market information.)
What’s for lunch?
When I work at home, I always have lunch in town with my wife. Today will be Bobo’s Cafe, one of our favorite lunch spots. It’s always packed.
Any plans tonight?
One of the benefits of being a new empty-nester is trying new places for dinner in the area all the time. We’ll probably head to Posa for Italian food or 850 for some really good pizza. On Friday we were thinking of connecting with friends at Luc’s Cafe, one of the best restaurants around.
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PROMPTS, one new, two for which we are seeking further intel:
What are the best day-trip beaches in the NYC area?
Help!! Aunt Bunny is coming to town from SF. I need suggestions for fabulous restaurants in Manhattan. She likes California-fine-dining-style-contemporary-American grub. Think: Buckeye Roadhouse in Marin County, CA, or Spruce, Napa and Sessions at the Presidio in SF.
Where are the best private dining rooms for business dinners?
RESPONSES, from our correspondents and subscribers:
Q: What are the best/coolest coworking spaces? There are so many to choose from.
A: A bunch of good suggestions to date on this one (what else you got?):