Friends & family makes 8pm reservations
Two-top at Carbone, prime butchers, return-to-office slowdown, UWS poultry crawl, more
RESTAURANTS • The Apps
Should you be paying for restaurant reservations?
Is the easiest restaurant booking in Manhattan right now… Carbone?
So went a semi-serious provocation posed by a friend of FOUND when the deluge of new pay-to-play restaurant reservation services came up. But also: is it?
The two platforms of the moment are Dorsia, a slick app with membership obtainable at no fee through application (which we hear has been bestowed on ~3k people), and Appointment Trader, a wild-west marketplace with a janky Y2K-era web aesthetic. Both suggest the answer is yes. Let’s take them one at a time.
On AT, a primetime table for two for this Wednesday at Carbone goes for ~$250. For this fee, you’ll receive someone else’s Resy booking. You’ll check in as/impersonate them when you show up at your appointed time. (Restaurants mostly seem to be looking the other way on this, which is curious and perhaps ephemeral, but for now, enjoy the light role play.) And, of course, you’ll pay for your meal on top of the cost of the reservation.
On Dorsia, one books as oneself and pre-pays for a guaranteed minimum spend for that night. For most nights at Carbone, that’s $500 per person.
So is the Dorsia $500/pp guarantee a better or worse deal than dropping $250 for someone else’s Carbone reservation on AT? Assuming two apps ($30 each), one pasta ($36), and two mains ($85 each), that’s $266. Spend more than $484 on drinks and dessert and Dorsia is the better deal, even without the fear factor of pretending to be someone you’re not. Go big and spend more than $734 (an extra special bottle, maybe the porterhouse for two) and you’re not paying for that reservation at all.
Of course, the lower the guarantee, the less ground to make up. Other Major Food Group restaurants are available on Dorsia for smaller commitments, like Torrisi at $300 per and poor, sweet Dirty French at $85 per. What’s perhaps more interesting is that you could dine at Rezdôra tonight for $190 per, a $380 guarantee for two that seems likely to be met without even asking for the wine list.
And here, we have the makings of the Dorsia Index. More soon.
→ Gossip from an across-the-pond FOUND correspondent: “Of course you’ve heard about Sessions Arts Club in London (above). It was meant to be an actual club but reinvented itself as just a normal restaurant during the pandemic. But it has a club-like feel because you walk in an unmarked door, check in with a receptionist, and then take an elevator to the top-floor restaurant space. Anyway, as relevant to NYC: rumor has it they're moving into the old Norwood space on 14th Street.” To which another FOUND correspondent replies, “The old Norwood space? Feels like a significant downgrade to the brand of what is absolutely a fantastic restaurant (get the eel) and a great dining experience (top five date spot in London, full stop).”
→ Buried in an elegy of sorts for the longtime Midtown comedy/showbiz institution the Friars Club comes word that chef Charlie Palmer is interested in taking over the townhouse, opening a first-floor restaurant, and leaving the rest of the building to club members. The man does know his way around a roast (rim shot!).
NYC RESTAURANT LINKS: More intel on Golden Swan, set to open tomorrow in Spotted Pig space • Tatiana isn’t just a restaurant, it’s the future of fine dining • Kwame Onwuachi making as triumphant a return as one can make to DC • Drew Nieporent serves his last meal at 239 West B’way and reflects on past and future • Jazba from the Junoon team will open in the old Momofuku Ssam Bar space this summer • Lunch debuts at Les Trois Chevaux • New private dining space: La Residence in Soho.
GOODS & SERVICES • The Nines
Grade A butchers
Paisanos (Cobble Hill), family-owned favorite of Brooklyn restaurants
Dellapietras (Brooklyn Heights, above), serious dry-aged steaks
The Meat Hook (Williamsburg), modern-day guiding light
Hudson & Charles (UWS/West Village), hip butcher with surprising cuts
Dickson’s Farmstand Meats (Chelsea), Chelsea Market nose-to-tail
Japan Premium Beef (Noho/Industry City), Wagyu, Wagyu, Wagyu
Florence Meat Market (Greenwich Village), classic recently saved from closing
Ottomanelli & Sons (UES/Village), ‘old school to the bone’
Lobel’s (Upper East Side), six generations of fine meats
WORK • Office Life
Three springs after the pandemic sent office workers home, the macro question of whether and how they will return continues to collide with the micro of city tax rolls and empty buildings. And resolution doesn’t seem near.
After a surge in occupancy rates earlier this year, the nationwide RTO push has stalled. Per a recent report from Scoop Technologies (which tracks workplace policies): Only 42% of companies are requiring workers to be in the office full-time, down from 49% three months ago. Of workers who are clocking hybrid schedules, the average weekly office time is just 2.5 days.
New York is countering by dusting off tax breaks to encourage the renovation of older, amenity-free buildings. But even if that manages to lure more workers back to the office towers of Midtown and the Financial District, there will still be complicated questions to answer. Like what to do when your employees tell you they’re ice cold on hot-desking.
NYC WORK LINKS: Upstart media co. The Messenger goes in on the office, snags 42k SF in Fidi • More RTO lures: 121 West 125th in Harlem (above) will feature roof terrace, Trader Joe’s • New York-based AI companies raised half-billion in 2022 • Gutter Capital wants to upend the VC model • Avenue One, NYC-based real estate platform, raises $100m at $1B valuation • Are they going to want me anymore at 45? • Gwyneth Paltrow’s approach to investing.
GOODS & SERVICES • FOUND Object
Oil on linen
My biggest and most beloved pandemic splurge was a huge painting by Charlotta Westergren. Everybody should have one, but there aren't a lot to go round. –Felix Salmon
GOODS & SERVICES LINKS: ‘It’s just a miracle’: Century21 re-opens to long lines in Fidi • Minimalist Nick Poe-designed dispensary opens in Soho • Another gallery migrates to Tribeca • No, you shouldn’t buy that vintage Ford Bronco • Barnes and Noble is returning to the Upper East Side in July.
WORK • Tuesday Routine
Clean Turkey, hold the mayo
Kate Lee, Editorial Strategist, Kate Laurie Lee LLC
Work neighborhood: Greenwich Village
It’s Tuesday morning, where are you working?
I work out of Pace Capital, a venture capital firm. Founders Chris Paik and Jordan Cooper graciously extended me space at their office, a zen-like four-story townhouse in Greenwich Village, to which I go a few days a week.
What’s the Tuesday morning scene at your workplace?
It’s quiet and collegial. I set up shop on a desk in an open-plan room on the second floor with a few of the company’s employees.
What’s on the agenda for today?
Locking down writers and editing for business and technology site Every, and overseeing Lens, an online magazine from creator-tools company Stir.
What’s for lunch?
Clean Turkey sandwich, hold the mayo, from Court Street Grocers.
Any plans tonight?
We’re homebound on the Upper West Side with a newborn, so we’ll order in from one of the great chicken restaurants on Amsterdam Avenue, like Chick Chick, Poulet Sans Tete (above), or Chirping Chicken.
A FOUND correspondent files an update re: last week’s item on big-rock Negronis from an unlikely venue:
“At the Frieze Art Fair: Andrew Greene, ‘Negroni.’ I am mindful of the fact that there are multiple ice cubes in it.”
PROMPTS, one new, two for which we continue to seek intel:
‘Tis the season. Where can I enjoy a dignified dinner or cocktail on an outdoor patio or rooftop?
I'm sort of into grand Manhattan dining rooms right now (like Oceana). What are some other examples of the form?
What the are the best day spas for sauna / steam / hot / cold pools, but not necessarily massages? Like Aire baths, but other options.
BONUS: We’re looking for on-the-ground reports from this season’s new restaurants. A couple words, a bulleted list, a handwritten essay — send it this way.
Got an answer (or question)? Hit reply or email firstname.lastname@example.org.