Dinner and a Show

1.Café Gray
If you’re the fearful type who thinks that what goes on behind the swinging doors is best left unseen, you haven’t witnessed this stunning, fastidiously run—and incredibly clean—open kitchen.
10 Columbus Circle, at 59th St.; 212-823-6338

Not so long ago, you might have protested had a host tried to seat you near the kitchen. Here, foodies clamor for the coveted seats at “the Pass”—the dining bar facing the chefs.
403 12th St., at First Ave.; 646-602-1300

3. Momofuku
The team at this spare, utilitarian noodle bar creates its own dynamic atmosphere, navigating the tiny open kitchen with a balletic grace befitting a Cirque du Soleil performance.
163 First Ave., near 10th St.; 212-475-7899

4. Spice Market
You’re so close to the action at the ingeniously designed dining bar with its cutout nooks, they should give you an apron.
403 13th St., at Ninth Ave.; 212-675-2322

5. Chikalicious
Every stool at this clever dessert bar has a voyeuristic view of two female chefs nimbly turning out carefully constructed presentations with a sushi chef’s concentration.
203 10th St., near Second Ave.; 212-995-9511

Dinner and a Show