Diner’s Dictionary: “Tasting Table”

South GatePhoto: Noah Sheldon

In today’s hypercompetitive restaurant market, even the furniture has to make an impression. But now that communal tables and chef’s tables are old hat, the new hot seat is a “tasting table,” the latest phrase to hit a press release. Sadly, for some, they’re not the buffet-style feeding troughs the name might suggest. Here’s how a few local spots define the term.

South Gate
154 Central Park S., nr. Seventh Ave.; 212-484-5120
At Kerry Heffernan’s glitzy new post at the Jumeirah Essex House, opening February 8, the twenty-seat tasting table (pictured) occupies the private room, where large parties can partake of seasonal Americana like pork with kohlrabi bacon purée, hot-smoked Arctic char with grapefruit, and cod with conch and clam chowder “Connecticut.”

Bar Boulud
1900 Broadway, nr. 64th St.; 212-595-0303
Walk-ins will typically find a seat at the nifty round table in the back of Daniel Boulud’s casual new bistro, where glasses hang on a circular rack and bottles are stored in a central wine bucket.

98 Rivington St., at Ludlow St.; 212-614-0473
A recent renovation added a second temperature-controlled wine-storage room, equipped with a counter-height, marble-topped standing table just big enough for three or four guests to “taste” their bottle with the wine director, pre-dinner. The room’s too small and, at 58 degrees, too cold for dining.

Diner’s Dictionary: “Tasting Table”