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.
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.”
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.