The Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare was a hard seat to get well before it was awarded three Michelin stars. I was basically laughed at the one time I called last year and said I wanted a reservation but would only take one on a Saturday, so when my boyfriend said he was ready for me to try–to really, really try–again, I did my homework. And I was successful!
Here’s how you can be, too:
1) Set a calendar reminder for 10:15 a.m. Monday. The reservation line opens at 10:30, and you’ll need those 15 minutes to stretch your dialing finger. Make sure you also go to the bathroom; it could be awhile before you have another chance.
2) At 10:29, dial (718) 243-0050. If you’re like me, you’ll worry that if you call too much before 10:30, they may blacklist you. But if you wait until anytime after, you’ll be out of luck. Remember that they book six weeks out and have a date in mind, but don’t be married to that date.
3) Get a busy signal. Hit the “end” button.
5) Get a busy signal. Hit the “end” button.
7) Get a busy signal. Hit the “end” button.
9) Do this for approximately twenty minutes, switching fingers now and then to avoid carpal tunnel. Wonder how many people are answering the phones there. (What if it’s only one person, who needs a couple of minutes with each caller? Then calling every five seconds is ridiculous. But what if in the ten seconds you’re resting, a new caller was taken and you missed out?)
10) When someone finally picks up, ask for a reservation and get told to wait. (It literally sounded like someone picked up on the grocery store side of the restaurant and put the phone down on a nearby shelf.)
11) When the actual reservationist answers, she’ll tell you that the restaurant’s closed on Saturday for a private event or that Sunday is open to unmarried only-children with two children of their own or something like that.
12) Take that Friday night at 10 p.m. reservation, and be thankful for it.
photo by Evan Sung for The New York Times
As I was dialing and redialing for 21 minutes, all I could think was, “Why should I have to go through this? He’s lucky we’re coming to his restaurant to spend our money! César Ramirez should be calling me!”
But then I remembered that the restaurant fills up every week and he doesn’t care whether I review it or not. In fact, he’s not going to let me take pictures there, and he’s going to yell at me if he even suspects that I’m taking notes.
It doesn’t seem worth it, right? But as my commenter Timmy Lee said on a recent post, “My wife and I had dinner at Chef’s Table on Valentine’s Day. OMG! Do we dare say that the food was better than Per Se?”
We shall see, Timmy. We shall see. Six weeks from now.