Reservations at Brooklyn Fare and How to Get Them
March 8th, 2012 by donuts4dinner

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.

4) Redial.

5) Get a busy signal. Hit the “end” button.

6) Redial.

7) Get a busy signal. Hit the “end” button.

8) Redial.

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.

Brooklyn Fare
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.

8 Responses  
  • Mrs. Bachelor Girl writes:
    March 8th, 20129:42 pmat

    Whoah, they won’t let you take notes or photos? BASTARDS!

    What, exactly, am I supposed to drool over on my lunch break?!

    • donuts4dinner writes:
      March 9th, 20129:42 amat

      Honestly, and it’s not like I have a great memory to begin with, but once you add in the wine pairings . . . this is going to be a blogwreck.

  • Andrew writes:
    March 9th, 201210:14 amat

    “Why should I have to go through this? He’s lucky we’re coming to his restaurant to spend our money!”

    That perfectly captures my sentiment after spending 95 minutes to get a reservation at Alinea. Let’s hope the meals don’t disappoint.

    • donuts4dinner writes:
      March 9th, 20124:30 pmat

      95 MINUTES?!

      But yeah. It’s Alinea. It’s worth it.

      Can’t WAIT to read that one!

  • Timmy Lee writes:
    July 27th, 20125:53 pmat

    Hi. I was wondering if you ever did your review for Brooklyn Fare? I couldn’t find it. I only saw your references in your Torrisi review. We do agree that the seats were not the most comfortable and the experience was intimidating, but we thought the food was excellent. As I mentioned in a previous comment, it might have been better than Per Se. Also Chef Ramirez actually posed to take a picture with us. We couldn’t believe it either!

    • donuts4dinner writes:
      August 1st, 201212:22 pmat

      I didn’t, mostly because all of it was recorded with my boyfriend’s iPhone, and we haven’t taken the time to Google how to transfer the file to me so I can sit and painstakingly transcribe it for hours.

      Our general feeling was that the food was OUTSTANDING. We were gushing about it more than we’ve gushed about anything, and we probably used the phrase “most delicious ______ I’ve ever had” five times.

      However, I’d basically only recommend it to people who have already done at least Per Se, Momofuku Ko, Atera, and EMP because of all the non-food factors. Where was the music? Why was the decor so cold and uninteresting? Why was the service so impersonal? I understand that Ramirez wants to keep his dishes shrouded in secrecy, but I got really tired of my very innocent questions about ingredients being evaded. (The photo thing really is amazing!) We didn’t particularly care for the wine the sommelier recommended, either; I was told on the phone that they had wine pairings, but she gave us a glass of the wine we requested and then poured us an entire bottle of something else.

      I’m glad we went once, but I have no desire to go back. Were you able to get past everything else and just base your feelings on the food?

  • Scott writes:
    May 13th, 20132:28 pmat

    Hello again! This morning this post was very useful in helping me secure a reservation to Brooklyn Fare for my trip to New York! However know I have another question I hope you can help me with…

    Our reservation for Brooklyn Fare is Friday night at 7:15, I want to schedule two other large tasting menu style Dinners(Per se and EMP) for our trip one Thursday night and one Sunday night… Because we have Brooklyn Fare the next day I want the Thursday one to be the less filling of EMP or Per Se. As someone who has eaten at both places I was wondering if you could give me some insight on if one is significantly more than the other. Also you could maybe tell me if eating at three of these places in 4 days is a complete fools errand haha. Thanks again for your advice and I continue to really enjoy the blog. Keep it up!

    • donuts4dinner writes:
      May 14th, 20139:55 amat

      Excellent! I’ve been having a hankering to go again, so I’m jealous.

      I really think you can do the three restaurants in four days simply because you’ll be living on anticipation and adrenaline. This is going to be an amazing trip if you can nab all of these reservations. For my boyfriend and me, Per Se is always the most filling tasting menu ever. EMP is somehow perfectly timed to our appetites, and we had room for Cadbury Creme Eggs after coming home from Brooklyn Fare, but Per Se has wrecked us every single time. It makes us feel inadequate in the best way. So I think EMP>Brooklyn Fare>Per Se is the way to go. (And work in a Momofuku Ko lunch while you’re at it.)

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