Quick to click for the hottest seat in town
Manhattan is a famously elitist place when it comes to fine dining. Who you know, rather than the size of your wallet, is often the key to securing a table at one of the hot new restaurants.
Imagine the horror then, when the latest hyper-chic establishment of New York’s most happening chef abolished the old table-by-cronyism reservation system and opted for an egalitarian alternative.
David Chang opened his Momofuku Ko in the East Village just a few weeks ago and the city’s dining world has been in a lather ever since.
The only way to secure one of the tiny restaurant’s 12 bar stools is via the internet. To foil syndicates booking seats using computer programs, valid credit-card details are required on the restaurant’s website.
Then you have to start frantically bashing your keyboard in an attempt to snatch one of the openings logged on a virtual grid. Places become available at 10am each morning for the next seven-day period, and only for a matter seconds. The competition among diners is that fierce.
And do not bother trying to bypass the online system with a quiet call to the maÃ®tre d’ about who you are. Dignitaries, from the editor of Gourmet magazine to a former top Microsoft executive, have all been turned away with a polite reference to the booking website Momofuku.com.
Frank Bruni, the legendary food critic for the New York Times, spent days trying to get a seat. He describes Chang as the Tiger Woods or Roger Federer of the restaurant scene, and was so determined to sample the $85 tasting menu he perfected his technique.
The way to do it, Bruni writes on his blog, is to “click-click-hope-click-pray-click-please-God-click-fret-sweat-panic-pray-some-more”. Which may be painful, but at least everybody is in the same boat.—guardian.co.uk Â