For the food-obsessed, there’s nothing quite like dining at a chef’s table. Set within (or just outside of) a restaurant’s kitchen, chef’s tables let you get close to the action: from the vantage point of your dining table, you’ll see your entrees fired and your dishes plated — and interact with the chef preparing your meal. While some restaurants offer their standard menu in a chef’s table setting, others go further — serving specialty large-format meals or even customizing a tasting menu to the guests’ preferences. Here are five standout chef’s tables in New York City to know.
Chef Jehangir Mehta, of tiny but highly regarded Graffiti in the East Village, expanded into an adjacent space last year, which he dubbed “Graffiti Me” — and in which he serves exclusive dinners for private parties, up to 12 guests. Unlike other chef’s tables where you’re at the whim of the creator, Mehta goes out of his way to accommodate his diners’ requests. Let him know what wine you’d like with dinner, and he’ll match courses to it. Bring in a fish you’ve caught and he’ll design a menu around it. 224 E. 10th St., 212-464-7743, graffitinyc.com
Kappo at Má Pêche
Down in the East Village, the tiny Momofuku Ko is essentially a single chef’s counter, and a tricky reservation to get. But uptown, the restaurant group has a different chef’s table: called Kappō, within the restaurant Má Pêche. At this eight-seat counter, Paul Carmichael creates a different many-course meal every night, interacting with guests as he preps and cooks right in front of you. Beverage pairings are available, too. In the Chambers Hotel, 15 W. 56th St., 212-757-5878, momofuku.com/new-york/ma-peche/kappo/
Hecho en Dumbo
While many chef’s table take large groups only, this modern Mexican restaurant intends its counter for groups of two. Sit at the small counter, with a direct view onto the restaurant’s open kitchen, and watch the action as you dine through a 5-course meal–right now, it includes a seafood-laden sopa de mariscos, grilled Maine lobster tail, and a seared lamb neck filet. 354 Bowery, 212-937-4245, hechoendumbo.com/chefs-table
This classic West Village Italian spot offers several settings for private events, including a 14-seat chef’s table in the kitchen itself. At the table, you’ll dine on a three- to four-course menu served family style — with wine pairings suggested by the wine director, should you so desire. 775 Washington St., 212-924-9700, barbutonyc.com
Chef April Bloomfield is known for her unabashed love of indulgent, animal-heavy fare; and the best way to appreciate her style might be in the large-format dinners, offered for 8 to 12 people at their chef’s table. Choose from mains including a dry-aged prime rib or a whole roasted suckling pig; whole means whole – head, tail, and all. Various salads and sides are served alongside, with dessert to finish things off. 16 West 29th St., 212-679-1939, thebreslin.com/menu/21/chefs-table