Tables for One: Restaurant Reviews from Another New York City




Coffee?Dining invites an informal kind of surveilance. We hear conversations from the diners around us; we note what other diners are eating; we stare at people outside who furrow their brows at the menu that has inexplicably been posted at eye-level on the window facing our table. “What are you waiting for?” we might ask this person, “If I’m here, it’s good enough for you.” They make a pained expression and stare at the menu some more.

October 27, 2014 | BY A. PONTIOUS




Coffee?We climb down the metal staircase. It is hot, and we are are sweating, and the staircase creaks as we go further down. We know what we want, and we have reliable information that we can find it here, and so despite the abject misery in doing so, we continue on.

September 1, 2014 | BY A. PONTIOUS


the museum of sad cuisine


The Museum of Sad Cuisine (the former Joost Hotel, located in the West Village), is almost the size of the Whitney or the Guggenheim. How is it possible that so few people have even heard of it?

June 18, 2014 | BY A. PONTIOUS


The windows are covered in butcher’s paper, and taped over is a handwritten note: Tonight will be our last evening at this location. Please join us from 5 to 11 PM. Anyone walking by will nod their head sadly, although it’s very unlikely that they would have eaten at Chancery prior to now. Chancery has no fixed address, it’s a pop-up restaurant, open for one day only.

February 25, 2014 | BY A. PONTIOUS



N E W SWandering along the spectacle that is Prince Street, you might almost miss the newsstand that is at the corner of Greene. It’s smaller than most newsstands, practically a phone booth, and it doesn’t sell magazines, cough drops, or energy drinks. Instead, News sells little marzipan and chocolate newspapers, about the size of a business card

February 3, 2014 | BY A. PONTIOUS



YetiArctic explorers eat food in a way that we do not. Their bodies work overtime to burn calories in sub-zero temperatures, like coal in a furnace, so they can eat pillowcase after pillow case of deep-fried nachos, followed by deep-fried King Cones without gaining an ounce of fat or shame.  And yet, as the January winds howl . . .

January 29, 2014 | BY A. PONTIOUS


frito be you and me

Frito Be You and MeFritos are oily, salty chips shaped like large confetti that have been packaged by the Frito-Lay company since 1932 (although sometimes they've been known to make a fresh batch). They are an essential ingredient to the Frito Pie, and all of the dishes at Frito Be You and Me on the Lower East Side. It’s a restaurant that is a curious blend of Tuscan cooking and excessive sodium (each table has two pitchers of water, both vital to the dining experience).

January 16, 2014 | BY A. PONTIOUS


destroy all bread!

Destroy All Bread!“I can't stand the healthy, respectable, wholesome reputation of bread,” says chef Michelle Dunning. “It’s ridiculous. More than ridiculous, it’s offensive. Bread should be for everybody! At Destroy All Bread we talk about our favorite horror movies, our favorite bands, and how we're going to make a new demented loaf of bread.”

December 10, 2013 | BY A. PONTIOUS


welcome to supper

Welcome . . . . to SupperWhile he is mum about the subject on his public radio show and his live-streaming channel, Jonathan Schwartz has a supper club. A studio on the Upper West Side that seats about eight very comfortably, Welcome to Supper is decorated with stunning posters of Sinatra playbills, and has the finest audio equipment you’ll ever lay ears on.

November 19, 2013 | BY A. PONTIOUS

Not especially food-related, but you may enjoy this other cartoon by our site designer Evan Johnston.


the bankgurt

The BankgurtDateline November 2013: New York City, a name once synonomous with crime, music, art, literature and sex is now known largely for the only two things that truly thrive: banks and yogurt. And then there are the cupcake places, which are now considered “too edgy.” Enter the Bankgurt, the only business guaranteed to thrive for the next three months.

November 4, 2013 | BY A. PONTIOUS



Fall, fall at last! The air is crisp, you can walk around the city without smelling too much of it, if you’re inclined to go jogging you may, if you would rather wear a form-hiding sweater, that's fine too.  But chef Michael Forth, the owner for Autompne (the old French word for Fall) is crazy about the season in a way that most other people, including myself, are not.

October 31, 2013 | BY A. PONTIOUS

Not especially food-related, but readers of Tables for One might enjoy this cartoon
by our site designer and webmaster, Evan Johnston.



I don't know how people manage to stay on the lam. As I drive through state after state, all I can think is, “I must return to New York.” While the idea that I was being pursued had a certain caché, I found myself wondering more and more if I hadn't been making the whole thing up. Being a food critic calls for a certain sense of the dramatic. You can’t dislike a dish you have to be offended by it. You can’t just not have an opinion, you have to be unimpressed. This is the insight that Iowa, land of driving long distances, has brought me.

October 17, 2013 | BY A. PONTIOUS


dorothea's cupkin house

k a l e h e n g e !

Driving across America is the antithesis of the adventure I wanted to have, particularly after finding a relatively happy life in New York. I get so bored of the goddamn trees. And even more vexing are the other cars around me. I hate other cars, and the humans who drive them. MORE

October 1, 2013 | BY A. PONTIOUS

k a l e h e n g e !



Smelling of cured meat and desperation, I took Metro North to visit a friend upstate, explaining succinctly that I needed to get the hell out of town. “Of course,” she said, offering me the keys to her station wagon, because apparently I have friends like that. If this were a novel, no doubt some ghastly fate would befall her for helping me, and so I immediately felt incredibly guilty.

September 17, 2013 | BY A. PONTIOUS



Life on the lam has always appealed to me ever since seeing The 39 Steps as a small boy. While I wasn’t even totally certain that Museo’s waitstaff was pursuing me, and I was not yet handcuffed to a beautiful woman, I didn’t see any point in waiting around to see if these things would happen. You have to make your own luck.

September 12, 2013 | BY A. PONTIOUS



Museo GelateriaMany readers wrote in over the last few days to console me about my existential crisis with Sabbatik, and had suggestions for restaurants that I should try to lift my spirits. I shall in turn offer them a suggestion: leave the dining advice to the experts. I know where and what to eat after a dark evening of the soul. . .

August 27, 2013 | BY A. PONTIOUS



E F F E R V E S S In 1998, Chef Marc Gimarché opened Sabbatik, a restaurant which is closed two days for every day it remains open. It was open for fourteen days in September, reopened in November, where it was open until December, then closed until February, where it stayed open for six months, closed for an entire year, re-opened for four months, closed for eight . . .

August 13, 2013 | BY A. PONTIOUS



E F F E R V E S S The emergence of the handcrafted soda is something that I would have been more excited about in the years that predated the dotcom crash, for that is when I began drinking in earnest. Now that the Sodastream is a household name, it seems as though the cola wars are at an end. But maybe they’ve just taken a strange, quiet turn. . .

August 7, 2013 | BY A. PONTIOUS