A Beautiful New York Moment…

Having worked at many restaurants, I discovered that in general, people detest eating dinner at the bar. Personally I don’t understand what there is NOT to like. Bartenders can be quite knowledgeable, and the people eating there are usually good-natured and interesting.

Last week a friend took me to Union Square Cafe. We sat in the bar area, which was gorgeous and elegant without being stuffy. Next to us was a friendly middle – aged couple who we started chatting with.

We ordered the Prime Rib for two, which was absolutely divine.


We couldn’t help but notice our doe-eyed friends next to us, staring at our dinner. My friend leaned over and whispered “You know, if you’re really cool, you’ll put a piece on your bread plate and slide it over to them.”

The couple was both pleasantly surprised and ecstatic.

In my experience, this food sharing phenomenon seems limited to the bar areas of fine Manhattan restaurants. I can recall at least a handful of times that I’ve either been on the giving or receiving end of a food transaction with a perfect stranger, but not once while sitting at a table, and never outside of the City.

Why only at the bar? And why only New York?

I think the bar is a space much more conducive to striking up random conversation. You’re much closer in proximity to the people next to you (sometimes it’s downright intimate). Also, people eating at the bar are cooler by nature—otherwise they would have insisted on a table and then left after their tantrum when they realized none were available.

Maybe this is specific to New York because we have an unparalleled appreciation for fine cuisine? I’m not sure, but I’m open to your comments and speculations.

Either way, it’s an experience that always remains with me. Whenever I overhear someone ignorant saying New Yorkers are cold and I can feel “the Rage” taking over me, I think back to these pleasant encounters and immediately I am calmed.



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