3 Chef’s Tables for Your Bucket List

It has never been an easy feat to land a reservation at restaurants of famed chefs. Chef ’s tables have been popping up around the country, making the dining experience intimate and exclusive. Now we are seeing limited-seating restaurants open their doors to a select few each month. Whatever the case may be, each brings a unique dining experience worth adding to your bucket list.

Secure Reservations at One of New York’s Most Coveted Restaurants

Guests of Per Se, Thomas Keller’s French-American restaurant in NYC, boast that the Chef’s Tasting Menu offers an interactive experience, combining science, food and of course, impeccable service. With a unified team of some of the kitchen’s greatest minds, chef de cuisine Eli Kaimeh balances unique flavors in a nine-course prix fixe menu that changes daily. Classics, such as the Oysters & Pearls and Beets & Leeks, often appear on the menu.

Keller’s spinoff of his successful French Laundry in Napa Valley debuted in Manhattan in 2004. In the 64-seat dining room, guests enjoy stunning views of Columbus Circle and Central Park. As for the best seat in the house—well the folks at Per Se won’t give up that privileged information, so you’ll have to decide for yourself. Plan to reserve your table at least a couple of months in advance and be prepared to dress to the nines.

If you can’t snag a dinner reservation during your visit, you might be able to squeeze in midday and enjoy additional choices of the seven- or five-course prix fixe lunch menus. Per Se also has a no-reservations salon where you can sip on a glass of bubbles and order a la carte. Because it’s walk-in only, be prepared to wait. Your taste buds will thank you.


Reserve the Chef’s Table at Los Angeles’ Latest Hot Spot

Chef Curtis Stone opened the doors to his lifelong dream at the beginning of this year in Beverly Hills—Maude, a farm-to-fork eatery named after his late grandmother and first culinary mentor. This trendy little joint quickly became LA’s latest hot spot.

You won’t find a menu at this chef ’s table-style establishment. Inspired by fresh ingredients sourced locally from Southern California, Stone puts together a nine-course combination of dishes that revolve around one peak seasonal ingredient. Depending on the featured ingredient, you might find yourself noshing on raviolo, a homemade pasta that has become quite a talking point among guests.

The atmosphere is comfortable and intimate, with only 25 seats and an open kitchen that encourages guests to interact with the kitchen staff. Seats at the Chef ’s Counter are by far the most coveted. Reservations for the month generally open at the beginning of the prior month, but act fast—reservations for Stone’s August corn menu sold out in one day!


Snag a Seat Where the Washington Insiders Dine

Nestled in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of our nation’s capital are 18 bar-top seats, where nightly patrons experience an art show in which dinner is the medium. Minibar, the brainchild of José Andrés, exhibits cuttingedge gastronomic creations that will make you squint and think before you bite. Once a six-seat bar tucked in the corner of Andrés’ Café Atlántico, this D.C. hot spot debuted in its own space in November 2012.

The tasting menu features 25 of Andrés’ creations prepared by executive sous chef Johnny Spero and his team. In homage to the favorite late-night snack, chicken shawarma frequently appears on the menu as a signature item. Handcrafted beverage pairings are offered.

Minibar takes reservations by email for parties of up to six. Requests for spring/summer (March–July) reservations begin in February, and fall/winter (September–February) in July.


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