• 206 Avenue A
• New York, NY
no phone

I love speakeasies. I'm not particularly rich, powerful, influential, popular, tall, imaginative, attractive, or interesting. Indeed, half the time, I don't even smell very good. But when I go to a speakeasy, I can pretend to be. See, I'm somewhere that the average passers-by on the street have no idea exists. But I'm there. I hit that buzzer, get led inside, and suddenly my brain starts firing these unused neurons of coolness. I'm sure that's why people go to invitation-only raves under bridges in Yonkers, or play poker in underground clubs in Whitestone, or sneak into construction sites to take selfies in Hells Kitchen, or go to sex parties in Tribeca. Thing is, I don't dance, or want get arrested in a raid, or want to fall to my death, or... actually I can't think of any reason to avoid that last one. Long story short, I like speakeasies. And Dinnertable is a speakeasy, except for food. Win-win!

Hidden behind a heavy grey curtain inside of the Garrett cocktail bar in Alphabet City, Dinnertable is small. Two tables for couples. One large table for a communal dining or a big group. Some seats at the bar/open kitchen where you can watch the chefs do their magic. I'm not one for hyperbole. Rest assured, you will be eating magic at the end of it all. The staff was excellent and my one complaint about them is petty, superficial, and ate at me the way a single bead of sweat slowly running down the small of my back while waiting for the subway on a hot platform would eat at me. They all wore baseball caps... cockeyed. I know. It's petty.

Dinnertable takes both reservations and walk-ins, but reservations were limited to the first seating at 5:30 and the last seating at 10:30. Photogirl got us a reservation for 5:30 having had a friend tell her that they showed up once upon a recent-time and were told that the wait would be two hours. We walked into The Garret at 5pm, grabbed a drink at the bar (you can't bring your drink in with you, as they are technically separate establishments), and waited the requisite half hour. Despite the warning of crowds and waits, on this particular Thursday evening, we were the only diners when we walked in, and nobody had joined us by the time we had walked out.

If I was going to classify Dinnertable, I'd call it an eclectic small plates restaurant, for all intents and purposes. The menu is small and not divided into categories. Instead, it's ranked from lightest to heaviest. I did ask about portion size, since we planned to share everything, and were told that four items would be enough. Well, by the end of the meal I was satisfied, but by the time I got home a few hours later, I found myself rummaging my freezer for leftovers. So I recommend five items or six, depending on how much tummy-growling you have. 

The first dish to arrive was the Sicilian Red Shrimp Crudo, perfectly cooked shrimp in an incredibly light tomato broth with buttermilk, basil, and toasted breadcrumbs. The flavor explodes through this course. Everything blends perfectly, almost to the point of putting one in awe. It's sweet, it's tart, it's soft, it's crunchy. The only downside is that there are only six shrimp when there should be six hundred. This was immediately followed by the Garlic Pretzel, which is everything you think it might be. It's a fresh sesame seed coated pretzel, halved and perfectly seasoned with garlic butter, and served with a cool, light cheese dip. Don't think pretzel from a cart, think bagel made with pretzel dough.

The following "larger" dishes were also pretty small, so do get another. First, The Dumplings. This course is a potato dumpling served with peccorino cheese, basil, dill, and a hearty dusting of poppyseed. If your ancestors were like mine and hailed once upon a time from Soviet-bloc nations, then you probably grew up with pierogis of one form or another. This is the evolution of what grandma made. Lighter, svelter, smoother, made from locally sourced organic ingredients instead of whatever was on sale at D'Agostino's, but just as amazing.  ...(side note, please don't call them "peroshkis". That's a different thing. Just like a macaron is not a macaroon, a pierogi is not a peroshki). Finally came the Black Sea Bass with a tomatillo puttanesca. Every dish thus far has been light and summery and this was no exception. It was delicious and we all but licked the plate clean, but it was the least robust. I mean, it's a grilled fish, so it's not like it's supposed to smack you in the face like a hot wing would. But it was a little timid relative to everything else we ordered.

The weakest dish, in my opinion, was dessert, the Taco Cioccolato, a gelato taco covered in hard dark chocolate and hazelnuts. It didn't seem particularly unique, though that's not my problem with it. After all, a cheesecake from Veniero's isn't unique, just delicious. It was very salty but otherwise plain. I had a bite and I was done. "I tried it," I told Photogirl. "The rest is for you." Unlike me, she loved it and devoured the rest.

Our five dishes and one glass of wine came to a little over $100 with tax and tip. Note, loyal readers may remember that I went to the West Village Garrett and gave it a... uh... less than positive review. I stand by the assessment of that. But the easternmost Garrett may prove different. Dinnertable being right inside helps, but I will reserve this judgement until I return specifically for drinks.

Dinnertable Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

You Might Also Like



The contents of this website/weblog are the property of its author and are protected under the copyright and intellectual property laws of the United States of America. The views expressed within are the opinions of the author. All rights reserved.

Readers are free to copy and distribute the material contained within, but such external use of the author's original material must be properly attributed to the author. Attribution may be through a link to the author's original work. Derivative use is prohibited. The borrower may not alter, transform, or build upon the work borrowed.

The author is free to change the terms of this copyright at any time and without notice. At the written request by the borrower, the author may choose to waive these rights.