Finally, a restaurant in the headlines delivers on its promise. Restaurateur Danny Meyer’s (Gramercy Tavern, Union Square Café, Eleven Madison Park) latest venture is a Roman-style trattoria emphasizing pork (maialino means “little pig”). Off of affluent Gramercy Park, the lunch clientele on the day we visited was dominated
by older guys with corporate cards and substantial waistlines, but a smattering of more subdued types mixed in with them, including John Lithgow trying to look invisible in the corner with his book. Like dutiful New Yorkers, everyone pretended not to see him.
While I waited patiently on the phone for a Per Se reservation two months in advance of the date, my lunch at the French Laundry came up rather unexpectedly. Knowing I would be in Napa in two weeks, I put myself on the waiting list in case there was a lunch cancellation. Having assumed that most people make the French Laundry a vacation destination in itself, I didn’t expect a call. Yet, after returning from a hike in Point Reyes National Seashore park, there it was: A missed call from the French Laundry (joy)… but 45 minutes ago! (misery) Arg, surely they had found someone to take the open reservation the next day. But (insert minor hyper-
ventilation here) they hadn’t, and of course we were in. You gotta do it once, right?