Now Testing: Premium Reservations in NYC

Ever try to secure a prime-time reservation for the upcoming weekend at one of the hottest tables in town, only to be disappointed? And then, wished for a time machine or a special connection that could get you in?

We know sometimes surprises just pop up — a last-minute business trip, a forgotten anniversary, a surprise visitor — and advance planning just isn’t possible. For those occasions, OpenTable is here to help. We’re exploring ways to give you access to last-minute reservations at the most popular restaurants without needing to plan months in advance. No time machines or VIP connections required.  Like a chef tweaking ingredients until a recipe is just right, OpenTable is always listening and testing ways to deliver a better dining experience. In research, OpenTable diners have told us that they’re willing to pay for last-minute, prime-time reservations at popular restaurants, so we’ve cooked up a test to satisfy this craving.

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OpenTable’s Premium Reservations are now being tested for a limited time at Cosme in New York City. Exclusively available on our iPhone app, they will be visible for Apple Pay-enabled diners doing New York City area searches. Cosme will be offering OpenTable diners last-minute reservations on Friday and Saturday nights for a handful of tables. You can see availability by launching our latest iPhone app for New York City searches and clicking the promotional banner. If the banner doesn’t surface, we may be sold out for the upcoming weekend, so try again later. Premium Reservation prices will vary depending on demand from diners like you. If the first price you see doesn’t strike your fancy, don’t worry, keep an eye out for changes.

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A Dozen Blue Ribbon Breakfast Sandwiches to Kick Start Your Day #BetterBreakfastMonth

The humble breakfast sandwich is no longer the purview of fast food joints. Now chefs are creating gourmet versions that eschew rubbery eggs and limp rolls for high-quality ingredients in creative presentations. Whether these sandos arrive on an English muffin or a biscuit or in a tortilla or a pita, they are guaranteed to give you a sunny disposition. In honor of Better Breakfast Month, here are a dozen blue ribbon breakfast sandwiches to kick start your day.

Boqueria-Soho, New York, New York
You’ll sound super fancy when you order the bocata de huevos, but you’re really just asking for the egg sandwich. This Spanish-styled startup sammie is far from ordinary, however. It comes with a fried egg, tangy mahón cheese, pickled red onions, cilantro, peppery pimentón aioli, and your choice of avocado or housemade pork sausage.

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Zengo, Washington, D.C.
When Sir Mix-a-Lot rapped, “My anaconda don’t want none/Unless you’ve got buns, hon,” he was clearly voicing his preference for breakfast sandwiches served on steamed buns. That’s what we like to think, anyway. At this Asian-Latin fusion joint, they pile the warm white pastries with bacon, scrambled eggs, salsa verde, and white Oaxacan cheese. We’re sure the “Baby Got Back” hit maker would approve heartily.


MP Taverna, Astoria, New York
This fully loaded egg souvlaki should be known as a Greek hangover cure. The pita comes packed with spicy lamb sausage, French fries, onions, and feta. In between bites, you can rationalize your questionable choices from the night before to your understandably skeptical dining companion.

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Blue Duck Tavern, Washington, D.C.
Consider this break-of-day treat a high-end Egg McMuffin. Scrambled eggs, pork sausage, and American cheese (of course!) are packed between two halves of an English muffin gussied up with a spicy aioli. Ronald McDonald, sorry, but you are running a so-distant-we-can’t-even-see-you second in this race.

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The Garden at the Four Seasons Hotel, New York, New York
Executive chef John Johnson evokes the bagelwiches you used to put together when you had breakfast at your bubbe’s house. A sesame-speckled circlet comes with ribbons of smoked salmon, plenty of cream cheese, tomatoes, red onions, and capers. Not included: your grandmother’s constant questions about why you haven’t settled down yet and produced lots of grandchildren for her to spoil.

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Brio, New York, New York
You’ll need two hands to tackle this hefty breakfast burger. The epic edible comes piled high with a fried egg, apple wood-smoked bacon, a shroud of melted Provolone, arugula, and tomato jam. Remember, there’s no shame in requesting extra napkins.

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Dine Like a Caveman: 6 Delicious Paleo Dishes Perfect for #CrossFit Enthusiasts

If The Flintstones were to be believed, dining like a caveman meant sinking one’s teeth into a monster rack of brontosaurus ribs. Thankfully, there’s more to Paleo dishes than that. Paleo eaters can dine on an array of lean proteins, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. But can life without the carb-y goodness of pasta or rich dairy still be satisfying? Will you still have the energy you need for endless squats? Indeed. But don’t take our word for it. Check out these six nutritious and delicious Paleo dishes to feed your inner Fred or Wilma — and to help you keep fit for Crossfit.

The New York City Cut at American Cut, New York, New York
A 20-ounce, bone-in rib eye is dry-aged for 30 days and gets a true old New York twist with the addition of pastrami spices and smoke at this sexy steakhouse from chef Marc Forgione.

Pig Tails and Cherry Agrodolce at Alla Spina, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
At Marc Vetri’s Italian gastropub, pigtails are brined in water, salt, sugar, and rosemary until fork tender. They are then topped with a paleo-friendly blend of fennel, garlic, red chili, and red onion and fried for a soulful-yet-carb-free dish. [Photo by Jason Varney]

Brick Chicken at Glen Ellen Star, California
Now’s the time for Paleo diners to heat to the Glen Ellen Star. Chef Ari Weiswasser is a devoted CrossFit enthusiast and is featuring seven weeks of Paleo-focused menus to align with the Lurong Living Championship Challenge. After your WOD, sink your teeth into the roast-y chicken served with caramelized squash, summer succotash, and dill oil.

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Dining on the Down Low: 15 Must-Order Secret Menu Items

Every diner has access to the regular menu, but only the cooler-than-cool know about the secret stuff. Sometimes you just have to know to ask for an off-menu item. Other times you need to follow a restaurant’s social media feeds to find out when a limited-time, insiders-only dish is available. Either way, it’ll impress the heck out of your dining companions when you order something they didn’t even know existed. So you can amp up your hipness factor, here are 15 must-order secret menu items.

Pounds & Ounces, New York City
The Fork & Knife Surf & Turf burger is an epic affair. A Cajun-spiced, rice-coated soft shell crab sits atop a half-pound burger along with char-grilled corn salsa, white cheddar, remoulade, and lettuce. The supersized sandwich is available intermittently during soft shell crab season, so watch the restaurant’s Facebook page and Twitter feed for a head’s up. You have to specifically ask for the sando when you sit down because servers won’t tell you it’s on hand.

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Mandu – 18th St., Washington, D.C.
Chef Danny Lee will make guests gaeran jim (a traditional Korean steamed egg) upon special request when he’s presiding over the kitchen. Served warm, the set egg has a silky, custard-like texture and comes topped with Korean red peppers, seasoned seaweed strips, and sesame seeds.

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Bub City, Chicago, Illinois
This might be a Southern-styled barbecue joint, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make primo pastrami. Their version is crusted with more than a dozen spices, including coriander, mustard seed, and black pepper, then hickory smoked for nine hours. The sort-of-secret sandwich comes on Rosen’s rye. Mustard optional.

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Craigie on Main, Cambridge, Massachusetts
One of chef-owner Tony Maws most well-loved dishes is the off-menu, sesame-marinated King salmon collar with New Mexican red chile and daikon salad. It’s only available whenever he can get the whole fish in, so make sure to order it if you’re offered one.

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American Cut, New York New York
Every day at 4:20 p.m., the restaurant announces on its Twitter feed how many off-menu In-House burgers will be available starting at 5 p.m. It’s a beast. The patty is a blend of prime brisket, short rib, and dry-aged rib eye and it comes garnished with bourbonized, caramelized onions, and beer cheese (a mix of Brooklyn lager, Fontina, and cheddar).

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Villa Azur, Miami Beach, Florida
The most show-stopping dish here isn’t on the menu. Back in the kitchen, linguini is coated with heavy cream accented by fresh sage and pepper. Then it’s brought tableside along with a giant wheel of Parmigiano with a bowl-like depression dug out of its center. Cognac is poured into the crater, set ablaze, then tamped out. The still-warm cheese is shaved into the crater, the pasta is added, it’s all tossed together, and voila!

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