House of Carts: 8 Restaurants Offering Tableside Service to Make You Feel Like a VIP

Why walk over to the bar, the kitchen, or the cheese display when it can come to you? Restaurants are now using carts to convey everything from cocktails and Champagne to entrees and the cheese course to their guests. The mobile filling stations allow staffers to give diners a show by accompanying their meal by crafting a top shelf martini, cracking open a clay-baked fish, or popping the cork on a rare bottle of bubbles for them. Here are eight restaurants offering exquisite tableside service, guaranteed to make you feel like a VIP.

Bourbon Steak, Washington, D.C.
Head bartender Torrence Swain created the Monkey Business tiki-inspired cocktail just so tipplers could enjoy a show at the table. Made with Monkey Shoulder Scotch and Drambuie, it’s served over ice with flame-kissed, brûléed banana and freshly grated nutmeg. Warning: if you enjoy too many, you may be inclined to start swinging from the chandeliers while loudly proclaiming you’re the king of the jungle.

Blog Bourbon Steak copy

Charlie Palmer at The Knick, New York, New York
Legend has it that that Knickerbocker Hotel was the birthplace of the Martini. To honor that legacy, the restaurant offers a cart packed with all the components for the classic cocktail (available upon request or for special events). Expect to find a bottle of Tanqueray No. Ten, dry and rouge vermouth, and orange and citrus bitters, as well as all the necessary equipment. (Ed. note: I seriously hope there’s a vodka option available.)

Blog Charlie Palmer at The Knick 2 copy

Kachina Southwestern Grill, Westminster, Colorado
Echoing a traditional Native American cooking technique, rainbow trout is stuffed with lemon, thyme, and pungent epazote leaves, shrouded in cornhusks, and wrapped in clay etched with a fish drawing. After it’s baked, the pescetarian entree is wheeled to the table and cracked open for the guest.

BLog Kachina Southwestern Grill Clay-Wrapped Trout copy

The Source, Washington, D.C.
On a foggy Sunday morning, there is no more welcome sight than this Bloody Mary cart coasting in our direction across the dining room. Choose from three options: classic, Chesapeake topped with Crab Louis Salad and horseradish panna cotta, or spicy Sichuan accompanied by pickled chilies. Then add your choice of celery, olives, and a slew of salts. Suddenly, our hangovers aren’t that bad after all.

Blog The Source Bloody_Mary_Cart copy

The Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel, New York City
Paging 007, your Martini cart awaits! James Bond would choose between perfectly chilled Chopin Potato vodka or Ketel One while those who prefer gin can opt for either Tanqueray No. Ten or Plymouth. His is shaken, not stirred, of course, but you can go your own way. Licensed to thrill.

Blog The Palm Court - Martini Cart LR copyContinue Reading

Dining Out on Mother’s Day: The Best Time to Dine

Mothers-Day-2010-SurveyMother’s Day is mom’s day off, so it’s no surprise that it’s one of the busiest dining out days of the year. Diners seeking to enjoy a more leisurely dining experience should consider dining at a time other than noon, according to the results of  a recent survey of OpenTable diners. The survey revealed that 12PM was the most popular time to dine on Mother’s Day. Diners also told us that almost 50% of moms make their own Mother’s Day reservations. Dads, who are probably busy figuring out what to buy their lovely wives, only do the reserving 31% of the times. Kids reserve, too, but just 15% of the time.

The size of most dining parties is small, with most people spending Mother’s Day at a table for two to four people. However, nearly 44% will dine in a larger group of more than six.

Curious about mixology for moms? Mimosas remain her cocktail of choice (42%), with Champagne coming in at a distant second (19%).

Moms will enjoy lots of love from restaurateurs this year, with free cocktails and other goodies available at many restaurants. Read more about interesting offers and additional survey results in our press room, and find a table today to make this Mother’s Day the best yet.