Eating with Strangers in New York City

One of the cool things I discovered on my first trip to Europe was that restaurants sat you at empty seats, not at empty tables.

In other words, if a table with four seats already has two people sitting there, the waiter will sit you and your buddy alongside of them–even if it is a couple enjoying a nice romantic evening that your presence will shortly ruin. The reality, however, is that the strangers you are placed next to usually prove to be wonderful company for the evening.

A slight twist on this idea–the communal dining table–is now becoming the hot new dining trend in New York, according to Time Magazine.

In restaurants like Buddakan, for example, a 30 foot table dominates the main dining room. On any given night, there is room here for 18 people. But, only a few actually know each other. The idea is that complete strangers come here to sit next to each other and enjoy a communal meal together.

I love this! What a great way to reintroduce civility and camaraderie back into the sometimes cold heart of New York City–unless, of course you get stuck next to a colossal bore. Then it kinda sucks.

(NY Times review of Buddakan here)