Need to impress? In many a restaurant, there are tables, and then there are Tables. Waltz in cold, and you may well end up seated beside the kitchen door. Instead, act like an insider, and ask for these coveted seats when you make your reservation.
When dining at Basil’s, the dining lodestone of the IDS Tower, leave those boring four-tops for middle managers who don’t know the ropes. The one you want is the two-seater in the middle of the balcony overlooking the Crystal Court below. Yup, it’s Mary Tyler Moore’s table: Never catch her twisting fettuccine around her fork from the back row—plus, no room there to toss her tam.
Since the renovation of Forepaugh’s, the place looks less like a faded Valentine and more like a classy destination. Still, some tables are more equal than others, as Orwell would profess. To avoid the proles, insist on the windowside two-top in the third floor’s Sibley Room, with views of Irvine Park, or the similar deal—fewer steps—in the second floor’s Ramsey Room, whose windows capture Downtown’s city lights.
At Walker Art Center’s hypertrendy lunch Mecca, Gathering, the only seat that really matters is the one filling the signature promontory dangling over Hennepin Avenue, capturing the street action below. It’s also the only one where it’s quiet enough to whisper sweet nothings (like “Just sign the contract here”), while rating the new menu.
This one works best for lunch, especially with out-of-towners to impress. Walk into Peter’s Grill, and just say, “Over there—where Bill Clinton sat.” (A plaque verifies the hallowed stool.) Gotta have the famous apple pie that he forked up while he autographed the menu.
Porter & Fry
Say “the red booth, please,” and the voice on the phone at the Hotel Ivy’s Porter & Fry melts from crisp to cooing. While the rest of the room—sorry!—looks like the company cafeteria, the red booth, in its own private alcove, separates moguls from mere mortals. Complimentary flutes of champagne have been known to appear.
From downstairs, the Strip Club looks like your average blue-collar bar and grill, and that’s fine for a night with the office peons. But slip up the stairs for VIP seating on the tiny balcony, and you’re in a private bordello, with terrific views of St. Paul’s city lights as a sidelight to your steak.
The view at Calhoun Beach Club’s Urban Eatery isn’t all that ooh-ooh, unless you’re sitting lakeside in high summer (which won’t happen this year, it seems). So, get cozy in the curvy, round booth in the back corner (there’s only one, and you deserve it), from which to survey the wannabes wondering who you are (or who you know).