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johnder

PDT (Please Don't Tell) -- St. Marks Place.

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Having spent an hour -- an hour! -- dialing and redialing for a reservation yesterday afternoon, and not surprisingly being unable to get one when I finally got through, and having been (unsurprisingly) unable to walk into PDT (or Death & Co.) with a friend at about 9 or 9:30 last night, and having been unable to get into either place in my last four or five attempts;

I have to conclude that the "serious cocktail" market is still being seriously underserved in NYC -- to an extent that makes it virtually impossible to participate in it.

I'm not complaining, but I can't make it to places at 6 or 6:30 in the evening (I work later than that), and I can't plan ahead enough to make reservations to grab a drink, especially by myself -- and anytime other than the week between Christmas and New Year's I can't spend an hour during a workday trying to get through to a reservations number (and I'll be damned if I'm going to ask my secretary to spend an hour trying to phone a cocktail lounge).  I'm also not going to schlepp to the East Village after work in the hope of getting into a bar that I know I'll probably be excluded from.

As I said, I'm not complaining.  I'm happy for these places' success.  But I'm unhappy that they don't seem to fit into my lifestyle.  I wish I could go to them.

I guess we need even more.  The demand is obviously there.  (I've heard rumors of one opening on my street in Brooklyn -- but having investigated, I think my informant was confused.)

I know what you're saying. in my hood there is only one credible bar (Little Branch...which is uneven, half the staff can't make anything off-menu)...but it's impossible to get into (I have "pull" with a fair amount of WV doormen but not at LB) plus a few restaurants where you can do ok if you stay on the menu.

at least there is Flatiron and Pegu.

I have, however, found that almost always you can do one or the other of D&C or PDT if you arrive between 11 and 12....as a party of no more than one or two. that seems to be the sweet spot...

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Which is why Pegu has remained my go-to place, despite its having been eclipsed, in most people's minds, by PDT and Death & Co.


Edited by Sneakeater (log)

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So the concensus is I should either tell my friends to plan their trips to New York and PDT weeks in advance and secure a reservation (even if they'd rather sit at the bar), or tell them to go earlier than 7PM or between 11-12PM with no more than two people. Is that correct??

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I went the other night to PDT.. I was shot down at the door with my buddy.. What was more suprising then that was when they asked us if we had a reservation.. The lady at the door told us to wait 20 minutes and she would seat us.. 25 minutes went by before she then said, its going to be at least an hour an a half more.. I was wondering what the hell happened in that 25 minutes to make the time jump like that..

Either way, I wouldnt wait in an hour and a half line for a new car..

Glad they are doing well..

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it means that people she thought were leaving instead ordered more drinks.

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I would imagine it's very hard to gauge turns in a cocktail establishment. You can assume one round takes, what, 30 minutes of seat time, and each person will order 2 rounds. It's so hard to get a feel for what people will actually do though. In all my experiences at PDT, my reservations have been honored on time or I go at off-hours.

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We did have to wait for our reservation last time, specifically because the people who had the table before us didn't leave on time. It was handled as well as it could have been under the circumstances, and I got in a couple of games of Centipede while we waited.

I imagine it's a lot more difficult to estimate how long it'll take to turn a table here than at a restaurant, simply because you don't know whether people are planning to get a drink or two and go somewhere else, or settle in for the evening and drink their way through the entire list and then some.

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Unfortunately it is sometimes hard for us to predict the time people will leave, especially now the weather is getting colder. People have the tendency to linger longer when it is cold or rainy, throwing our estimates off.

We also have occasions where people at the bar ask for a check and we let the hostess know this - she adjusts the schedule for the waitlist then the people who asked for the check get another round throwing everything out of whack.

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checked out the Black Flip and Harvest Moon (among others) last night....its going to be a fun menu...we had a great time.

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Benton's Old Fashioned

Benton's Bacon infused Elijah Craig, Angostura Bitters, Maple Syrup

I just got 28.49lbs of Benton's Bacon to do this infusion. :wub:

gallery_26869_4681_13397.jpg

gallery_26869_4681_21047.jpg

gallery_26869_4681_23462.jpg

gallery_26869_4681_16658.jpg

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Thanks to johnder, I was able to join him, fat guy, and weinoo the other day for a few drinks. I was able to try the fine Mai Tai #113 showing off that tasty orgeat, the great version of the Last Word, and two remarkable drinks: the Black Flip and the Harvest Moon. Make reservations and order them.

On the dog front, I very much preferred Deragon's weiner, which goes better with drinks than the Chang Dog does. That kimchi blows out my taste buds for a few minutes -- not a bad thing if I'm tossing back a Bud but not something I want in my mouth at the same time that I'm sipping a Harvest Moon.

Our own John is a swell host, of course, but what a pleasure to meet and spend time with Jim Meehan. He was a fantastic mixologist, to be sure (he presented that Harvest Moon when I asked him to build me whatever he thought I should have, and it was spectacular), and he is also just the sort of person with whom you can take best advantage of the uncrowded bar to discuss cocktails, the business, the role of bartender (both FOH and BOH), the lifespan of the current cocktail trend, and so on.

ETA: I initially neglected to mention that, long after my glass was dry, I learned that my Harvest Moon was comped by Jim. -- CA


Edited by chrisamirault (log)

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Our own John is a swell host, of course, but what a pleasure to meet and spend time with Jim Meehan. He was a fantastic mixologist, to be sure (he presented that Harvest Moon when I asked him to build me whatever he thought I should have, and it was spectacular), and he is also just the sort of person with whom you can take best advantage of the uncrowded bar to discuss cocktails, the business, the role of bartender (both FOH and BOH), the lifespan of the current cocktail trend, and so on.

I had an enjoyable first time @ PDT on Friday. Started off solo and was joined by a friend at the bar later on.

I sampled:

- A Martinez

- 2 Vieux Mots

- 2 badminton club cocktails

Was joined by a friend and partook in some tater tots from next door. Unfortunately the arrival my wife and her friends including one that wasn't imbibing due to the need to drive necessitated me to depart from Jim behind the bar and his Aussie partner.

Definitely shall return

MJR

ps amusing to hear from Jim how many people have come in straight from egullet asking for items off the soon to be introduced menu


Edited by mjr_inthegardens (log)

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On another note-- where do cocktail bars like Pegu and PDT source glassware from?

None of these sorts of small elegant vessels are on offer where I shop.

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Benton's Old Fashioned

Benton's Bacon infused Elijah Craig, Angostura Bitters, Maple Syrup

I just got 28.49lbs of Benton's Bacon to do this infusion. :wub:

:wub: wow, it's not just for breakfast anymore.

is that going to be on the menu soon?

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I'm not don or john, but I believe that new menu's coming any day now, right?

Had one the other day; we went by on the night before NYE (g/f's cousins are in town, both emerging foodies and drinkies, so I felt like I had to take them here) and Jim showed us a great time.

Our own John is a swell host, of course, but what a pleasure to meet and spend time with Jim Meehan. He was a fantastic mixologist, to be sure (he presented that Harvest Moon when I asked him to build me whatever he thought I should have, and it was spectacular), and he is also just the sort of person with whom you can take best advantage of the uncrowded bar to discuss cocktails, the business, the role of bartender (both FOH and BOH), the lifespan of the current cocktail trend, and so on.
Yeah. Jim was hanging coats, working the door, running behind the bar to mix (a Ramos, no less) and chatting around the room. It's rare to see someone with that level of energy and enthusiasm in *any* position!

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The new menu is launching tomorrow (Wednesday 1/2/2008)

We spent the day switching over all the rails and bottles and finished all the infusions.

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I hope my friends from Philly (owners of Southwark - the only true dedicated old school bar in this 'burg) can make it in the door Thursday or Friday. I told them to try going early. I hope that works.

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A week removed from the holiday season, PDT was more sedate on this Saturday night. Crowded and humming to be sure, but not quite as boisterous as my last visit.

Friends and I camped out at a booth for a couple rounds and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly, sampling a few drinks off the new new winter menu. I went straight for the fat wash (I believe that's what Don calls them) drinks, trying both the Benton's bacon old fashioned and the Cinema-something, made with a buttered popcorn infusion. The former tastes heavily of smoke, as Benton's bacon does, with a subtle porkiness. A nice, assertive drink that benefited from a bit of dilution. The popcorn drink was right in your face with unmistakable popcorn flavors, buttery and, umm, popcorn-y. Think of what happens when you sit back at home with a rum and Coke and big bowl of popcorn. That feeling, memory, and experience is this drink.

Also tried the Beach Bum, very close to a mai tai or tropical rum-based drink. Cranberry Cobbler was a nice balance of bitter fruit and herbal gin notes. Friend also had the Falling Leaves, but I did not get to try that. She finished this drink quickly, so I think it was a hit. First time visitors were also obsessed with the Chang Dog and John John Deragon, perhaps even more so than the cocktails. The Papaya dogs we procured after leaving to sober up absolutely paled in comparison.

Service at the table was more knowledgeable than on previous visits. No complaints in the slightest and great times.

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Benton's Old Fashioned

Benton's Bacon infused Elijah Craig, Angostura Bitters, Maple Syrup

I just got 28.49lbs of Benton's Bacon to do this infusion. :wub:

gallery_26869_4681_13397.jpg

gallery_26869_4681_21047.jpg

gallery_26869_4681_23462.jpg

gallery_26869_4681_16658.jpg

Wow! I am supposed to swing by tonight and will make sure I sample this beauty! Everything is better with bacon!

Cheers! :cool:

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(I've heard rumors of one opening on my street in Brooklyn -- but having investigated, I think my informant was confused.)

See the last item in this Eater post:

http://eater.com/archives/2008/01/eaterwire_am_ed_20.php

PS -- Thanks for everything last night, John.

The guys at PDT made our table 3 Ramos Gin Fizzes the other day, for which I give them insane props. Those drinks aren't easy to make. We also tried a good portion of the rest of the menu. I'm in love with the No. 8 (really complex and layered).

Edited to pretend I can spell.


Edited by Jesikka (log)

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I was there on Monday night and had the Benton's and the Cinema Highball. Both were lovely, and service as usual was awesome. Oh, and the Chang Dog is as good as ever (tater tots were so-so).

Keep up the good work!

Cheers! :cool:

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The guys at PDT made our table 3 Raymus Gin Fizzes the other day, for which I give them insane props.  Those drinks aren't easy to make.  We also tried a good portion of the rest of the menu.  I'm in love with the No. 8 (really complex and layered).

So you're the trouble maker! :hmmm:

We had 3 more orders for them at the bar once people saw us making them for your table...

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