Communal restaurant tables. They’re not exactly a brand new trend.

But they are appearing in more upscale restaurants, says “A Place at the Table,” an article in the San Francisco Chronicle. Thanks to Jeffrey Chodorow and his decade-old Asia de Cuba, we can now strike up conversations with the most interesting people over dinner.

Communal tables are ideal for small groups and solo diners, but many approach shared restaurant tables with apprehension, perhaps remembering strained chitchat at assigned-seat receptions or channeling dinner-table gross-out contests with older brothers. Others love the chance to connect with strangers for casual conversation. Or more:

‘I’d come in with a group of girls, and we’d leave with a group of guys,’ says [Terri] McKenna, adding that her roommate met her boyfriend at the communal table at the Presidio restaurant [Pres a Vi]. He ordered a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and she ordered a chocolate dessert with strawberries. Soon they were offering each other tastes. That night led to a date, and the date led to a relationship.’

While my appreciation for community doesn’t extend to sharing my restaurant table, I am intrigued by the promise that San Francisco’s Town Hall restaurant will forgo the corkage fee for its communal table this fall to celebrate the harvest, along with a special prix fixe menu of meats and cheeses.

[Town Hall manager Zeke] Durantini hopes folks will share.

Keep your hands off my mortadella and we’ll all get along fine.

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