Anyone read Adam Nagourney's article in the Dining In section of today's Times about trying to get a reservation? The gist was that some hot Manhattan restaurants have begun using automated telephone systems for taking reservations, and many that still greet a caller personally make it difficult to get through.
In his article, he mentions Lotus, Esca, Jean Georges, Tavern on the Green, Russian Tea Room, Daniel, 71 Clinton Fresh Food, and Prune.
He also describes the voice mail routine a caller has to navigate when calling Prune, then at the end of the article he says that Prune does have a number that is answered by a live person, but it is only given to backers and friends of the restaurant.
I've had some very frustrating experiences in trying to make restaurant reservations in New York, so I can appreciate what Mr. Nagourney describes in his article. Why do we do it? Why do we put ourselves through such a demeaning process, in order to pay an exorbitant sum for a single meal?
I must say in all fairness, however, that I have used Open Table online to make reservations six or seven times, and I have found that process to be almost pain free, at least for me. If I request a date/time that isn't available, Open Table lets me know right away, and I can try other dates/times or other restaurants without much effort. Every reservation I've made through Open Table has been honored without problem, and each reservation gets me points that I can accrue towards a meal (I think). I don't have anything to do with Open Table other than using their website, and I prefer that approach so much more than steaming while either being on hold or navigating through automated phone systems.