STATUS TABLES: WHERE VIPS SIT AT NEW YORK RESTAURANTS

This week's magazine includes a package on status symbols: ultra-specific things like the coveted ingredient for locavore chefs, natural wine for young sommeliers, and the restaurant seats for those who want to be seen. We asked staffers, high-profile regulars and restaurant insiders for intel on the most coveted tables in NYC http://nym.ag/1MJezT8
  1. Estela
    The Table: No. 61, the one in the far back nook by the kitchen and the wines. It's where Barack and Michelle Obama sat when they dined here one year ago.
  2. The Spotted Pig
    The Table: B3, 1st floor booth between the kitchen and main window. "We also call it the BC booth," says owner Ken Friedman, "because it's where Bill Clinton sat in the 1st week we were open." He also names tables 50-54 in the "lounge" on the 2nd floor as status seats, and the not-so-secret 3rd floor private room is frequented by Beyoncé and Jay Z.
  3. Maison Premiere
    The Table: The heart-shaped booth in the rear left corner. "It's my all-time favorite table in New York City and a very coveted spot," says food writer and Maison regular Jordana Rothman.
  4. Carbone
    The Table: The far back corner booth. "It's that round table, tucked into the corner to the side of the kitchen doors," explains Kate Krader, Food & Wine's restaurant editor. "I feel like it's always a dolce vita situation there anyway, especially sitting in that corner."
  5. Nobu
    The Table: No. 44. It's held for co-founder Robert De Niro every day until his office calls and asks the restaurant to release it.
  6. The Polo Bar
    The Table: The side nooks off the center of the room. As one well-connected diner explains, there's a pecking order: "The middle banquettes go to notable guests, but not necessarily A-listers. A-listers sit in one of two side nooks, off the center of the room, where there are good views and a bit more privacy. The far ends of the room are Siberia."
  7. The Dutch
    The Table: The round booths in the back. "Beyond the fact that they're luxurious, they're intimate enough to have a proper conversation. Especially when the weather's nice and all the windows are open, the corner table (right corresponding to the corner of Prince and Sullivan streets) is pretty baller. One of our biggest VIPs doesn't sit anywhere else."
  8. The Breslin
    The Table: No. 40. "It's the booth closest to the kitchen, and it's hands down the VIP table in the house," says a former staffer from the restaurant. "It's the most private, particularly because you can close the curtains."
  9. Seamore's
    The Table: The two- to three-top nook, directly to the left of the entrance. "It's where regulars and VIPs can usually be found, particularly Chernow's wife and newborn baby," says a staffer.
  10. Minetta Tavern
    The Table: The booths along the back wall of the second dining room (the one connected to the kitchen). They make the bustling restaurant feel tiny and intimate, and it's not strange to see many, many celebrities perched there on any given night.
  11. Balthazar
    The Table: The three booths against the east wall (in the No. 60s). "These at Balthazar are a classic status perch," one regular insists. But two other industry insiders say that the power table is the center round baguette, which has a view of the entire room.
  12. Charlie Bird
    The Table: The two-top at the top of the stairs, to the right. "It's so fun and casual, and there's always a server running up or down the stairs to fill your wine glass and keep going," Krader says. "Such good energy sitting right there." Another regular says that this table is held every day for the guests of the owners.
  13. Má Pêche
    The Table: The booth by the kitchen, under Miguel Calderón's Bad Route painting. The tip comes courtesy of a former staffer.
  14. Buvette
    The Table: The communal table in the back room. "It's beneath the Warren Muller light sculpture, and it's really magical," Rothman advises.
  15. Keens
    The Table: The center table that faces the Alexander Pope oil painting of a tiger in the Lamb's Room. "With a mutton chop in one hand and filthy dirty martini in the other, that is the ultimate New York City luxury," says restaurant consultant Eva Karagiorgas.
  16. Barbuto
    The Table: The table in the dining room's southwest corner (where the two garage doors meet). "With its round shape in a sea of sharp corners, its perfect positioning, and a hint of privacy in the midst of all the action, it offers a view of everything — the open kitchen, the graceful flow of service, the high energy of the bar," says Jen Davidson, the restaurant's general manager.
  17. Daniel
    The Table: The "pool" tables in the middle of the room, a few steps down. "We get requests for them all the time," says one staffer.
  18. Jean Georges
    The Table: Nos. 3 and 5, the two tables in private nooks in the main dining room. (Interestingly, Lina Varriale, Jean-Georges Vongerichten's assistant, notes that there actually isn't a specific VIP table at ABC Kitchen.)
  19. More VIP tables: http://nym.ag/1MJezT8