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Now that the election is over and I’ve overdosed on politics and MSNBC, I can go back to being obsessed with the power brokers in my more immediate world—New York City restaurants. Last night, all the stars aligned and I got to hang out with two of the most powerful—Ben Leventhal and Lockhart Steele, who you'll know as the editor-in-chiefs of Eater. Walk with those two and doors fly open—there’s no VIP table you won’t sit at, starting at Charles the hyper-hot, no-phone spot in the West Village. You’ll see the great food writer Alan Richman and the great Chowhounder Steven Shaw (author of the terrific, just-out Asian Dining Rules) as you’re shown to the back room. You’ll have a ridiculously fun time while the dressed-up owners hang on every bite the pair take. (A wave of Mr. Leventhal’s finger will bring a second burger to the table. These burgers, by the way, allegedly beat out Market Table’s in an epic Burger Bloodbath in the Hamptons this summer.)
Then you’ll cruise over to Craftsteak, where you’ll get to watch the premiere of Top Chef, NYC, with the awesome Tom Colicchio, the gorgeous Gail Simmons, Bravo’s adorable Andy Cohen and a table full of their friends. You’ll eat more burgers and hear hilarious stories about the Foo Fighters on the upcoming Thanksgiving episode. Then you’ll walk next door to the John Dory, the not-yet-open spot from the Spotted Pig’s April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman, the queen and king of Manhattan restaurants these days. (Opening date is TBD. Anyone with connections at Con Edison should please be in touch with Mr. Friedman.) You’ll discuss setting up a 24-hour John Dory Eater cam with a view of the humongous fish tank, while Friedman pours you rivers of Bastianich wine. You’ll fall in love with the all-fish decor (Jamie Oliver described the design as so wrong, its right, and said, “It’s an oyster bar from Vegas, baby!”).
And then you’ll go home way too late, wishing you hadn’t promised to meet Mr. Leventhal and Mr. Steele at 8 a.m. for the soft opening of Momofuku Milk Bar. But you know it's the surest way to the VIP table.