Illustration by Anika Orrock

Love Letters

There’s No Place Like a Restaurant on a Friday Night

By

The Friday night vibe at a great restaurant is the best vibe there is. I can hardly wait to have it back.


It’s 6:30 p.m. and you’re closing your laptop. You’re getting your things. Freshening up. Grabbing your phone to shoot off a text. On my way, see you soon! It’s Friday night.

You have a reservation at that brasserie that opened a few months ago. Everyone’s been talking about the warm glow, the duck-frites. Reviews are beginning to hit the stands. Weeks ago, you stayed up until midnight on a Tuesday to secure a prime time four-top. As you step out onto the sidewalk, you feel your shoulders loosen down your back. You wonder if you’ll start with a cocktail or stick to wine. And soon enough, you’ve arrived.

The host smiles, finds your name in the book. The room is buzzing. A whiff of buttery roast chicken passes under your nose. You spot one of your dining mates at the bar but wait, that must be the Paris-Brest, bursting with bright-green filling, a reminder to save room for dessert.

“Your table is ready. Right this way.”

***

Where should we eat tonight?

A text from your partner lights up your phone.

You respond: Hmm, what are you in the mood for? I could go for pasta… You send another: Or a burger. Something really good — it’s Friday. 

I’d do Hart’s…

Should we try to get bar seats? I can put our name down when I get off the train

Sounds great

They said 45 minutes to an hour. Does that work?

Perf. I’ll be home in 15.

A little bit later, your back pocket buzzes:

We have a table finishing up at Hart’s. Please reply YES if you’d still like to dine. We will hold the table for 10 minutes.

YES

“Our table is ready!” you announce, scrambling to tie your shoelaces as your partner grabs a jacket.

Garlicky olive oil sizzles. Sweet Spanish onions sweat. Harissa. Yogurt. Za’atar. Bread crisps up, absorbs. Wine-drenched clams sing.

“Hello, how’s it going? Can I get you anything to drink?” the bartender says as they slide two paper menus down in front of you.

“I’ll have a Mosca de la Fruta,” your partner says, then looks your way.

***

You have friends in town and the plan is to meet for beers at your go-to dive, then get a bite to eat. Where, though? Pizza, you think. Definitely pizza.

So you make a pitstop on the way to the bar and ask for a table of six, and two hours later they’re telling you the square pie will take a little longer but that’s fine. It’s worth it. You know this.

“This salad is really good,” a friend says. You nod in agreement with a mouthful of little gems.

“Should we get a second bottle?” says another, pouring the last of the wine into your glass.

“For sure,” you say, as you swallow your bite of salad. “It’s Friday.”

***

By the time the credits roll, it’s 9 p.m. The movie is over, and dinner is on your mind. You have options: Wait times have dwindled, tables are opening up.

You can have fiery som tum salad and creamy khao soi.

Wonton soup and Peking duck.

Tostadas and mole.

You try to nail down your specific craving as you exit the dark theater, ready to embark on the weekend, buoyed by excellent food and a room full of strangers. Because if there’s anything you know to be true, it’s that the best place to be on a Friday night is a restaurant.

Emily Wilson is a New York writer. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Follow Resy, too. 

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