The first time we dropped in on a batch of new restaurants to take head counts, we hit the East Side. Then we threw it over to the West Side. Last Friday we took it uptown to see whats doing above 42nd Street. It wasnt easy hitting half a dozen spots between the hours of 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., but luckily we were navigating familiar territory Mermaid Inn? Magnolia Bakery? Blue Ribbon Sushi? Zak Pelaccios new spot? Its like we never left downtown.
Bar Boulud: 24 at the bar, 1 empty; 79 at tables, 3 empties; 7 at wine-tasting table, 8 empties.
Blue Ribbon Sushi: 17 at bar, no empties; 59 at tables, 4 empties.
Buceo 95: 29 at tables, 5 empties; 11 at the bar, no empties.
Chop Suey: 30 diners, 29 empties.
Dovetail: 48 upstairs diners, 10 empty; downstairs dining room (20 seats) empty.
Magnolia Bakery: 21 people in line.
Mermaid Inn: 14 at the bar, no empties; 30 at tables, 2 empties.