This many people love you.Momofuku: Bumblebee Studios; Babbo photo courtesy Babbo.
So how about suggesting places to go on Valentine’s Day when you’re alone and don’t have a valentine?
It just so happens that the Underground Gourmet recommended a “breakup burger” yesterday. But if you’re not simply looking to drown your sorrows in a “ripe slab of Limburger cheese and a pile of chopped raw onion,” may we suggest the following candidates, each perfect, in different ways, for solo dining.
Buffet eating, that wanton, wholesale stuffing of one’s face, is embarrassing — if you’re with someone else. And unless you live here in Flushing, you’re likely safe from being spotted by acquaintances at East Buffet — competitive eater Eric “Badlands” Booker used to train here with a postal scale.
The bar at Babbo and the counter at Momofuku provide the perfect excuse for going solo — it’s tough to find two seats next to each other. If you’d rather not be alone, feel free to strike up a conversation with your neighbor.
We can think of no restaurant less interested in personal intimacy than Sushi Yasuda. The room is a stark temple of fish-eating; Chef Yasuda may chat briefly with his customers, but they perch at his omakase bar to experience eight kinds of tuna, not to get warm and fuzzy.
A general note: When eating alone, remember that you have the opportunity to fully focus on your food. Samuel Johnson, one of the great trenchermen of history, was famous for the total attention he summoned at meals. “When at table,” his biographer James Boswell relates, “he was totally absorbed in the business of the moment; his looks seemed riveted to his plate … till he had satisfied his appetite, which was so fierce, and indulged with such ferocity, that while in the act of eating, the veins of his forehead swelled, and generally a strong perspiration was visible.” Does that sound like a man sad to not have a valentine?