It’s a truism of the restaurant business that you can tell a lot about a place by what it feeds its staff. The so-called “family meal” can be as good as anything on the menu, or industrial grub worthy of a city lockup. City magazine looks at the staff meals at Per Se (fried chicken, potato salad, and coleslaw), Gramercy Tavern (coq au vin and strawberry shortcake, among eight other courses), Allen & Delancey (curried lamb shoulder with couscous), and Chanterelle (fried catfish), among others. Even the staff meals at Per Se come off as a little buttoned-up, but reading about the friendly atmosphere and copious amounts of self-serve feeding at Centovini or Chanterelle gives you some idea of why people like working in the business, despite its infamously low pay and horrific working conditions.
The front of the house chows down at Buddakan.