In case $250 for dinner (excluding tax, tip, and drinks) is chump change for you, Minibar is now offering a limited number of relatively last minute reservations for an additional $50 fee. The avant-garde José Andrés restaurant is using Table 8, a San Francisco-based website and app that launched in D.C. in January. The service allows diners to pay extra for reservations at popular restaurants last minute and during peak times.
Other Andrés restaurants like Jaleo, Oyamel, and Zaytinya already use Table 8, along with high-end local restaurants like Estadio, Del Campo, Fiola Mare, Iron Gate, and Kapnos. Reservations through Table 8 are free if the restaurants have space. If they're booked up, tables for two command generally command a $20 fee. For Minibar, it's $50. (The restaurants and Table 8 split the fee.) As of this posting, there's only one table available at 6 p.m. on April 1.
Minibar has long been known as one of the toughest reservations in town. The 12-seat restaurant accepts reservations via email on a seasonal basis every three months. New slots open up on the first of March, June, September, and December, and typically book up fast.
Table 8 has been somewhat controversial. While its proponents argue it's no different than Uber surge pricing, others find the system somewhat smarmy. Y&H devoted an entire column to this topic, which you can read here.
Photo courtesy Minibar