Welcome to The Gatekeepers, a monthly feature in which Eater roams the city meeting the fine ladies and gentlemen that stand between you and some of your favorite tough-to-get tables.
Elizabeth Daniels 11/11
ink. is the hotly anticipated solo restaurant from Top Chef season six winner Michael Voltaggio. Anyone who has dined at The Langham pre-renovation would have sampled Voltaggio's food in The Dining Room (he was there until July 2010), and he carried his style of cuisine, described as "Modern Los Angeles," over to ink. After many many many delays, the restaurant finally debuted in September, and once an online resy system went live, tables for one month out were snapped up in seconds. This is, arguably, the toughest seat to score in Los Angeles at the moment. So, it's only fitting to talk to GM Josh Goldman about snagging a seat, excited guests, and Volt's star power.
It's 8 PM on a Saturday night. What's the wait for a table? Hopefully none. We are fortunate enough to be booked a month in advance and all of our tables are reserved for reservations. However, the bar and the Omakase counter are first come, first serve for walk-ins.
Is there anything I can do to make my wait shorter? For tables, we only seat complete parties so if everyone is here on time and all together we should be able to seat you right away. For walk-ins, the closer you come to 6PM (when we open), the better your chances are of getting a seat at the bar or the counter for dinner.
Tell us about your favorite customers. We cannot do what we love to do for a living if no one comes into see us, so I love all of our guests. But my favorite guests are those who have waited a month or more to get in and are just as excited on the day of their reservation as the day they booked it. It still humbles and amazes me every time.
How do you deal with a VIP when there are no tables left to give? Everyone is a VIP in LA so if someone walks in, we have 10 seats at the bar, and until Omakase opens up after the New Year, we have eight seats at the counter that we reserve for walk-ins as well.
What's the most outrageous request from a customer that you've accommodated? Allowing a guest to watch chef on a mobile media device while eating dinner and staring at him.
What's your most important gatekeeper tool? My hostesses, Diana and Liz. Without them at the door I couldn't do my job!
Where are you eating when you're not here? Animal, Son of a Gun, Umami Burger, brunch at Cheebo, Red Medicine.
·All Gatekeeper Coverage [~ELA~]