Rao's Restaurant in NYC

Jan 6th, 2010, 07:51 AM
  #1  
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Rao's Restaurant in NYC

Has anyone ever been to Rao's Restaurant in NYC? It's incredibly diffult to get a reservation here! I've tried for over a month but, have only reached their answering machine which states they are fully booked for the remainder of 2009 and not taking reservations for 2010. It doesn't matter when I call, day or night, I have never reached a human. I've also left several messages on their machine and they apparently don't return calls. Just curious if anyone has been and if you have any pointers on how to get a reservation here?

Yes, I know there are a million great restaurants in New York. If it were me, I'd scrap the idea and move on however, I have a girlfriend who REALLY wants to eat here so I was trying to be accommodating.
ILUVPARIS is offline  
Jan 6th, 2010, 07:58 AM
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Your girlfriend will probably have to do without eating at Rao's. Here's a web site to help:

http://www.soyouwanna.com/site/syws/raos/raos.html
Barbara is online now  
Jan 6th, 2010, 07:58 AM
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Legend has it that tables are assigned for life, so you have to wait for someone to die--or know connected people who have those lifetime tables--to get in.
Rumor or not, it is just about that difficult.
nyer is offline  
Jan 6th, 2010, 08:12 AM
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You can also try the Raos in Vegas (on another trip of course), easier reservation system, supposedly the same food.
K_brklyn is offline  
Jan 6th, 2010, 08:14 AM
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The legend is fact. The owner was on a Bobby Flay show, and said that all the tables in the NY restaurant are reserved for their regular customers. So yes, people's tables are assigned for life.
orangetravelcat is offline  
Jan 6th, 2010, 08:44 AM
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I've eaten at the Rao's in Las Vegas three times. First time, it was very good. Second time, we had mixed results. Last time, it was just so-so. Don't know if the food is the same caliber as the Rao's in NY but it wasn't anything extraordinary. After the last time, I said that I think I'll give it a pass the next few times I'm in Las Vegas.
tom42 is online now  
Jan 6th, 2010, 09:03 AM
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We haven't been to Rao's in East Harlem in a number of years. Our connection was a late friend who was the owner, Frankie's, dentist. Our friend insisted we go.

It's actually a pretty mediocre red sauce place, ridiculously overpriced for food and a limited wine list, cash only, and probably more famous for the cachet of the difficulty of procuring a reservation than for anything else except possibly the self-important notables for whom tables are indeed reserved.

If you think "Jersey Shore" is stereotypical, it doesn't hold a candle to Rao's.
bspielman is offline  
Jan 6th, 2010, 09:03 AM
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Is this the place that packages their pasta sauce sold in my market? If so, I suggest you buy some and invite your friend over for dinner. LOL
Incidentally, I thought it was one of the most bland bottled sauces I've ever tried. I hope the real thing is WAY better.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Jan 6th, 2010, 09:09 AM
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Wow, I had no idea! So if I understand correctly, Joe Blow, or some celebrity, probably has a reservation every single Friday night at 7pm??? That's just crazy! I take it there are no walk-ins as well?

Barbara, thanks for the website. I had heard of their sauces but, I obviously didn't realize it would be easier to part the Nile than to get a reservation at this restaurant.

Thanks!
ILUVPARIS is offline  
Jan 6th, 2010, 09:44 AM
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Don't worry, it will not be the last time you disappoint your girl friend.

To me Rao's is like the Empire State building, if somebody wants to go, you go with them otherwise you are not missing anything. From what I have heard it is over priced and over rated. And it is part of character to think if the herd is headed in one direction go in the other. (Unless you see the fire.)
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2010, 10:08 AM
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Well, I LOVE the bottled pasta sauce, it's anything but bland, although some of the varieties are definitely better than others. Anywho, my only idea is to ask your hotel concierge to try to book you a table--if you're staying in a hotel in NYC, of course.
NewbE is offline  
Jan 6th, 2010, 10:09 AM
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"Is this the place that packages their pasta sauce sold in my market?"

Yes, they sell some. I think "Patsy's" is another NYC restaurant that does the same.

"Don't worry, it will not be the last time you disappoint your girl friend."

Very funny, aduchamp1.
vjpblovesitaly is offline  
Jan 6th, 2010, 05:29 PM
  #13  
mp
 
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A good friend (who has pretty good taste in food) is in the movie/tv business and was taken there by a regular 2 years ago - she said it was the most exceedingly mediocre place she had ever been to. Warm red sauce drowning over-cooked pasta.

it's the atmosphere, for people who want to live out their "goodfellas" fantasies.

One more thing I don't understand.
mp is offline  
Jan 6th, 2010, 05:35 PM
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I hear that Carmine's is much better and easier to get into.
ksucat is offline  
Jan 6th, 2010, 05:42 PM
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Carmine's serves family style.

There are many nice Italian restaurants in whcih the OP can charm his girl friend but Carmine's is not one of them.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2010, 06:50 PM
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it worked for us..we're from San Diego, we loved everything about it.

www.carminesnyc.com
ksucat is offline  
Jan 6th, 2010, 07:57 PM
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Raos has been around for ever. Yes its very hard..next to impossible to get a table there unless you are associated with one of the in clients.( Like having a Giraffe from Gino) But thats another story.. To the OPs post, I suggest you get a jar of Raos' Vodka Sauce and cook some prosciutto and arugula with garlic and add it to the existing jar of sauce. Get a bottle of Brunello and eat on the rooftop of a manhattan building or at home... The magic of the place lies in the dificulty of procuring a table.... See you there Cheers
nantkt_fog is offline  
Jan 6th, 2010, 10:44 PM
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it worked for us..we're from San Diego, we loved everything about it.

I am sure you did. Did you eat at other Italian restaurants during your stay?

To the Original Poster:

Tell Rao's that you want Bo Dietl's table. And if he is not there and does not have his gun, you will be just fine.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2010, 11:01 PM
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Lest someone thinks that I was serious about Bo Dietl's table, it is a joke. I have seen to many people take thngs literally and seriously on these boards.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Jan 7th, 2010, 04:55 AM
  #20  
 
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I agree with NewBe that their jarred sauce is pretty good, but it ought to be for $9+.
DancingBearMD is offline  

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