Lunch at Raclette NYC

From the moment I saw this video, my destiny was made:

It was a normal day by any other means. I was just scrolling through facebook when melty cheese caught my eye. How could I resist not taking a peak? And with a trip to NYC in my future, I made sure to jot down the name of the restaurant and research how to make reservations.

When Justin and I travel, we have a love/hate relationship with reservations. Reservations require you to be at a certain place at a certain time which really limits spontaneity. And if we're going to be totally forthright here, spontaneity is one of the reasons I fell in love with my husband in the first place. When you stick to too strict of a schedule, you often miss out on little things or simply being surprised by what you come across. You prevent yourself from having time to do anything else.

And that sucks.

So when we got to NYC, we had no reservations for this restaurant and we just wandered up to it at 10pm at night. Would they seat us?

Answer: no.

Not even close.

As it turns out, there is no spontaneity allowed with Raclette NYC. You either have reservations or you don't. And there's a good reason for that! Inside the little hole in the wall, you will find exactly six tables. No more, no less. And there is no room for any more tables. That is it. Each table backs up right next to another, and to be totally truthful, they are probably pretty lucky that all six tables actually fit into such a tight space!

So, Justin and I made a pact. We had a bit of free time the next day, and we decided to use the Pretty App to meander our way slowly from Chinatown to this restaurant. Along the way we discovered pretty parks, strong willed card playing Asian women, beautiful street art, and even the Low Line (which is totally a thing?!). Taking this long, winding walk totally revitalized my love for the city which had been waning ever since my last trip to Paris. (The two cities are completely alike and completely different at the same time. It all comes down to what you want and expect from a city.)

We arrived at Raclette NYC an hour early, so we went across the street for a cup of coffee and a macaron. It wasn't that good, so I won't recommend the place we went. :-/

Finally, about 15 minutes before the doors were set to open, I convinced Justin to return to the restaurant and occupy the bench just outside of it. I was determined to be the first in line. It was raclette cheese … or die. ;)

As we sat on the bench waiting, we heard people as they walked by: "That's that cheese place from the internet!" "Mmmm cheese!" :) All of the women trying to drag their boyfriends/husbands in. A couple of the times we had to remind people that the restaurant wasn't actually open yet. Oh the sad looks we received! :)

Eventually some New Jerseyites came to join us in line. :) We got to talking and made fast friends. They recommended some awesome places to visit in NYC and kept us up to date with the local news: some of which included a guy losing his leg after stepping on a firework at Central Park! *eek!* Even when the restaurant opened and seated us, we kept talking with our new friends. They watched and snapped pictures as our order arrived, and we watched and snapped pictures when their order arrived. :)

But I digress.

At noon sharp, someone emerged from Raclette NYC with a list in hand. Looking at the line, she asked if there was anyone with reservations. A few Asian women who had wandered up behind us broke out of line and gave her their name. They were seated first.

Then came mine and Justin's turn! Because we were the first in line, she positioned us at the first table right up next to the window where we could people watch. Our table was the only table next to a window, so we felt lucky. :)

While there were plenty of cheeses and other European-style meals to choose from, my husband ordered the Savoyarde (or normal/Swiss/French style with potatoes, bread, and salad) and I ordered the Méditerranée (Italian/Greek style? Do those countries even have raclette? tomatoes, asparagus, salad, and bread). At $14/$15 a plate, we felt the prices were very reasonable; raclette cheese in the US can be expensive. Even though the food we ordered was fairly simple to make, it still took a bit of time for our orders to emerge from the kitchen. There are very few raclette irons in the kitchen and the chefs/servers need to make sure the cheese (which is served from a half wheel, just like in the video) is melty enough to be scraped over your entree. And, just in case you are a bit saddened by the paltry amount of cheese scraped onto your food during the first go-round, be aware that the server (once everyone in the dining area has been served) will return with a second helping of cheese! :) Yum! (And no, you can never have too much cheese!)

Even though our experience at Raclette NYC was phenomenal, I do have to say that, despite the location's smallness, expect French style service. By which I mean: plan on being ignored. The servers will come to you when they come to you. Instead, do yourself a favor and make friends with the friendly New Jerseyites sitting beside you. :) That way when you run out of water (which is served from fancy glass milk bottles), your neighbors will share. :)

Raclette NYC is definitely a restaurant worthy of being on your bucket list. The food is amazing and the cozy atmosphere is unlike any other… You truly feel like you are experiencing Paris in the states. And you come away from the meal more full than you could ever imagine!

Have you ever had raclette cheese? Were you one of the millions of viewers who saw the video about this restaurant on facebook? Is Raclette NYC on your bucket list?

***Linking up with Lauren on Location, Marcella from What a Wonderful World, and The Sunny Side of This

* I'm participating in Susannah Conway's August Break. Today's post was written with the word "midday" in mind. :)

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