Enter through the door to Jewel Bako, suck in your stomach, and turn to the right. From here, you will make your way through the slender passageway, past the sushi-standout’s pretty little duo of dining areas, and into the place that chef Fabio Trabocchi of Fiamma says is one of his favorite spots to dine solo.
True enough, Degustation mirrors that great New York vibe of being completely surrounded by people and yet maintaining the idea that you are, if you want to be, completely alone. Or not.
At the low, wooden counter lined with stainless, low-back chairs you can easily get chummy with your neighbor or cozy with your date (we like to call it pleasant claustrophobia), while the sure-handed crew of chefs turn out tiny feats of tapas magic, like crispy, browned potatoes formed into a square pocket and filled with a soft-boiled quail egg that bursts bright-yellow onto your plate. Topped with a pickled Fresno chili, it’s a savory, buttery, briny, spicy combo that makes you see why many of NYC chefs love to belly up to the bar for a little culinary adventure.