The Chef's Table at Spice Market. Right: Renee Hong, single diner
Spicy Thai Fried Chicken Wings
I was a little nervous going into Spice Market on 13th Street and 9th Avenue, because the restaurant was voted the Best Hot Date award in 2004 form the Best of New York Awards. Also, the reviews I read on Yelp, Chowhound, New York Magazine and Menupages rated it as a romantic date spot. I decided to get over my fear and go anyways because I wanted to see what it was like to go to a trendy meatpacking restaurant as a solo diner.
I arrived at 7:15 for a 7:45 p.m. reservation. The hostesses did not give me much attitude for my early arrival although they did scan me up and down to see what I was wearing. I guess that's expected of a trendy restaurant in the Meatpacking district.
I was seated at the “chefs table,” or a long bar that seated around ten people facing the kitchen. My waitress explained that was the spot for all their single diners because the kitchen helped to keep them entertained. The space was cozy and nice because I had my own little corner and did not have to bump elbows with other diners.
I ordered the spicy thai fried chicken wings served with sliced mango and mint and the nonya seafood laksa, a coconut noodle soup dish with gulf shrimp and scallop. The chef brought the plate directly from the fryer to my table!
Two other single diners were sitting at the bar.
Here is what they said:
Renee Hong, 30, retail associate from Canada.
Me: What do you like most about eating alone?
Hong: I like not being bothered by people when I am eating.
Me: Haha…opps, sorry for interrupting you.
Hong: It’s not a problem. I like your blog idea. I guess what I mean is, I’m just not a fan of talking when I’m eating. I like to really enjoy the food.
Hong ordered the lobster roll with dill and sriracha sauce and shrimp dumplings with shiitake and dill in a fragrant lemongrass soup. She said she eats out alone more than she eats with other people.
Barry Horne, 44, lawyer in NYC for business from Canada. (Horne and Hong have no relations).
Me: So what brings you here tonight. Why are you eating along?
Horne: Eating alone is just a different experience. I don’t really like it but I don’t mind doing it. (He had a book with him and was reading when I approached him).
Me: Do you do this often?
Horne: No, only when I have to for work. I prefer eating with friends.
Side note: After my interview with both single diners, Horne approached Hong and they started a conversation. See? Eating alone could lead to a possible romance!