Prune has one table in the front of the room that's set aside for walk-ins. Show up when the dinner service starts, and its yours for the taking. The time to go to Locanda Verde is when it rains - though the preservationist's job is to say "we're booked,"the restaurant is anything but during inclement weather. In the case of the equally busy The Dutch, the secret is to go post 11 PM for their late-night hours. Empellon Cocina, a sure-to-be challenging reservation once the word gets out about the quality of Stupak's cuisine, has a large bar and pub-height tables set aside for passerbys.
Of course, even the best laid plans can go awry, as we found when we went to ABC Kitchen the other night at a very early hour, sure we'd get one of the tables in the front set aside for walk-ins. Nope. Even though we were there promptly at 6, the tables were full, and a bunch of surly folks who had the same idea that we did stood around and watched the happy walk-ins with daggers in their eyes.