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Leland Eating and Drinking House
Photograph: Courtesy Belathée Photography

The best last-minute reservations you can get this Labor Day weekend

Kiss the summer goodbye at some of New York's restaurants

Amber Sutherland-Namako
Written by
Amber Sutherland-Namako
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Like it or not—summer is nearing its end. It’s only a matter of time before your local Duane Reade starts decking its aisles with candy canes. 

Labor Day weekend is a more abstract finish line, the first Monday in September signaling autumnal new beginnings like fall restaurant openings, the return of Broadway and getting back to school in theory and in practice. It is also the last summer weekend when the city typically empties out, leaving a few more restaurant reservations than normal.

This Labor Day weekend, we aren’t quite seeing the glut of availability we could count on almost every year prior to last, but you can still squeak into some excellent new and classic NYC restaurants

Tables for two were available at press time, and if they run out, there’s always Thanksgiving weekend.

  • Restaurants
  • Williamsburg

This is the perfect example of how summer holidays make NYC a little easier to navigate for those of us who stay in town. Just two weekends ago we were trying to book a table at Bar Blondeau, a new small plates destination in the Wythe Hotel from the Le Crocodile team, and there wasn’t anything until late. Get in now if you’ve had your eye on the place.

Book here for primetime reservations all weekend long.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Financial District

Availability in Crown Shy’s elegant dining room is infrequent, so getting reservations here often feels like a favor. Order the gruyere fritters to share and the roasted short rib just for yourself. And if you love it as much as we do you might want to check out Saga, its super-luxe companion restaurant a few dozen stories upstairs. 

Book here for reservations at 9:15pm on Monday.

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  • Restaurants
  • Midtown East

Home to the most exciting new appetizer in NYC, which you get to shatter with a hammer at the table, Little Mad’s open kitchen and industrial-chic dining room are oodles of fun. In addition to that beef tartare and its breakable chip for scooping, it also has soft shell crab, Shin Ramyun-inspired crispy duck noodles with umami foam. See, what’s more fun than foam?! 

Book here for primetime reservations Friday and Saturday.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Upper East Side
  • price 4 of 4

The new, outdoor-only annex of Sushi Noz provides an excellent opportunity to sample some of the original’s exquisite fish at a $75 prix-fixe; hundreds of dollars less than the top tier inside. You can also consider it a primer if you're considering shelling out for its new downtown expansion when it opens this fall.

Book here for reservations at 7pm on Sunday

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  • Restaurants
  • West Village

Woo, woo, woo, imagine you, wearing shades indoors like some kinda TikTok star. Pastis, that one-time celebrity magnet that first opened in the Meatpacking District in 1999 before moving a whole half block away twenty years later, was almost impossible to get into in either iteration, but now you can see what all the fuss was about. You’ll look cool in your sunglasses sipping dry white wine and eating frites on the patio, too.

Book here for reservations at 9:45pm on Sunday.

  • Restaurants
  • Burmese
  • Crown Heights

A pop-up turned casually beautiful brick and mortar restaurant, Rangoon made our list of the best restaurant openings of 2020. Its menu includes papaya and shrimp salad, cold tamarind noodles, and braised pork in banana leaves. 

Book here for primetime reservations all weekend long. 

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