Get cozy at these tiny restaurants

At Prune, the equation is simple: 14 tables, 14 people on the waitstaff.

New Yorkers are used to jamming into small spaces. Dining out is no different, where it’s imperative to ignore your neighbors’ impending breakup or new job details while sitting shoulder-to-shoulder. But just because a restaurant is small doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with the place. We’ve uncovered some eateries with heaps of enticing dishes per square foot.

Sel et Gras
131 Seventh Ave. South
At just 224 square feet, this West Village newcomer is taking a cue from Napoleon. General Manager Matthieu Andre has worked in larger restaurants but says this tiny corner of the city is just right: “Smaller is better because it’s easier to manage. You can oversee the whole restaurant just by moving your head from left to right!”

Chez Sardine
183 W. 10th St.
Sure, the name is appropriate for an eensy little restaurant. But at Chez Sardine, the clean, warm decor and hearty menu invoke an intimate family meal — not a crowded New York nosh. The restaurant group Little Wisco, of Joseph Leonard, Jeffrey’s Grocery and Fedora, is filling tables with hearty dishes that are sure to satisfy, like beef cheek curry and smoked cheddar grilled cheese with foie gras.

54 East 1st St.
The mirrors on the wall aren’t tricking anyone — Prune is a tiny place. But the robust menu and creative flair of chef/owner Gabrielle Hamilton has won some hefty awards, including the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef of 2011.

Dishes like the periwinkles in chorizo broth and the spat-cooked pigeon with warm parsley vinaigrette and liver toast certainly show that there is an extra dose of imagination coming to each tiny, two-person table.


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