As a self-respecting woman — or, for that matter, a New Yorker (one who, naturally, is trying to stand her fiscal ground in these tough economic times) — I’m the first to say that eating disorders are unattractive on a physical, medical, and emotional level. However: this is The Big City, sweetie, and sometimes a girl’s got to stop, look around at all the gorgeous people surrounding her, and put down the pomme-frites, possibly followed by a pull-the-trigger trip to the commode. That being said, everyone loves going out to dinner here, and does it often. It’s an unavoidable part of our culture, and a way for us to leave behind the nightmares of work and stress in place of good conversation, good friends, and a stomach/liver satisfied with food/tasty libations (the ones we keep down). So here’s a time-tested list of ten places where I’ve had a thrill without eating anything, where Shaq-sized Amazon beauties are found sipping glasses of champagne or drowning their hunger with empty vodka calories.
10. Indochine (NoHo) – Patrons match the aesthetically pleasing decor — Asian, dark, slimming — at this downtown haven for uptown clientele. Rexos flock to find future sugar daddies to provide their size-0 Chanel skirt suits and whisk them away from the degradation of downtown to the lock-jawed, botoxed Upper East Side.
9. Pastis (Meatpacking District) – While I’ve personally succumbed to the temptation of Keith McNally’s croque monsieur, this place is always filled — if not synonymous — with fellow non-eaters sipping French reds over conversations about what faaaabulous Carrie Bradshaw-as-criterion lives they lead (it’s that over, but people still flock there). When it’s nice outside, the place goes al fresco, with outdoor seating right on the sidewalk for you to bring your teacup kickdog with you (he’s rexo too). This is great for sitting and surveying the countless models strutting up and down lower Ninth Avenue, like watching the giraffes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. But with booze.
8. Tao (Midtown) – I still get mass text messages inviting me once a week for “model dinner” here. Seriously. The only time I went, the table was covered with a delectable feast for the entirety of the night. Who dared touch the fruit from the tree of life/Asian fusion from the kitchen cooked by unfairly underpaid immigrant Latinos? No one, except for Marcus Schenkenberg, who would take a bite after each of us ignored his blatant attempts to get us into bed. Sorry Marcus, but at least you had a full stomach. We didn’t have to try to puke at that.
7. Bagatelle (Meatpacking District) – The Kiss & Fly crew love beautiful girls — I mean, who doesn’t — but the ‘Bag’s a solid sure shot for finding exceptionally hot thinnifers at the pomade-slick bistro. Opt for looking at the cocktail menu. No need to suffer through reading what they make in the kitchen — too many calories (and words, for you newly imported Eastern European IMG signees).
6. Merkato 55 (Meatpacking District) – This MePa hotspot is known for its beautiful crowds and African dining. This is perfect for the aspiring model-actress, because Africa’s a starving nation, and you’re an aspiring member of a starving nation, albeit, a different, more blinged-out one. Merkato’s awesome for getting together with friends — if you can get a table — talking shit on the New York’s Eurocentric socialite set (and their shipping magnate heir boyfriends, who you’re sleeping with), and watching the Beautiful People pass you by. Quick! Run downstairs to Bijoux! Hide and cry your Oliver Twist-like hunger out in a dark, low-ceilinged corner! Emerge upstairs for Saturday Brunch Parties, where you can find the dumbest fat wallets in the city (anyone who buys a magnum at 2 p.m. just so they can watch sparklers shoot out of it? Easy mark.).
5. Upstairs at Cipriani (SoHo) – The infamous Bellinis flow freely here, yielding drunken, juiced-up models ready and eager for a good time. Upstairs is a lounge area fully equipped with all necessities — bar, bathroom, quality paper towels. It’s dangerous to go here on a totally empty stomach, though: those stairs can be daunting, so make sure to eat some wet saltines before climbing them.
4. The Waverly Inn (West Village) – The TMZ-flanked spot known for its mysterious celebrity draw and exclusivity is a home away from home to many far-from-home models and their faux followers: agents, producers, casting directors, and whoever else couldn’t get in on the merits of their “normal” status. That’s what you get for not having a translucent body. But the Waverly has actual celebrities, and thus, is high-class. You have to at least appear like you’re eating something. Get the salad. It’s probably the only thing you can afford anyways.
3. Butter (NoHo) – Conveniently located across the street from Indochine, Butter’s been around for a while and has perfected its magnetic draw for young, beautiful, and fake-ID carrying NYU coeds. Being thin is a necessity for gratis entrance gratis; the irony that the place is named “Butter” often escapes its Olsen Twin-aping crowds. However, I’m sure if you have enough cash (or bravado), the chef will be ecstatic to have you taste their less-prepared dishes that many members of Butter’s clientele resist ordering. Mainly dessert.
2. The Stanton Social (Lower East Side) – I celebrated my birthday here two years ago, and it still is one of the best times I’ve had. The plates are small and made to share, and because my roommate Sean was sitting next to me, I hardly even saw the food — it went directly into his stomach. Boys like to eat! Seriously, though, the space is great for a wild night out. Upstairs is an upbeat and fun lounge area, chock-full of good memories. It was here that my friend and I — we look nothing alike — made a very drunk Adrien Grenier feel like a jackass for calling us twins and demanding a threesome. We will not “hug it out,” bitch.
1. Norwood (West Village) – Little brother to Soho House serves powerful men about town, their leading ladies of the week, and the neurosis that fall between his deep-seated self-consciousness and her existential pain (which is besides that of her digestive system, often conveniently soaked in saline water and diahrretics). Last time I went here, I met an agent ready and willing to supply the “needs” to “quench my thirst.” I’m not sure if he was talking about a signing, a drink, or some other sleazy agent euphemism I don’t really want to know about. He did not however, offer me any food. Maybe he was hinting that I didn’t really need any. It might hurt, but at least it’s honest.