One of the most pleasant and overall satisfying meals I've had all year was a two-hour affair on a backless stool inside tourist-clogged Chelsea Market. Okay, if you enter the restaurant directly on 15th Street you can skip most of the touristy part, but still, in order to pull off such a memorable meal in such an unpromising space you have to 1) serve lots of terrific food at a reasonable price and 2) make us all feel like we're doing something special. Like we're the lucky ones.
Which is why, even though it seems slightly absurd to commit to a Christmas and/or Hanukkah-season dinner on the morning after Halloween, I urge you to grab December dinner tickets when they go on sale tomorrow morning (November 1st). The last two blocks of seats—meals are $45 each, service included, alcohol extra—have been snatched up quickly, and given how good it is, the Dizengoff dinner is definitely not going to get less popular anytime soon.
I was fortunate to get a ticket for chef Emily Seaman's dinner at Dizengoff way back in September, on only the second night of service, but I still think about that five-dish Salatim course (especially the remarkable green Pickled Persian Eggplant), and the surprise snack of crackling fried fava beans loaded with garlic, and the wonderfully smooth and rich hummus with the never-ending supply of hot pita, baked, oiled and seasoned seconds before you put it in your mouth.
The menu changes, so you might not get Seaman's comically large and seriously rich and tender Braised Lamb Shank, but the Yemenite Beef Stew I've seen on social media looks equally perfect for a December dinner. You will be exceedingly full by the time dessert arrives, but if whatever is placed before you is even half as good the Turkish Coffee Custard Seaman served me, you will have to make room somehow.
Dizengoff is located at 75 9th Avenue within Chelsea Market, but there's a door on 15th Street through which you can step right into the place. Unless there's an expansion in December, dinners are served on Thursday and Friday nights, one seating, promptly at 7:30. Tickets are $45, service included, paid in advance. You can always get the regular Dizengoff menu of hummus and salatim daily starting at 10 a.m. (646-833-7097; website)