2005_03_food_no-toilet.JPGYou know what we're talking about. You're having a perfectly lovely meal in a perfectly lovely restaurant and then nature calls. You walk down the steep, poorly lit staircase, hoping for the best, turn the knob on the bathroom door and...

This is New York. It's a coin toss every time you open a restaurant's bathroom door. Will it be an über-designed unisex with stalls made of glass that magically frost up when you sit on the commode? Or, will it be a nasty pit with plumbing from the Nixon-era, seriously in need of disinfectant?

The latter scenario rears its ugly "head" more often then one might imagine - even in some of the city's most charming and atmospheric restaurants. Case in point, the adorable and venerable Belgian spot Cafe de Bruxelles. Upstairs an enchanting West Village hideaway, complete with lacy curtains and irresistable Moules et Frites. Downstairs - one of New York's nastiest restrooms await. Same goes for the recently refurbished Jackson Diner in Jackson Heights. The owners turned the vaulting dining room into a clean, crisp, modern environment - but the bathroom is anything but.

Heck, even one of the city's most lauded restauranteurs, Mario Batali, has fallen short with his super-cramped, worn-out restrooms at Otto. One recent female visitor audibly complained that the stalls were too small to accomodate a "Kung Fu" foot flush that was deemed necessary due to the room's lack of cleanliness.

Gothmist won't give up great food, service or atmosphere in the name of a "Royal Flush," but a class-act, clean commode should really be a must in any fine dining establishment. But, until that's the case across all five boroughs, we too will continue to make our way down the steep staircase, turn the knob on the bathroom door and hope for the best.