Rao's may be New York's toughest reservation, but "do not enter" applies to the adjoining street, not necessarily the restaurant. "You want, you can have a look around, just no pictures," said the man who stepped out the door one afternoon as I lingered on the corner. (Their default dry pasta: DeCecco.)
The older gentleman who appeared a few minutes later noted, as does the Rao's website, that even without a reservation, you can have a drink at the bar. "You won't eat, though," he cautioned.
455 West 114th St. (at Pleasant Ave.)
Monday to Friday, dinner only