Restaurant meals are supposed to be taken in the convivial company of one's invited guests. They're designed to be elegant microcosms of the at-home dining experience, where one chooses with whom to break bread. I applaud the current egalitarian impulse that seats strangers together at large tables, but that doesn't mean I like the forced communion it encourages. I prefer my tables widely spaced enough so that any intimacies I utter are just that—intimate. Yet submit I must, so a recent evening found me listening to a my-ailment-can-top-yours riff that almost put me off my feed at a new eatery on Brooklyn's Fifth Avenue strip—a place where the feed is fine indeed and I didn't want... More >>>