Gotta go when you’re eating out? You’ll go, and go and go.
When nature calls, toilets require an Outward Bound trek at lots of restaurants around town.
Take the Fulton, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s brand-new, delightful indoor-outdoor seafood brasserie on Pier 17. It challenges notoriously toilet-remote Augustine for the city’s “Hold It in Until You Burst” title.
The restrooms are at the far end of a “labyrinth,” as my co-worker texted me the other night. She likened the experience to “Sleep No More,” the immersive theatrical event where guests navigate a haunted-house-ish maze among strangers.
She wasn’t overdramatizing. Just hours earlier, I had frantically zigged and zagged all over Fulton’s sprawling, second-floor dining room searching for the toilets — and barely hit pay dirt with 0:00 left on the clock. Ground-floor customers face a fun, uphill climb as well.
Loo-dicrous toilet treks became common as new eateries opened in old buildings that were converted to hotels and other locations that weren’t built with instant relief in mind.
Every restaurant-goer seems to have a tale of elimination-odyssey dread. The tight, circular staircase that leads to upstairs toilets at Raoul’s “isn’t easy after a few drinks,” tweeted @KSquiresNYC in response to our informal survey.
Finding relief at Augustine in the Beekman hotel downtown is “like playing a game of Clue,” tweeted @richantoniello. Customers first exit the Parisian-style bistro through a closed door to the lobby. They maneuver, this way and that, through the flirting-heaven Temple Court atrium bar to stairs or elevators that lead to the basement, where another circuitous path finally leads to the goal line.
It’s just as tedious but much less sexy at the Crosby Street hotel restaurant. A guest must not only go downstairs, but also pass through five windowless, closed doors — one for each dull dish three of us shared on a recent night.
Or take, please, Empellón Al Pastor at the Pod 39 Hotel. After schlepping through the lobby, baffled boozers face an ominous, red “Stair B” door. It leads down a musty-smelling flight of steps to equally musty hallways. At least the toilets, when you find them, are clean.
Some johns aren’t merely distant from the dining room — they also shatter the mood. Tom Colicchio’s splendid Riverpark is in the Alexandria Center for Life Science on the East River at 29th Street. Diners leave the pretty dining room or romantic outdoor deck to traverse a sterile, hushed laboratory concourse that erases any sense of culinary bliss.
“I think I just had an MRI,” a returning friend said.
So do your business first — or be sorry later.