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Tableside Dining Is Making a Comeback, and Here Are 20 of the Best Experiences to Check Out

Think: a doughnut ice cream sundae flambéed right before you.

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The adage "what’s old is new again" rings true in fashion circles, but it’s apt for restaurants too. In the case of dining out, the time feels right to get dressed up and go out to dinner, where you’ll discover that many restaurants are bringing back engaging tableside food preparations. From desserts flambéed in the dining room to roaming bar carts, these experiences engage all your senses and turn dinner into a show (pretty much the opposite of sitting on your couch and eating takeout). Read on for our favorite new spins on tableside dishes from coast to coast.

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Tableside Sundae at Wild Honey Smokehouse and Tavern

Atlantic City, New Jersey

There’s plenty of gambling to be had in Atlantic City but rolling the dice on a cool dining experience isn’t a chance we’re willing to take. Enter the newly opened Wild Honey Smokehouse and Tavern at the Tropicana, where regional barbecue fare and top-notch coastal seafood get equal billing. Be sure to save room for the made-for-sharing sundae. Scoops of ice cream are piled onto a jumbo donut base, showered in toppings and topped with cinnamon syrup that’s smoked tableside with a double barrel smoker. If you’d rather end the evening with a sweet-leaning nightcap, opt for the Smoked Cinnamon Fireball, a cinnamon-whiskey-based tipple that’s smoked with cinnamon and garnished with a skewered mini cinnamon bun.

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Photo: Melissa Hom

Tableside Shawarma at Au Za’atar

New York, New York

There’s a dizzying array of mezze and grilled meats to choose from at New York City’s Au Za’atar, a Middle Eastern restaurant with Lebanese roots. But what really gets heads spinning is the off-menu tableside shawarma. Fresh cuts of beef, lamb or chicken are marinated for 24 hours in a proprietary spice blend before being stacked on a miniature rotating vertical spit. The dish arrives at the table with the meat still roasting. It’s served with sumac-dusted hand-cut fries, grilled tomatoes and onions and plenty of thin pita pockets. Customize your shawarma sandwich with sauces and garnishes like tahini, toum (a whipped garlic spread), za’atar-spiked aioli, hot sauce, pickled turnips and pickled cucumbers.

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Grasshopper Baked Alaska at Delilah

Las Vegas, Nevada

Housed inside the Wynn Las Vegas, Delilah’s opulent setting evokes a glam 1920’s Hollywood lounge, while the menu re-interprets the supper club of yore into modern day magic. The dessert menu is particularly whimsical, so be sure to save room. We’re particularly smitten with the Grasshopper Baked Alaska, a retro-inspired mash-up for 4 to 6 people featuring mint chocolate chip ice cream, dark chocolate ganache and creme de menthe chocolate cake. It’s showcased on sleek bar cart and then flambéed tableside.

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