Another "hot restaurant" trick is to just say "put me on the waiting list."
(As I imagine) wealthy people have their personal assistants make reservations, but b/c they are super busy obtaining more wealth (presumably), they cancel all the time.
I was able to go to Minetta Tavern on Valentines Day in 2009 at 8p b/c of a cancellation. What?!
More recently, same thing at NoMad - new spot from 11 Madison Park dudes.