Llama San in West Village

scallop ceviche, chirimoya, avocado, sesame

Our meal at Llama San initially felt like an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Little annoyances started to pile up and threaten our dinner. We sat down and the banquette wasn’t quite comfortable. We asked for a wine recommendation, and the sommelier picked something from Greece, which was not that exciting to us. The wine was then served in cups, as opposed to wine glasses. We all know that the wine glass makes a difference, right? That’s how Zalto makes its money. And when we looked at the neighboring table, somehow they were given wine glasses and we weren’t. So then we felt paranoid, that maybe our economical choice of Greek wine wasn’t worthy of a wine glass, so then we demanded that they switch our glasses, only to learn that these cups were how Peruvians traditionally drank their house wines.

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Nami Nori Hand Rolls in West Village

eggplant, red miso, gobo chips and maitake truffle temaki rolls

You won’t get a table at Nami Nori on your first try. Waiting in line early before the restaurant opens doesn’t guarantee this either. My first attempt at Nami Nori resulted in a host quoting me an hour and 45 minute wait time, leading me to defect to Jeju Noodle Bar. Of course, I made the mistake of rolling in at a prime dinner hour of 7 pm, so I figured if I came before the restaurant opened, I would definitely have a shot.

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Osteria Morini in Soho

Osteria Morini is one of Michael White’s lesser known restaurants. It’s been around for awhile, and no one mentions it as a place they really want to check out, but it’s surprisingly doing very brisk business, especially during the late hours. We went to dinner on a Sunday night at 9 pm, and the place was packed. Maybe it’s like an industry place? Or young Millennials like to eat late on Sunday? But that’s what the crowd was like–young Millennials drinking late on a Sunday because they didn’t want to deal with the Monday just around the corner. I’m sure the staff was freaking out seeing a couple with two of their children at their doorstep.

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Sushi in Midtown at Uogashi

There are plenty of expensive sushi restaurants in New York, but not as many in the middle tier, which I guess is defined as something in the $70-$150 omakase range. That technically means Sushi Nakazawa is in the “affordable” category, which I don’t totally agree with, but relative to $300, I guess it is. Uogashi is one of those few restaurants that fall in the middle category. You can choose from tiers of omakase ranging from $95 – $175, and even more affordable are the different sushi box sets.

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Wu’s Wonton King in Chinatown

Forget Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas ham. What you really want for the holidays is a family dinner at Wu’s Wonton King, a Cantonese restaurant deep in Chinatown. Not the Chinatown that’s near Canal Street and Lafayette, the one further east near East Broadway and Essex Street. You’ll see big family dinners in the works, sometimes three generations at a table, catching up over Peking duck and a bottle of wine. It’s also a popular place for birthday parties, because Wu’s Wonton King is byob, so people will bring their Veuve and a cake, no cutting fee involved. It doesn’t get any better than this, which is why Wu’s is my favorite Chinese restaurant in NYC and I’ve been here three times in the past month.

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