Here’s another excellent Midtown East lunch special that should be on your radar. Mifune is a high end Japanese restaurant run by a cast of pedigreed chefs who trained at some of the best restaurants in Paris. While a dinner tasting will run you $100 a person, or $250 if you do the omakase at the sushi bar Amane downstairs, the lunch menu entrees hover at around a reasonable $25.
The thing to get is definitely the Mifune chirashi box, and it’s because the sushi rice that comes with it is so good. The rice is served separately from the raw fish in two different compartments, one topped with cooked egg and roe and the other with some pickled vegetables. They’re both fantastic and could shine on their own as independent dishes. There are also Western entrees on the menu, reflecting Mifune’s Franco-Japanese point of view, which is great if you’re in the mood for something more hearty and filling, and the juicy and tender roasted duck breast with brown sugar vinegar sauce will do the trick. If you were never jealous of people who worked near the UN or Grand Central, which are both comfortably within walking distance of Mifune, then you might be now.
245 E 44th St (between 2nd and 3rd Ave)
New York, NY 10017
Whenever I want to bring out-of-town guests to a very “New York” type of restaurant, I always take them to Russ and Daughters Cafe. It’s historic, having operated since 1914, and they preserve the look and feel of that era with the attractively retro decor that looks like something out of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” or “Mad Men”. And more importantly, the food is great–think traditional Jewish deli foods like latkes, matzo ball soup and smoked fish spreads. The only downside is that for brunch, the restaurant only takes walk-ins, and you’re guaranteed to wait for at least an hour. But I say it’s worth the wait. Suck it up, put your name down, get coffee somewhere else, and come back when you get that wonderful text saying your table is ready.Read More
For me, Korean ramen “ramyun” noodles are so closely tied to the fiery bowls of cheap Shin ramyun that I ate growing up, so when I heard that an elevated Korean ramyun restaurant called Jeju Noodle Bar had opened in the West Village, I rolled my eyes. Great, I guess that means I get to pay $20 for a dainty and soulless bowl of expensive, artisanal ingredients that will never satisfy me the way those Shin noodles did. And no offense to Pete Wells, but when the white critics started raving about Jeju, I was even more suspicious. It was probably best to stay far away.Read More
I didn’t think anyone could dethrone the Emmy burger as the best burger in town, but leave it to a player from meat-and-potatoes town Chicago to show the New York City burgers how it’s done. That title now belongs to the American Cheeseburger at 4 Charles Prime Rib, which is run by the restaurateur behind Chicago’s famous Au Cheval. I’ve never been to Au Cheval, but apparently the burger there is to die for, and if the burger at 4 Charles Prime Rib is any indication, I should be dead by now.Read More
Everyone knows the Chinese have all the money, so now a bunch of fancy Chinese restaurants are opening up in New York to cater to this clientele. These places are big and swanky, having more in common with a slick and clubby Hakkasan than humble little Hop Kee on Mott St. The latest, and perhaps most anticipated, addition is DaDong (the restaurant has been booked solid on Opentable for months), a famous Beijing chain renowned for its roast duck. Its splashy U.S. debut in Bryant Park leaves no doubt that this is clearly a high end restaurant where no expense was spared in its design and construction. Guests walk into a sleek lobby and are greeted by an attractive host who shows you to the elevator, as if you are going to the rooftop of a nice bar for bottle service, except in this case you’re either going to the second floor for a la carte dining or the third floor for the fancier tasting menu experience.Read More