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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Davelle, All-Day Japanese Cafe in LES

davelle, all-day cafe

Davelle, an all-day Japanese cafe in the LES, is a small and cozy little nook hidden away on an obscure corner of Suffolk St that takes a little effort to get to, but it’s certainly worth the trip. I’d walk many avenues east for multiple bites of the restaurant’s signature mochi mochi spaghetti, which sounds a bit dubious at first, especially when the waitress describes the ketchup sauce, but second and third helpings of the pasta will erase those doubts. And once you’re finished, which will be too quickly, you’ll start eyeing other parts of the menu, which changes as the day progress from breakfast, lunch to dinner. Those breakfast toast sets sound mighty delicious.Read More

Tetsu in Tribeca

the open grill at tetsu

It’s crazy to think that a meal at Masa in NYC, which costs ~$595 a person pretax, is comparable to the cost of a round-trip ticket to Europe somewhere. I’m not quite convinced that one meal, no matter how good, would ever be equivalent to a transcontinental getaway. Those of us priced out of Masa will never find out if the food there is worth an arm and a leg, but what we can do is go to its more accessible sister restaurant Tetsu, a Japanese robata newly opened in Tribeca, where dishes are comfortably priced in the single or double digit range.Read More