Studio 151 Sushi in East Village

Studio 151 in the East Village is the sexiest sushi omakase you will ever experience, in the truest sense of the word. When I entered the space, I initially thought I was entering a nightclub. There was a line outside, we had to get vetted by a doorman, and then we walked through a dark set of stairs to enter the room. The room definitely is a vibe–there were posters of naked women on the wall, a DJ was spinning some tunes in the corner, and very young and hip people were having some drinks. The people watching was truly amazing. I was impressed to see a very diverse group of people really committed to wearing a “look” for their night out. But in the back of my mind, I was thinking where are we? Are we early for some sort of afterparty? Where is the sushi?? This is about as far away from the quiet and zen omakase atmosphere that usually marks most sushi restaurants.

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Saito, the Sake Bar from Nakazawa, in Nolita

Saito is so nondescript that you would be surprised to hear that Chef Daisuke Nakazawa of Sushi Nakazawa and Jiro Dreams of Sushi fame is one of the backers behind this project. There are really no signs of him at all, other than the small selection of sushi available on the very edited menu. A chef, not Nakazawa, works quietly behind the tiny bar, and he is not making egg custard. A server with a bit of a harried demeanor takes orders and not much more. It all felt a little rushed and unfinished, as if Nakazawa and his business partners had to scramble quickly to meet an opening date and some of the details got lost. Saito bills itself as a sake bar, but it’s not really obvious that this is their strong suit, as no one is really talking up their sake selections or encouraging you to pair this with that.

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Outdoor Dining at Rule of Thirds in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

There’s something called the rule of thirds in photography that serves as a guide for taking a visually interesting and balanced picture. It’s also the name of a Japanese restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and while I’m not quite clear on why it was named Rule of Thirds, it is very clear to me that this is a visually beautiful restaurant where things like presentation and balance are carefully adhered to.

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NYC Outdoor Dining – Kimika in Nolita

The restaurant space at The Nolitan hotel in Nolita seems to be a death-knell. The prior two occupants–the Usual from Eggslut chef Alvin Cailan and before that, a forgettable Italian restaurant–did not survive. But with the arrival of Kimika, the new Japanese-Italian restaurant from the Wayla team, the veil of bad feng shui seems to have been lifted. Kimika is undeniably a hit. The comfort food fusion dishes combining the best of carbs and creamy, meaty sauces from two cultures are quite impressive. It’s also fantastic that Kimika is a female-led restaurant with great cocktails and an interesting, nerdy wine list. Outdoor dining at Kimika is a fantastic experience, and I’m looking forward to the days when it’s safe enough to eat these meals in the beautiful space inside.

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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