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
Ato is a restaurant that’s very easy to miss, even if you’re looking for it. It looks like an abandoned retail space from the outside with no obvious signage around. Once you do a double take and notice the menu taped out front, you might be inclined to enter, although you’ll still wonder if this place is fully open. Something about it feels like it hasn’t completely repurposed its original retail space as a restaurant, even though there is an omakase counter and proper tables set up in there. But sure enough, Ato is very much fully operating, despite looking like a work in progress.Read More
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
Have you ever been to a Fry’s Electronics store? Back when I was in high school, Fry’s was a place for geeks to stock up on computer parts. The typical customer was probably a single dude who liked to play Counterstrike in his spare time and did not have a girlfriend and probably did not care about that. To me, Ikinari Steak in the East Village is like the Fry’s of steakhouses. You’re essentially surrounded by a lot of single dudes who are happily eating their reasonably priced thick-cut steaks while standing (there are no seats at Ikinari, although they recently added a few booths). Some of them might get aggressive and even order two steaks each, like the two men next to us who essentially had a Louis CK-style dinner bang bang and ate four steaks total and did not give a crap about anyone witnessing the gluttony.Read More
If you like your bar food as interesting as your cocktails, then you might want to pull up a chair at Bar Moga, a retro, Japanese-inspired bar run by alums of Milk & Honey in Greenwich Village. You won’t find the typical plate of french fries or chicken wings on the menu. The space is far too elegant to allow for greasy pub grub like that. The word “moga”, after all, is a term used to refer to Japanese women in the 1920s who followed Western fashions and lifestyles, and she probably would want bites more consistent with her tastes, like kani crab croquettes or caesar salad.Read More