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
It’s always nice to see that a restaurant you really love but haven’t been to in awhile is still killing it several years later. I did a recent status check on two of my 2014 favorites, Sushi Nakazawa and Cosme, and I’m happy to report that both of these places are just as good as ever.
What are you willing to do for cheap sushi? That’s a relative term, so to be clear, I’m not talking about sushi you get from a market or an average take-out place, I’m talking about freshly caught, high quality fish comparable to that served in a good restaurant. Would you be willing to give up good service, as long as the food comes out in a timely manner? Never mind the high strung host whose nerves seem to be getting the best of him from the moment you arrive and who keeps reminding you that you were 5 minutes late and were ruining their overwhelming operations of serving 4 other people. Or the fact that the same host with the stanky attitude who never offered you water and wanted you to leave as quickly as possible tried to upsell you on a $12 hand roll that you could take to go? What about your physical comfort? Are you okay with sitting outdoors on a small stool? It’s only 30 minutes, so not a big deal, right? This is how they do it at the Tokyo train station and the Tsukiji fish market! And speaking of 30 minutes, is this brevity something you can live with? It might even be quicker than that, maybe 25 minutes, I Dream of Jiro style, even though this is no Jiro, but as long as the sushi is tasty, it’s all good, right? You only paid $50 (only?) for such 12 premium pieces, what a steal!Read More
You might describe a sushi omakase as luxurious, long and expensive, but rarely is it ever fun. At Shuko, sitting through 29 courses of the sushi kaiseki is the most fun you’ll ever have. With rap music blaring on the background, the friendly staff plying you with drinks, and the sushi chefs answering questions like, “what’s your guilty pleasure?”, there’s no way you won’t have a good time. Read More