Category Archives: New York

Zenkichi

Restaurants in New York can get very crowded and rubbing shoulders with someone can get quite literal. Asian restaurant Zenkichi, part of Williamsburg bustling restaurant scene, has found the solution: every table is a private little booth made with bamboo screens. No wonder it’s been topping every “Most Romantic Restaurant” list. You have absolute privacy while you enjoy their amazing Omakase menu and play footsie with your date. Did we mention they offer more than 50 different sakes?

Zenkichi

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Jewel Bako

Sometimes we feel that New York offers more sushi bars than you would actually be able to find in Japan. It is, however, still very hard to find a place that serves very fresh, authentic dishes in a modern setting; usually it’s one or the other. Jewel Bako might just be the place that combines both, although its East Village location is not necessarily ideal (and prices way too high for that area). Nevertheless, it’s worth the money and the trip down. “Jewel Bako” supposedly means “jewel box”, which actually describes the small intimate dining room pretty well. We highly recommend the Omakase (Chef’s tasting menu) to fully experience what this restaurant has to offer. If you like to stay in charge and choose your own items, at least try to ignore the Spicy Tuna or California Roll and go outside your comfort zone for a night; you won’t be disappointed!

Jewel Bako EntranceJewel Bako sushi sashimi Jewel Bako interior

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Kuma Inn

Since it’s getting harder to make reservations for this Lower East Side eatery anyway, we see no point in keeping it a secret any longer… just be sure to only share Kuma Inn with your best friends! This tiny Filipino/Thai restaurant is located above a Bulgarian bar and everything about it – from its location to the art that covers the walls – is a little strange. Once you have located the spray-painted name, you climb two flights of crackling stairs that make you wonder if you’re in the right place. Boy, are you in for a surprise! Kuma Inn is an intimate, no-fuss, cash-only, BYOB restaurant. The food is comparable with (or better than) the uber-trendy “Asian Fusion” places in New York, minus the arrogant staff and sleek decor. Better yet, at Kuma Inn you pay about one-fifth of the price! It’s the perfect place for a quick bite, low-key romantic dinner or birthday party: nothing fancy, just great food in a fun atmosphere. Be sure to reserve well in advance and don’t forget your favorite wine and/or a couple of beers.

Kuma Inn interiorKuma Inn Chinese Sausage

Kuma Inn entrance

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Morimoto

Morimoto doesn’t just serve tasty Japanese cuisine, it is also an architectural treat. From the building’s facade to the restrooms; everything is ultra modern and adds to the high-end, trendy vibe. Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto earned his reputation among New Yorkers for his work at all-time favorite Nobu, and now he is ready to take over the world with Morimoto. The food is exquisite and worth every penny. They serve creative Asian Fusion dishes but also beloved classics such as fatty tuna, spicy salmon and california rolls. If you want to try something new, go with the Toro Tartare, which comes with a selection of sauces/garnishing and is to be prepared by you. What else is great about this restaurant? It’s just a few blocks away from the bustling club scene of Meatpacking District, making this the perfect stop before hitting the night life.

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Raines Law Room

What good can come from a law that prohibits the sale of alcohol, you might wonder? Step into New York’s finest speakeasy and find out for yourself. The Raines Law was passed in 1896 and restricted the sale of alcoholic beverages on a Sunday, except in hotels. Saloons quickly got around these regulations by adding small furnished bedrooms: Raines Law Hotels. Even though you are definitely not allowed to sleep at this modern-day Raines Law Room in Chelsea, the extremely dimly lit lights and velvety armchairs make it hard not to wander off to dreamland. A land with classy furniture,  fancy cocktails and overly-friendly mixologists. Ring a doorbell to gain entry, but be prepared to wait elsewhere until a spot frees up (reservations can only be made from Sunday to Tuesday by e-mail). Whether you have a private booth with friends or linger around the ‘bar kitchen’ (see picture) with your date, this quiet sexy little gem never gets old.

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Catch

Since its opening last fall, Catch has been a magnet for the good looking Meatpacking crowd of models, rock stars and business moguls. This three-level seafood restaurant with lounge/club area is loud, vibrant and happening! Don’t mind the looooong waits and snooty front desk girls; once you’re seated, you’ll love it! Seafood lovers will be treated to a surprising selection of sushi & sashimi, “big fish” (that serves two people),  raw bar items like oysters and “simply cooked” choices including sole, swordfish and tuna. Top Chef winner Hung Huynh runs the kitchen and with mouthwatering dishes such as crab-stuffed calamari, he affirms this title. The waiting staff at Catch is friendly and accommodating and knows how to deal with large groups. So bring lots of friends but don’t expect to “catch” up with them since the loud music and buzzing scene don’t really allow it. Overall, Catch is a great fish addition to the Meatpacking area and we recommend going there before it turns into just another has-been restaurant.

 

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Brasserie Les Halles

New York with a hint of Paris: entrez-vous Brasserie Les Halles for a classic French meal in a fun setting. This Park Avenue location (there is another one downtown) opened in 1990 and operates continuously from 7:30am to midnight, seven days a week. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, but gets loud and boisterous at night – just like a true French brasserie! The setting is unpretentious and resembles a Parisian brasserie is every way: scarred wooden tables, tiled floors, stiff white table cloths and a waiting staff that’s friendly, but rushed. French classics such as onion soup, steak tartare, and foie gras are served with a simple salad or pommes frites. Thanks to celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who ruled the Les Halles kitchen for over a decade (and is still referred to as the restaurant’s “Chef-at-large”), we can even try to prepare these dishes ourselves with the help of his cookbook.

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Perry St

New York’s far West Village has been rapidly changing for the past decade – famous architects are bringing luxury residential buildings to this neighbourhood along the Hudson River. Culinary guru Jean-Georges Vongerichten chose the right moment in 2005 to open up a sleek restaurant in one of the modern glass buildings overlooking the river. Perry St draws both its upscale “neighbours” from the surrounding buildings and food lovers willing to take the cab ride down to this westernmost fringe of the West Village. Perry St has a serene and elegant atmosphere and it’s one of the few restaurants in NYC where you can actually have a quiet conversation. It’s classy and upscale, but not stuffy. The interior is cool, with soft whites and modern, simplistic furniture. The New American food is absolutely delicious (as we expected…) but prices are reasonable (surprise!). Check out the website for any special deals they might have, such as the current Autumn promotion: a prix fixe dinner menu for $38. Perry St is the ultimate place to impress your date, out-of-towners, or anyone else you wish to share the Hudson views with while enjoying quality food. Make a reservation now.

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Eataly

Zagat’s survey 2011 research showed that Italian food is by far the most popular among New Yorkers. No wonder Eataly‘s founders decided to create a 50,000 square foot Italian food market place – or mecca if you like – in New York City’s Flatiron District. Eataly is the city’s perfect destination for (Italian) food lovers to find Italian delicacies and wines, a culinary educational center and a range of high quality eateries. But don’t even dare calling it a giant food court! One of the owners Mario Batali explains: “This isn’t a selection of restaurants under one roof. This is a retail store where we peddle the greatest of Italian gastronomy to people who want to eat it and know how to appreciate it.” Besides a great shopping experience, Eataly does offer several places to sit down. For a formal dining experience you can get a table at Manzo, which offers both traditional and modern Italian meat dishes. Or meet up with friends at Eataly’s enoteca La Piazza, with marble bars and standing tables where you can enjoy a glass of fine wine paired with delicious meats and cheeses. The most recently opened restaurant is Birreria, a laid back rooftop restaurant/beer brewery with a wide range of specialty beers and complimenting dishes. Buon appetito!

Besides New York, Eataly has stores in Italy and Japan, check the website for store locations!

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UNIQLO

The Japanese textile company UNIQLO is quickly becoming New York’s hottest retailer. Be sure to pay a visit to the brand’s flagship store in Soho to stock up on your favorite basics. Every (basic) garment you could possibly need can be found here and they are all made from the most huggable fabrics such as cashmere and merino wool. The best part is that it’s SO cheap that you can’t leave the store without at least one item. You can get a basic V-neck cashmere sweater for as little as $89,50 or a longsleeve natural skin T-shirt for only $12,90. With all those neat piles of colorful and touchable items, you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store! The good thing is that you don’t necessarily have to make the trip to one of the 3 New York stores since UNIQLO is also coloring the streets of London, Paris, Moscow as well as many Asian countries.

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