One of the fastest growing food scenes in New York City is the Asian food scape, with options expanding far beyond the typical take-out neighborhood spots so popular here. Foodies are demanding more authentic fare, and celebrity chefs are serving up the variety of flavors and rare delicacies true to Asian cuisine. The list of Asian New York eateries is long, but here are three of our favorites:
There’s a lot to love about West Village En Japanese Brasserie — from the Choshoku “Japanese Breakfast” at brunch to the wide selection of shochu and sake. Each fresh and original dish takes the diner on a journey through Japan’s many flavors. If you’re unsure of what try, order a few things and share. The lounge and sushi area is a great place for a gathering with friends, or request a table farther back in the restaurant for a more intimate dining setting. Parties of eight to 10 people can rent one of the tatami rooms for a truly unique Japanese experience. Each private room includes imported tatami mats and sunken wooden tables. The ambiance and décor is beautiful and welcoming, and if you’re lucky, you might even notice a celebrity or two — Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux, Wynton Marsalis and Martha Stewart have all been spotted here.
Sample Tamarind’s authentic Indian cuisine at one of its two locations in Tribeca and the Flatiron district, the latter of which offers a more cozy dining experience and a tea room for those who want a lighter bite. The sauces and naan (garlic, rosemary, onion, etc.) are delicious, the vegetarian dishes (mushroom dumplings; sautéed okra) delight even the most ambitious carnivore, and the cocktail selections (e.g. Blood Orange Cosmopolitan) are the perfect accompaniment.
Danji, brought to us by Chef Hooni Kim, is best known for its Korean tapas dishes — bulgogi sliders, kimchi, crispy tofu and pork belly. Soju (not to be confused with the Japanese shochu) is a great pairing for any dish, whether the Spicy ‘k.f.c.’ Korean Fire Chicken Wings or the 90-day Aged Kimchi Stew for Two. The restaurant space is small and makes for a great date-night option. As a side note, Hooni Kim also recently opened a restaurant, Hanjan, a Korean joomak (old Korean tavern for weary travelers), as chef calls it, where diners can enjoy flavorful Korean barbecue and drinks in a comfy, friendly atmosphere.
Photos courtesy of En Japanese Brasserie, Hanjan and www.2bephoto.com