Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Sushi On The Belt Goes Round And Round...

Japas 27 Review

366 Third Avenue

I am always skeptical when a friend asks me to meet them at a place that I've never heard of. I assume in a city like NYC, which is so vast in size and yet so full of amazing restaurants all over, not being well known is a very bad thing. After my visit there I realize that it's true there really are some hidden gems left here in this city that is so often all about being on the surface.

Japas 27 is located in the heart of Kips Bay district, precisely on 3rd Avenue between 26th and 27th Streets. It looks like nothing special from the outside, and the inside isn't too fancy either. But this concept of the belts is so unique for America, even though it is what you will find all over sushi joints in Japan.

The whole appeal is that a belt circles through the center of the restaurant with a constant flow of plates filled with sushi, sashimi, and even cheesecake (random I know). The booths line the entire parameter of the belt so that as people are sitting down they can view (and take, for that matter) whichever plate(s) strike them. This can be dangerous, because you don't have anyone there to stop you. The beauty of it is you can take one plate at a time and if you aren't full, take another. This keeps you from wasting food like I sometimes do when I order off a menu on an empty stomach. Plates come in different colors and each color has a different price. The cucumber rolls are in the $1-2 range while the lobster or crab rolls might be closer to $3-5. Overall the prices are very reasonable, even for the more elaborate rolls.

For those people who still prefer being served or who might be skeptical about the freshness and quality of the fish (although I can vouch for the fact that it was in fact quite fresh) they can still order off of the menu. Also things like spring rolls, pot stickers, and a variety of soups must be ordered rather than taken from the belt as these are obviously best served extremely fresh.

Oh, and did I mention that the drinks are reasonable too? I am pretty sure I got a 20 ounce Asahi beer for about $5 which lasted beyond the entire meal. They also have decent sake prices and sake sangria as well. For late nighters, you can always head upstairs later for a good old-fashioned karaoke experience. Yes, karaoke rooms are available for private parties and there is public space as well.

It's refreshing when you have those moments of surprise, where you take the chance and go somewhere unknown or random, and you leave just knowing that you'll return. As the Japanese might say, "Umai", which means quite simply, "yum". This dining experience is simple in ambiance but fun in concept and delicious as far as both cuisine and drinks go. Just make sure you understand that you will most likely have to wait for a little while during prime dinner hours both weekends and weekdays.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Urban Beauty

I am reading a book right now and one passage seems appropriate for my blog because it describes NYC from a narrator similar to myself...

"...It's the rich fabric of my daily life -- things that barely registered before but that now feel sentimental. It's my walk to work and the silent camaraderie of other commuters swelling in the crosswalks around me...It's the sway of the subway careening efficiently along the tracks, and the satisfaction of flagging down a cab on a bustling weekend night in the Village. It's the burgers at P.J. Clarke's, the dim sum at Chinatown Brasserie, and the bagels at my corner bodega. It's knowing that when I walk out of our brownstone, I will see something new every single day. It's the diversity of choices and people, the raw urban beauty, the endless hum of possibility everywhere."
-Love the One You're With by Emily Griffin

Sadly the protagonist here is speaking in sentimental tone as she is about to move out of the city. I am the opposite as I have just moved in. I haven't even tried the restaurants that she has mentioned but I have plenty of time to do so, and that is the beauty of it.

P.S. Please note the cookies in this picture are courtesy of Eleni's Bakery in Chelsea Market. Kind of a random picture to include, but I think they exemplify the spirit of New York pretty well.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Something To Think About...

It's weird to think that 4 months ago, I was just arriving in this beautiful city that I now call home.

"There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York, for the man or woman that was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulance as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter -- the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out at night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. Of these three trembling cities the greatest is the last -- the city of final destination, the city that is a goal."
-E.B. White from his essay Here Is New York

Couldn't have said it better myself...

Happy 50th Birthday To The Guggenheim!

Although this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Guggenheim Museum, what better time to go than now? Kandinsky's exhibit is up until January 13th and is an abstract extravaganza that even non art connoisseurs should not miss. This 20th century lawyer turned artist played with various styles and although I don't know much about expressionistic painting, I can appreciate the intense colors and bold shapes and lines that Kandinsky played with. Plus, the layout of the museum is amazing. The main exhibit wraps around the various layers of the cylindrical interior so that you can bypass them quickly or stop and reflect on a favorite. The admission is $18 but a couple hours spent leisurely enjoying art while listening to your free headset is a nice escape from the craziness of the city that is anything but still life.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Lenny Kravitz Rocks The Fillmore

On the evening of Wednesday, October 14th, I had the pleasure of attending Lenny's third show of five at the Fillmore at Irving Plaza in NYC. Since it was my first time at the venue I wasn't sure what to expect, but the layout was pretty intimate and crowd-friendly. Although it was mostly standing room, there was a lot of open space on the first floor as well as a second floor wrap-around balcony.

The opening act was a fellow and his band named K'Naan. This entertaining and talented singer/rapper is from Somalia and his songs were captivating. He had original lyrics, a decent voice, and got the crowd involved.

Although Lenny and his band were supposed to come on at 9:20, they kept the crowd waiting quite a bit longer. When they finally did come on, however, they put on an amazing show. They played all of my favorites, some of the highlights being "It Ain't Over Til It's Over", "I Belong To You", and "Fly Away". The best song of the entire night was "Are You Gonna Go My Way" which they ended on as the last song in a very generous encore performance. The crowd which varied in age from 20 to 60 was really feeling this song, and everyone was jumping up and down by the end.

Even though Lenny has been around for a good 20 years, his shows are still infused with so much sex, drugs, rock and roll that you could not ask for more. This Parisian dweller who avoids carbs at all costs still looks great for his age and really plays to the crowd. At one point I'm pretty sure he was even crowd surfing. This was easily one of the top three shows I've ever seen, and I can't wait to see what he has for us next. Rumor has it that he will return to Paris shortly to finish working on his funk-rock album "Negrophilia". All I want to know is when he is touring again...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fashion Night Out With Carson Kressley

I know that New York fashion week seems like forever ago, but I wanted to share my celebrity sighting. I was innocently walking down 59th Street between 3rd and Lexington on the evening of "Fashion Night Out", and I noticed loud music coming from New York and Company. I decided to stop in and see what the commotion was about and ended up seeing no other than Carson Kressley! For those of you who don't know him, Carson was the very animated stylist on one of my old favorite shows "Queer Eye For The Straight Guy" and a native Pennsylvanian like myself. He hosted a fashion show on this particular night with some really cute outfits, all from New York and Company. I was surprised to see such good-looking combinations for such reasonable prices. And Carson was just as entertaining as he was on the show. What a pleasant surprise!

Autumn In New York

I think we can all agree that New York is gorgeous in autumn. I'm biased as autumn is my favorite season no matter where I am, but this city showcases it so well. I know not everyone is a fan of chick flicks, but "You've Got Mail" is a classic. It makes you want to move to NYC immediately, because the shots of the city are picture perfect. It also has a scene that takes place in one of my favorites dessert places, Cafe Lalo (http://www.cafelalo.com/index.html)

"Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies."
-Tom Hanks in "You've Got Mail"

New York, I Love You

Three months ago, my dream came true: I finally moved to my beloved NYC. Now that I am a true New Yorker, I find it necessary to share all of my trials and tribulations of daily life in the Big Apple. This blog will serve as an outlet for my reviews of all that New York has to offer - from the restaurants to the concerts to the stores. It's my daily bite of wisdom...An apple a day for those who know what is good for them. Enjoy!

P.S. Since it has been a couple months and I am just starting this blog, I have a bit of catching up to do. I will start by posting some pics that I have taken. To start, here are the store windows from Bloomingdales in Midtown when I first moved here back in July. Some fabulous quotes from some fabulous designers!