I go here for lunch from time to time. The lunch special is reasonable, coming in under eight bucks, and filling. I currently take a class twice a week after work, so I need a large lunch to sate my appetite. This works. I have yet to try the mexican offerings, but the latin lunch platter is pretty good. I suppose my taste buds are nostalgic for these flavors since leaving Washington Heights for Queens. Rice, beans, beef stew, hot sauce you can’t go wrong.
Off the busy streets near Times Square, down a narrow flight of stairs you’ll find Sake Bar Hagi. I’ve been going to this Izakaya for years now. Back when Ben first took me here, you could buy a bottle of Sake, have them write your name on it with a sharpie, and come back later to sip from that bottle once again. Really a great business model, but one that has been discontinued, for reasons legal I can almost be sure of.
This review isn’t to lament about the good old days, Sake Bar Hagi is still great, and the food still flatters. An Izakaya is a place for patrons to relax, have a few spirits, and unwind from work. All the while taking in small plates of food. It’s kind of like a pub, or maybe a tapas place, but of course its distinctly Japanese.
Sake(as the name implies) still very much flows, even if you can’t tag up a bottle for future consumption,the selection is good. Not in the mood for Sake, these types of establishments always have beer as well. Hagi has the typical, Sapporo, Kirin and some legacy foreign and domestic options. But of course we come here for the food, and there are a wide range of options. Yakatori is on offer, so chicken/beef/vegetable skewers. Similar to the skewers is the short rib, think LA galbi, think definitely worth it.
Sushi and shashimi abound, as well as other fish preparations. I got the mackerel last time, it was grilled, cooked perfect. You can also get dishes such as uni if your looking for something not typically on offer. I got the uni, okonomiyaki and I was all set.
Manhattan Japanese Bar
It’s Thursday, I’m on my way downtown for a job interview, and decide I’ll head over the the Ace Hotel as my meeting is nearby. After a hair cut, shower, and getting ready I realize I’m hungry but don’t have time to eat lunch before I head out. Where to go… then it hits me, I recall a place I used to go years back, and its right across the street from the Ace.
Situated in the garment district along 29th sits Chandni. Up a flight of stairs, left through the doors and your ready to order Indian|Pakistani fare with efficiency. Prepared dishes of chicken curry, saag panneer, Samosas, Goat Pulao, and on and on from an extensive menu. At a loss for words? Don’t know what to order? In either case just point. The food here is simple, quick, and above both of these good.
I was happy to be back here, maybe it was a bit of nostalgia, but I found the atmosphere inviting. When I sat down I also realized, its patrons are a great cross section of New Yorkers from one walk or another. Its quite (enough for a young professional woman to be tapping away on her lab top), yet a good place to chat with your friends (I overheard some gentleman talking about a service dog that someone kept with them at all times, but only for emotional support).
Of course, I came for the grub, and I decided to get a bit of what I used to typically order. So I ordered the naan, a kabab, and a chicken role. I also opted to try something new, so I got the allo tikki, a ground potato patty with herbs/spices. Chandni has lots of vegetarian options, so its definitely a good choice if thats you. I would also stress that its extremely reasonable, and prices haven’t changed much since I was last here years back. In the book I keep on pluses, reasonable cost is big. As I sat and quietly ate my lunch, dipping each bit into the raita sauce that I requested extra of, I realized, my lunch time stars had aligned.
For a city synonymous with bagels, living here you would think there’d be a lot more shops per capita. Even though bagel joints don’t flourish on every city block, there are still many places where you can find a classic NY bagel. Ess-A is just such a place.
A great place if your looking for the authentic thing. I like how they have the toppings, e.g. sesame seeds, loaded up on one side. This is something I didn’t think I would like originally, but it works. They also have interesting options like the pumpernickle everything in the photo.
Photo by angela n. via Flickr
I hadn’t been to this bar in years until a friend took me here the other day. This place is really awesome, the perfect spot for some sake after dark. Blink and you’ll miss it, as there is no sign, and its in the basement of a building on 9th street. Once inside you’ll really feel like your in a true NY bar. Graffiti covers the wall from floor to ceiling, don’t be shy if you want to break out your Molotow 420PP Mini Paint Marker and represent. Definitely more names on the wall then four years prior.
Beyond the graf, you have traditional Japanese decor. It makes for a nice East meats West, Tokyo|NY Mash up. I’ve never had the food, but have sampled the many sake and shochus on offer. The beverage list is extensive. When I went the other day we had an unfiltered sake, which I haven’t had before. I liked it, unfiltered means that they don’t filter out the rice, so you get bits of rice in your glass. good for a date or just kicking back with old friends.
Manhattan Japanese Bar