Hours: Lunch: Monday-Friday; dinner: seven days
Open late: Thursday-Saturday till midnight, Monday-Wednesday till 11
Robata from Gene Kato, formerly of Japonais; downstairs is the 11-seat Charcoal Bar (see separate listing).
Japonais veteran Gene Kato's Sumi Robata Bar is a long corridor dominated by the brightly lit bar and a dimmer, more closely confined rear dining area. It features a simple menu, too: hot and cold appetizers, and skewers from the barbecue. In the latter category are almost two-dozen choices ranging from blistered shisito peppers and charred romaine to a buttered Australian lobster tail. At the high end of the range, a must-order shredded king crab claw bound with spicy mayo and topped with crunchy panko will set you back $16; long, salted shrimp run a mere $5. The appetizers feature some small plates of astonishing elegance, like a dish of creamy, chilled tofu embedded with salmon roe and tiny mushrooms or a fragile poached egg bathing in dashi. Yet nothing on the menu will reduce you to a slavering animal like the light, greaseless fried chicken karaage. To drink there are a dozen or so sakes, a few bottled cocktails, wine, and a half-dozen beers including a crisp Japanese stout that will have you rethinking your assumptions about how such a heavy brew pairs with food. Read the full review >>
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