lunch

Tempura Matsui

We went for lunch which was a steal for $60. Everything is super well made and tasty.

I thought it would be too greasy (in a 油腻 kind of way) but it was surprisingly light for tempura. The chef says keeping the oil at the right temperature is key to keep the oiliness in balance.

Davelle

Cute, small cafe with a Japanese menu. The curry with karaage is great and the toast (berry and cream cheese!) is very delicious and very instagramable.

Hi-collar

Pretty good! The wait can be quite long, even after you get seated. The siphon coffee was neat and I like the coffee jelly and katsu sando.

Boxed To-Go (BT)

<$10 Bentos. Pretty solid. The portions are small, but it's perfect for a light lunch. The fried shrimp is my favorite.

Panineria

Good paninis. It's meat and cheese. I like the Paestum (prosciutto and cheese) with some fig jam.

Panya

I like the Japanese breakfast. Nice set meal to start the day. The cream pan is not bad too.

dessert

Cha-an Teahouse

Japanese sweets. The seasonally flavored parfaits are a treasure chest - different treat in each bite!

Keki

I have been craving castella ever since I had it in Taiwan. This place does pretty good castella. I like to eat the fresh cake same-day, then freeze the rest for a different, but equally tasty texture.

Levain Bakery

The huge, monster, gooey cookies are so good. When I used to visit the city, I'd fly home with a bag of these to keep in my freezer for emergencies.

Sundaes and Cones

I think I only like this place because it's on my block. But it's not bad. I like the taro and pistachio flavors in a waffle cone the best.

sushi

Uchu

My favorite place for Omakase so far. The flavors are out of this world - quite a pleasant surprise after I had gone through a string of mediocre sushi places in New York.

The atmosphere is a bit stiff, but not super uncomfortable. I liked the sake pairing but it can be overwhelming in both alcohol volume and snooty explanations.

Yoshino

Really, really great Omakase. I'd say the flavors are more tame compared to Uchu, but still exceptionally good.

My favorites were the saba (saba nice day!), anago, kue, nodoguro and tamagoyaki.

Masa

Kind of overhyped and full of bros when I went. The sushi was fine, but not my favorite. Probably most similar to Sushi Noz, out of other places I've tried in the city.

69 Leonard Street (Shion)

The one standout piece I remember was the Tamagoyaki at the end. Kind of incredible texture. My other favorites were the uni tasting and shima aji.

Yolanda notes, "the best crab of my life."

Noz Market

An offshoot of Sushi Noz. I actually enjoyed Noz Market more (as it's own thing) than Sushi Noz. The chirashi is really excellent and worth a try.

Sushi by M

I think this place is very okay, but Yolanda notes, "A great introduction to omakase. The value was good for the price, and the chefs are very friendly and social."

Sushi Noz

I love the space and presentation - pretty much everything is prepared in front of you, including pieces of anago that are smoked behind the counter on a charcoal grill.

A couple highlights were the katsuo sashimi (with crispy skin!!) and nodoguro perched atop uni rice. Overall, it's good but not my taste - for instance, I don't like shirako, but I have to begrudgingly accept that it was well-made here.

dinner

uluh

Great, modern-ish Chinese food. Uluh is hulu (葫芦) backwards, but I guess you can't name your Chinese restaurant after a Chinese gourd when a streaming service takes it first.

My favorites are the pork trotters and truffle fried rice. The duck is not bad, but a little pricey for how much duck you get.

886

This place is fine, but did not scratch my itch for Taiwanese food.

Many items are disappointingly fusion-ified, like the 牛肉捲餅 (beef rolls) that substitute mayonnaise for hoison sauce. Kind of criminal.

Yolanda says, "I think the only thing worth getting is the 滷肉飯 (braised pork on rice)," even with its non-traditional taste.

Aburiya Kinnosuke

The grilled fish is so good. Other appetizers are not bad, but the saba shioyaki and hamachi kama are the best.

Benemon

The star here is the appetizers. I like the gobo, tofu, tempura, both tatakis, and the (fried) soft shell crab is the best. The rice bowls and curry are fine but not anything special.

Dolar Shop

The hotpot is good. The wait can be kind of insane, so get a reservation. I usually like spicy broths, but in this case the silver soup is the thing to get.

Haenyeo

Yolanda notes, "Amazing Korean food. We liked the chicken wings, scallion pancake, and sablefish the most. The cocktails were also tasty and interesting. Great place for a cute date."

Ise

Pretty solid Japanese food. I like the soba, but not as much as Sobaya.

Izakaya Mew

It's good! The corn tempura is a highlight. I also liked the hamachi kama, eggplant, and cheesecake. The menu seems seasonal, so YMMV.

Jua

Yolanda notes, "One of the best meals I've had in NYC. I loved everything here, and they even managed to make some of my least favorite ingredients (kimchi, tomatoes) really delicious."

Mala Project

Drypot drypot drypot. It's good! Just get a nice mix and it will turn out great.

Shabushabu Mayumon

It's prix fixe shabu shabu, which is pretty neat. I like the variations but honestly there's a clear winner (washuggyu with ponzo). I had a slight stomachache from the meat-heavy course.

Yolanda notes, "Really cool experience and probably the best wagyu I've tasted in my life so far."

Sobaya

I'm a big fan of soba so it's pretty exciting to go to a place named after it. The ten(pura) zaru is great, both cold and hot. I also had the soba with duck, but I think tempura is the way to go.

Spicy Moon

It's pretty good for vegan Chinese food. Each dish is feels maximally flavorful so you might forget it's vegan. The one exception are the noodles - kind of bland and heavy.

My favorites were the eggplant, cucumber, and brussel sprouts.

Secchu Yokota

Tiny place for tempura omakase. Tasty and relaxed setting. My favorites were the Japanese whiting, chrysanthemum leaf, and shrimp head.

The dessert was also a highlight. The chef's background is in French cuisine, so the dessert course was not only delicious, but also nicely played.

Raku

Somewhat non-traditional udon. It's not bad but not my favorite.

transit

MTA

Kind of a disaster, but pretty good for an American city? The system works, until it doesn't. One time I was on a uptown-bound C train and next thing I know I'm crossing the Brooklyn bridge. Service does seem better in Manhattan than in other boroughs.

As for busses, SBS has dedicated bus lanes and actually works okay. I mean, it's still a bus but...

CitiBike

It's like Baywheels but a little worse? I always had trouble finding e-bikes in the city.

LaGuardia

I've heard everybody talk crap about LGA but I found it really pleasant? It's way better than Newark.

Moynihan Train Hall

I guess this is the best they can do? It's a new train hall with no places to sit. Have fun on the ground.

activities

Dia Beacon

This space is a bit far out but worth the trip for a huge collection of contemporary art.

You can take Metro North from Grand Central and it takes about an hour. Janky train but it works okay.

Guggenheim

The space is neat! I like that many exhibitions here are site-specific. I wish I had gotten to see Aten Reign, but that was before I knew I liked any sort of art.

YMMV depending on what's on view.

MoMA PS1

The PS1 is an offshoot of the MoMA in Long Island City. As with other contemporary art museums, enjoyment is pretty dependent on what's on exhibition, so it's worth checking the website first.

My favorite thing to do here is visit the James Turrell (Meeting) space on the top floor. Sadly, making it into the room is very hit or miss. On my most recent visit (Dec 2021), the room wasn't open to the public. There's a neat sunset viewing program to accompany the space, but it's usually booked out months in advanced.

Whitney Museum

Check what's on view before going. I like the cafe on the roof deck, which offers a nice view of the Hudson River.

Astor Place

It's a nice place to sit and people watch when it's warm out. Try to turn the big cube.

Little Island

It's a small, cute wharf structure turned into a park. It's cute! Try to go off peak times for best results.

I guess sometimes billionaires do what's right.

shopping

Kinokuniya

What can I say? It's a Kinokuniya.

This one is pretty big: one floor for English, one floor for Japanese, and one floor for weebs.

MoMA Design Store

This place is full of things that you want but don't need. Good for both window shopping and retail therapy.

Tokio 7

Very cool little consignment shop. The owners seem pretty picky about what they'll take and the brands tend toward the luxury end, but it's fun to check out what's new.

Bookoff

It's a... bookstore? But also you can buy famicom games and DVDs and figurines and PS5s. It's a Japanese Half Price Books.

Videogamesnewyork

This place is tiny but totally packed in with old consoles and games. Big nostalgia trip.

I was very tempted to buy an old GBA with an upgraded (modded?) screen.

The RealReal

The brands are pretty much all luxury shops. This place is expensive, but it's really fun to check out.

The store itself is pretty relaxed and lowkey for a place that sells $1000 sweaters. Beware of the upper east side location: if you're like me, you are not the target demo.

snacks

Shanghai You Garden

The key here is not to go into the restaurant, but to order the duck buns to-go in the front. $1.50 (+inflation?) for a prewrapped Peking Duck bun. It's great.

White Bear

The wontons are really good. I have not tried any of the rest of the menu.

Decibel

It's a sake bar! Pretty cozy basement spot. I like the vibe, but it got a little too noisy for good conversation, even on a Wednesday night.

mango mango

I don't like most things here. The mango smoothie is good but expensive.

If you're like me, you might be equally happy going to Whole Foods down the street and buying a bag of frozen diced mangos.

Prince St. Pizza

I like the pepperoni squares. Delicious but extremely greasy.

Usagi

It's a cute cafe attached to a book store and art space. Beware that the kitchen closes at 2pm if you want food.

Zabar's

It's a grocery store. I guess it's iconic? The only think I know here is that I like the babka (chocolate bread) a lot.

coffee

Devoción

I like the coffee here, both beans and in-situ. The space is comfortable to sit and read and work too, but it can be hard to poach a spot.