CUISINE: International Japanese
WINE LIST: 30 sakes & 40 wines (8 Japanese wines)
VIBE: moody elegance
DON’T MISS DISH: King of Kimchee
DON’T BOTHER: Snapper sashimi
OCCASION: When you want to dine uptown, downtown. Take your Japanese clients.
HOURS: M-Th dinner 6-12, Fri. & Sat. dinner 6-3; Sun. dinner 6-11.
PRICE: $50 & up
RESTAURANT GIRL RATED: (1-10) 6
Already well-loved for its 49 restaurants in Japan, the Chanto dynasty is determined to make this Greenwich Village outpost the 50th star on their proverbial dining flag (think Nobu gone Wolfgang Puck). Once home to former 90’s hotspot Moomba, the red and black glassed-in lounge complete with come hither red leather banquettes creates the perfect atmosphere to mingle over Japanese spirits and oysters. If you decide to take dinner more seriously, allow not one, but two hosts to whisk you upstairs to one of three intimate eating nooks, all bejeweled with sparkling chandeliers and moody black walls.
After taking a quick spin through the globe-hopping menu (a Japanese twist on everything from shrimp risotto to sweet & sour pork), the waiter brought me back to a beguiling Japan, where he refused to let me lift a finger, insistent on tossing the red snapper sashimi salad at the table. Though the tableside theatrics were appreciated, this well-intended but bland slab of snapper muddled by a slew of vegetables and corn flakes for crunch and American measure, was unsatisfying, not to mention rather loud, considering the strikingly quiet quarters. Also, the sudden appearance of a Philadelphia roll caused me to question Chef Shinoki’s fusion-free mantra seeing as Americans have become well-acquainted with much braver expressions of raw fish.
Now the goods… the King of Kimchee tasted like a gift – literally – wrapped like a
precious package, overflowing with sumptuous shrimp, scallops and other
tender gems of the sea.
(KING OF KIMCHEE)
And lest we forget our non-sushi faring friends (a curious breed), the tasty 21 day aged rib eye steak, cooked to juicy perfection, could give Peter Luger’s a run for its money (I see steakhouse’s in their future).
When you’ve cleaned your plate, go with the luscious white sesame tiramisu dessert served with a refreshingly exotic passion fruit sorbet. It made my first impression of Chanto a “sweet” one.
133 Seventh Avenue South, nr. West 10th St.
New York, NY 10014
Until we eat again,