187 Orchard St.,
Phone: (212) 466-0404
Tucked inside the Thompson Hotel on the Lower East Side, Blue Ribbon Izakaya is the newest addition to the Blue Ribbon empire. If you’ve never had the pleasure of dining in an izakaya — that’s Japanese for a pub — this is the perfect place to start. The room itself is sexy and sleek with a mix of communal tables, private tables and a long sushi bar at the center of it all. The menu is humongous, so there’s something for everyone to discover, and in true izakaya fashion, most dishes are small plates, best for sharing with your date. We strongly recommend you venture out of your comfort zone and try delectable nibbles, like Yellowtail Tartare, capped off with a quail egg, and a seasonal Crab Dish with Ponzu Butter. If your date is a fried rice fanatic, you’re in luck: There’s eight different kinds on the menu. Of course, you’ll still find familiar favorites, like Blue Ribbon’s fried chicken with honey dipping sauce, but the skewers of Wagyu and Wasabi or Sea Scallops with Miso Butter are much sexier bites for a date.