The Japonais New York location opened about three years ago with executive chef Jun Ichikawa and Gene Kato. The theatrical interior was designed by one of the co-owners, Jeffrey Beers. Between the main dining room, the bar and the upstairs lounge the restaurant can accommodate nearly 300 people. My company this evening were very experimental with the menu which features signature Japanese dishes from sushi to full entree and appetizer dishes. For our table we ordered the Kaiso Salad (marinated sweet vinegar seaweed salad with fresh cucumbers and toasted sesame), Manjus Buns (homemade steamed buns with braised pork and scallions with hot mustard sauce), Spicy Mono (spicy octopus roll topped with spicy tuna and sweet unagi sauce), and of course I stuck with the vegetables I knew... I ordered two items from the Vegetable Mono list: asparagus and avocado. My only wish here was that they would have been able to substitute the sticky white rice with brown rice but unfortunately they don't do that.
For dessert we shared the Apple Toban Yaki (Michigan red and ginger gold apples with oatmeal ginger crust and vanilla honey ice cream) and the assortment of homemade sorbets served with fresh watermelon soup and a yuzu cookie.
The drinks alone are well crafted like the Floating Orchid, their "signature cocktail," (stolichnaya vodka, citronge, pear juice and lemon juice with an edible orchid), Peach Sake Sangria (sake, citronge, moscato d'asti with passion fruit juice and peach puree) and the Pineapple Mojito (bacardi limon, fresh cut pineapple, lime juice and fresh muddled mint).
Japonais is located on E. 18th St. near Park Ave. [MAP]
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