The windows of skyscrapers form a gossamer chain of lights across the night sky, all arrayed behind diners on the second floor at Teak On The Hudson. The colors that pop against the darkness also leap from golden pineapple adorning tuna tartar with tobiko and emerald spears of asparagus atop scallops and champagne sauce. In the kitchen, chefs play with hues while wrapping soy paper around ruby-hued spicy tuna, yellowtail, and salmon for rolls with creative names such as Teak Loves You. They glide between steaming pots, carrying bok choy, flounder, king crab, and other ingredients from around the world like panicked zookeepers on their first day of work.
As animated as the kitchen is, the decor in Teak’s dining rooms keeps eyes bouncing around with ornate chandeliers that light up tin ceilings. Ornate twirls climb damask-printed curtains pinned back to marbled pillars. Koi fish swirl laconically inside a giant fish tank along the back of the bar, their tank reflecting blue and pink lights and medieval-looking lion-head statues. On the weekend, DJs slowly unleash the pulse of top-40 dance music throughout the eatery and parties up to 1,000 fill the rooms.
The master chefs at Sushi House of Hoboken garnered a 2008 Readers' Choice award from New Jersey Monthly for their flavorful sushi rolls and Japanese-style beef, chicken, and seafood. Diners can pull up seats to the open-air sushi bar, where culinary artisans prep edible care packages such as the red dragon roll, its eel and cucumber drizzled in kabayaki sauce. Thanks to the eatery's BYOB policy, dinner parties can sip personal potables as they share teriyaki beef or hand-feed pellets to the fish sculptures that dot the dining room. Alternatively, guests can feel free to dine on the restaurant's outdoor patio or order takeout to hone chopstick techniques in private.
You might recognize Chef Okadaman—after all, he’s in an Allman Brothers tribute band and his face is plastered onto the side of the Okadaman food truck that can be seen meandering through Midtown. Like his facility with complicated melodies and rhythms on the bass guitar, Chef Okadaman assembles virtuosic lunch entrees such as fried octopus dumplings drizzled with Japanese mayo and okonomiyaki, a savory pancake densely topped with squid, bacon, and kimchi that inspired a CBS.com food blogger to call it “one of the most beautifully presented lunches [he’s] eaten, truck or not.” The chef either buys each of his dishes’ components locally or flies them in from Japan in tribute to his respect of fine ingredients, tradition, and a 747’s need for a tasty meal. To catch a meal nearby, diners can check the truck’s location online.
Nestled into the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, Yotel sits a few blocks away from Tony-winning Broadway shows and Times Square's massive billboards. Food lovers have plenty to explore: New York's sidewalk carts and food trucks whip up some of the city's most beloved, budget-priced cuisine, ranging from pupusas to kebabs to ice cream, and Chinatown and Little Italy hold some of the most authentic restaurants found outside of their respective countries. Between the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art, and dozens of art galleries, the city's artistic scene remains strong. In the winter, Rockefeller Center hosts an ice-skating rink and the iconic Christmas tree, which will light up on November 30.
Critically Acclaimed Sushi | Venerable Chef | Market-Price Omakase | Fish Imported from Japan
Who's in the Kitchen? Chef Toshihiro Uezu established Kurumazushi in 1977, long before the popularity of sushi skyrocketed in America. He named his restaurant in honor of the one in Tokyo where he first learned his craft. Today he’s become a living legend among sushi fans, thanks to his pioneering vision and the consistent quality of his cuisine.
Where to Sit: Pull up a chair at the sushi bar and watch Chef Uezu put on a show. Other than the view of the chef at work, it doesn't really matter where you sit because the food is the real star. In fact, New York magazine once called Kurumazushi a "gloriously sceneless temple of toro."
When to Go: Plan to visit when your piggy bank is full. Meals here are expensive, with the omakase option starting at $300 based on market prices.
Ingredient Origins: Chef Uezu imports fish directly from Japan, meaning many of the selections are incredibly fresh and extremely rare in the United States. It's a system that led Zagat reviewers to tout the chef's work as "ethereal, next-level" sushi.
Omakase: chef-selected multicourse dinner, typically focusing on sushi. The word can be approximately translated as "I trust you"—a sign of confidence in the chef's craft.
In 2013, wd~50's owner and executive chef, Wylie Dufresne, finally won the James Beard Foundation's award for Best Chef: New York City. It was his sixth nomination. Since opening wd~50 in 2003, these prestigious nominations have become the norm for Chef Dufresne—though his cuisine is anything but typical. He approaches cooking from an avant garde angle, prompting the New York Times to describe him as "a skilled chef with more than a dash of mad scientist in him." This innovation has helped turn him into a bit of a culinary celebrity; he even appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, where he transformed puréed shrimp into gourmet ramen noodles.
The "mad scientist" portion of Chef Dufresne's résumé stems from his use of molecular gastronomy. This unconventional culinary approach relies on physics and chemistry to completely alter the tastes and textures of food, transforming ingredients into something completely different. Because of the complex techniques used to prepare the food, the restaurant's servers typically offer a detailed description of each dish they deliver, including its conception, preparation, and proper method of consumption.
Food preparation at wd~50 may not be simple, but ordering it is. That's because, rather than an à la carte menu, the restaurant only offers a 5- or 12-course prix fixe meal. This allows Chef Dufresne the freedom to orchestrate a dining experience from start to finish, one that introduces diners to exotic ingredients and exciting preparations that they might not have tried otherwise.