Like most good ideas, Gymboree Play & Music didn't begin in a business meeting—it began out of necessity. In 1976, Joan Barnes, a California mom, found herself frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time. Knowing that other parents were undoubtedly feeling the same frustration, she took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play & Music. She consulted experts to design a curriculum of activities to foster the development of children’s cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play. She hired a nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beckwith to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers. And her staff began conducting entertaining classes covering subjects ranging from music to sports to impart valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. As their children learned and socialized, parents also found benefit in meeting and befriending other moms and dads in their local area. More than 30 years later, her vision has proved to be a success: more than 712 child-centered franchises now spread over 42 countries, bringing confidence and creativity to thousands of youngsters in several continents and to one in the center of the earth.
Chinese-American owner Yeh Ching brings the flavors she picked up while living in Malaysia to Canteen 82, teaming with her Hong Kong–born partner, Alan Lee, to further diversify the restaurant’s eclectic menu of Asian fusion fare. Dim sum influences abound, with house-made Shanghai soup dumplings served by the dozen, but small plates aren’t everything at Canteen 82, where robust entrees include a traditional Malaysian slow-cooked beef dish touted in a 2010 review by the New York Times. An espresso machine conjures velvety lattes to chase Malaysian-style curry puffs or dishes from a vegetarian menu to sate herbivorous patrons and their pet brontosauruses.
Fusha West blends traditional Asian cuisine with contemporary flourishes to create a diverse menu and extensive selection of delectable drinks in a modern bistro setting. Test the tongue's willpower with enticing edibles such as the spicy tuna tortilla, mixed with caviar, avocado, chives, and sesame oil, then crowned with wasabi ($12); the canadian roll, coils within coils of tempura shrimp, spicy snow crab, bacon, cucumber, and spicy mayo rolled in a sesame crêpe ($14); or the pad thai fettuccini peppered with chicken or shrimp and blanketed in pine nuts ($13). Unlike gravel-encrusted maple syrup, the extensive bar menu will gently coat gullets with a slippery slide of wines ($10), sake ($7–$15), and house-created signature drinks ($10), poured by the delicate fingertips of the knowledgeable staff.
Having just celebrated their grand opening, the chefs at Amcook Fusion Cuisine, a new sushi restaurant, fill their specialty sushi rolls with fresh ingredients such as spicy snow crab, avocado, and sweet mango. In addition to sushi the chefs feature Thai style green curries made with coconut milk and fresh basil and Japanese style yaki soba dishes of stir fried noodles with shrimp, onions, and mushrooms. Amcook Fusion Cuisine also offers an extensive lunch menu with daily specials and a traditional family dinner for Chinese New Year.
Whether seated at the open-air patio or in the half-circles of the corner booths, whose backs rise up like thrones over the hardwood floor, Hashi's guests find themselves surrounded by comfort. Once seated, they can browse through the eclectic Asian-fusion menu. Sushi comes in both roll and pizza form, with fresh fish mingled with soybean paper or kiwi sauce or served atop a crunchy crust. Diners can also pick out such homey delicacies as bento boxes, which channel the Japanese version of a brown-bag lunch with teriyaki meats, flavor-enhancing sides, and an intricate serving box with a note from the chef reminding you that you're special.
Ceetay's elegantly plated meals of grilled seafood, garlicky fried rice, and tender noodles tossed with colorful veggies tastefully blend the culinary influences of Japan, China, Thailand, and the United States. Like Bruce Springsteen lyrics embroidered onto a wool sweater, the interior evokes a post-industrial mystique that's strangely charming and cozy, with warm light from mason-jar chandeliers bathing small tables surrounded by walls clad in Chinese newsprint. Two small open kitchens allow patrons to watch chefs prepare meals of maple-kissed beef, soba-noodle stir-fry, or hazelnut crème brûlée. Interesting ingredients such as sea urchin, crispy salmon skin, and wagyu beef infuse sushi rolls with rich flavors and textures, and frosty Japanese beers and European and American wines offer suitable complements no matter the diner's dinner selection.
After working at bars and wine shops for 10 years, certified beverage professional Amanda Ladd wanted to find another outlet for her inner wine enthusiast. The result was Synesthesia NYC, a company that hosts socially wired wine- and sake-tasting classes. Ladd herself teaches the classes from inside Bamboo 52's modern sushi lounge, located in Hell’s Kitchen right next to Beelzebub’s Broom Closet. There, up to 30 guests sample artisan cheeses and high-end culinary treasures. Given the location, during the sake-tasting classes, students pair their premium sake with sushi rolls made during the class in the lounge’s kitchen.