Located on the second floor of Tribeca restaurant MEGU, M Lounge's swank, nightclub-like atmosphere comes with a striking view. An 800-pound temple bell and a Buddha ice sculpture dominate the dining room below its sleek balcony. The lounge itself doesn't lack for opulent decor, either—300 rolls of antique kimono fabric line the low-slung walls.
An American-style bar with Japanese flair, M Lounge translates MEGU's style into casual atmosphere. Patrons can pick from a long list of craft cocktails, including Japanese-inspired takes on the margarita and the bellini, or opt for bottle service as they recline on plush couches. Waitresses will also deliver dishes from an extensive food menu, which includes Megu's original kobe beef burger.
Rosanjin is named in honor of one of Japan's most celebrated potters, Roasanjin Kitaoji, so it's fitting that each course of the restaurant’s signature kaseiki dinner arrives to tables in an asymmetrical ceramic bowl. Traditional kaseiki meals follow an elaborate, stylized progression, and the chefs at Rosanjin carefully time the intervals between the eight small courses of the set menu. All the chefs at this Michelin-Star bistro have been classically trained in Kyoto, and their dedication to the execution of the kaseiki meal reflects their education. They cook each of the eight courses to order, culminating in a dining experience that can last more than two hours. The textures and presentation vary, with sashimi, fish broth, and rice balls.
There are just a handful of tables in Rosanjin's uber-chic dining room, imbuing the space with an intimate air. Within the minimalist space, owner Jungjin Park often pours hot cups of sake and chats with guests.
Celebrity Chef David Bouley once said, “I don’t follow recipes.” Instead, he calls on a gift for flavor and presentation to curate menus designed with his diners’ interests in mind, preparing each dish to order. Though Bouley doesn't cook at Brushstroke, he's taught Chef Yamada—the restaurant's head chef—and the students of the Tsuji Culinary Institute to take the same care with his Kaiseki, or traditional Japanese cuisine presented in an artistic sequence. And his protégés learned it well. The kitchen’s handiwork has been lauded by The New York Times, Gayot, and New York Magazine, among others. In GQ’s list of America’s best new restaurants of 2012, on which Brushstroke ranks second, Alan Richman gushed that the eatery serves “the most wonderful food you’ll eat that’s nothing like any food you’ve had before,” and “the most implausibly delicious dessert I’ve ever eaten.” To live up to these accolades, Chef Yamada and his team harnesses the freshest seasonal ingredients—sourced from Japan as well as local producers—as he crafts unique courses around specific flavors and ingredients. He and his team plate each serving of sashimi differently, sculpting dishes that are as tempting to the eyes as they are to the tongue, based entirely on the unique cut of the fish. Chef Yamada also graciously proves that he's as dedicated as Bouley when it comes to providing a unique customer experience: Not only does he create dynamic menus for customers with food allergies or restrictions, but he will craft a personalized menu for returning guests who have already sampled his current offerings. At the sushi bar, Chef Ichimura practices knife sleights-of-hand, continuing the eatery's trend of personalized dining. He pays close attention to his guests' drink orders, and customizes the upcoming courses based on the flavors hidden in each of mixologist Gen Yamamoto’s complex creations. The drink expert blends fruits, vegetables, and Japanese herbs into his sake cocktails, which are equally as notable as the cuisine.