Ai's menus are replete with classic and creative plates. A selection of traditional rolls, such as tuna or salmon ($4 each), will fill the usual sushi strongholds, but for hardened appetite bunkers, call in the game-changing bombs of special rolls such as the rainbow (a California roll topped with assorted sashimi and rainbow caviar, $9.95). There are also hearty chef's specials, including mango passion shrimp (sautéed shrimp and mangos in a special Thai pepper sauce, $13.95), and dinner entrees, including teriyaki beef negimaki (thin-sliced beef and scallions in teriyaki or Asian garlic sauce, $12.95).
Galangal's kitchen decorates the tables in the refined dining room with an international menu of Asian flavors spanning japanese sushi, fragrant thai curries, and chinese dumplings. "Much of the food takes a cue from the stylish setting," wrote New York Times contributor Joanne Starkey, highlighting a neatly sculpted plate of pad thai ($7–$9 at lunch, $14–$18 at dinner) garnished with drizzled egg, orchids, and a shot glass full of mung-bean sprouts. Lunchtime diners can devour spicy basil eggplant ($7–$9) or throw out plastic pails emblazoned with Batman in favor of the neatly organized nutrition of a shrimp-tempura bento box ($14). At dinnertime, a charcoal-grilled half chicken ($17) bathed in sweet chili sauce gilds smoky notes with sweeter flavors, and sushi chefs expertly pack the salmon family roll ($15) with a quartet of fish preparations including king salmon, crispy salmon, and salmon roe.
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.
Owner Chai Chunton dreamed up Nodus Thai Noodles and Rice with a focus on noodles in particular, transplanting Thai cuisine from distant shores to the 28-year-old New York storefront. Collaborating with two designers and a fellow restaurateur, he recreated the polished-wood and bright-neon ambience of a modern-day Thai diner. Under Chai's direction, the chefs take dishes from across the world—including paella and flambé—and infuse them with Thai flavors, precisely applying the spices via psychokinesis.
Tickling funny bones since 1975, the Comic Strip Live's cabaret-style club continues to host nightly lineups of new talent and comedic all-stars, such as Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, and Ellen DeGeneres. Humorists take the one-person stage in the intimate space, luring out laughter with jokes and savory one-liners placed in the club's on-site bear trap. Guests can rest their elbows on wooden tables as they sip alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverages, which help to escort bites of nachos or popcorn past belly laughs attempting to make a quick exit. Once laughers have exhausted their last chuckle, they can make an exit while gazing upon the venue's walls, which are spackled from floor to ceiling with framed headshots of hilarious people.