Eating at home means having to deal with a call from your nosy neighbor telling you to eat vegetables with your stick of butter. Avoid Mrs. Tibbleworth and her binoculars with this Groupon.
$30 for $50 Worth of Japanese Cuisine
The à la carte small-plates menu includes cold fresh tofu ($7.95), duck paired with baby greens and egg ($16.95), simmered Berkshire pork belly ($10.95), and grilled saikyo black cod ($17.95). The chef’s tasting menu, omakase, treats diners to eight seasonal dishes such as black cod in Kyoto miso marinade and grapefruit agar gelee ($65/person, two diner minimum).
For most Americans, Japanese food simply means sushi. Zenkichi defies this narrow definition by eschewing sushi altogether and serving contemporary, Tokyo-style small plates inspired by the homesick restaurant owner’s native city. The elaborate dishes, which feature lavish ingredients such as homemade creamy tofu, all-natural filet mignon tataki, and grilled saikyo black cod, have turned the restaurant into a New York magazine Critics' Pick and earned impressive Zagat ratings. Cooks prepare an à la carte menu that changes every three months, as well as omakase—the chef’s tasting menu—that changes every six weeks to eight weeks to incorporate the season’s freshest vegetables and seafood. Raw jewels of the day with super-fresh sashimi or a sweet duck salad with baby greens pair with more than 50 varieties of Zenkichi’s pure, all-natural rice sake.
To actually get into the restaurant, guests must seek out an unmarked, nearly invisible door in a massive, wood-paneled building. Inside, lantern-lit corridors forested with bamboo and lined with flagstone pathways lead to booths with adjustable shades that can unroll to conceal diners as they gaze at each other romantically or prove that they do in fact have two belly buttons. A buzzer summons the waiter whenever guests want more sake or innovative desserts such as a grapefruit agar gelee made with Japanese seaweed or a frozen, chocolate-based black-sesame mousse.