Monday, July 14, 2008

Kaitlyn's No-Fail Guide to Sushi Fabulousness

In my times, trials, and tribulations on the mean streets of Manhattan -- and even trickier times on the tree-lined blocks of the GC -- I have come to consider myself quite the sushi extraordinaire. Maybe it all started while interning at Fusia Communications last summer… After all, from accent to action, I seriously embraced the Pacific gal within me. So, let me take you from NY to the GC on a three-stop, rock-and-roll tour of my favorite sushi spots. Get out your chopsticks, prepare for a few sake bombs, and enjoy this Japanese delicacy, which has become my absolute favorite treat!

If you're in the mood for a TRENDY scene, HIP servers, PEOPLE-WATCHING (!), and the great OUTDOORS, step right into SushiSamba 7, located at 87 7th Avenue between Barrow and Grove Street in the West Village. Remember that time when Samantha doused the cheating Richard with her cocktail? Well, look a little closer next time after you chow down at the ultra-colorful SushiSamba. Congratulations, you've officially dined on the set of "Sex and the City," and perhaps enjoyed a cocktail or three on the very stool where Richard was royally and rightfully served. Colorful is no lie when describing SushiSamba. From the rainbow of tropical shades that deck the interior d├ęcor to the dynamic hoards of passers-by that you'll certainly spy while sitting at one of the coveted street-side tables, the variety at this place is unparalled -- and it doesn't stop there! With a Mexican twist on traditional sushi dishes, you are sure to experience an explosion of flavor in both your mouth and, unfortunately, your wallet. To avoid what could potentially be a pretty money-draining dinner, visit the hotspot mid-day. Their $20.07 (and, oh, what a crucial extra $0.07 it is!) price fixe menu runs until 4 PM, so embrace your inner Grandma and enjoy an early bird special if a lunchtime chow-down isn't in the stars. I've dined at SushiSamba many a time, often times while flying solo. Pop a squat on one of the outdoor tables (assuming New York quits this hair-shattering humidity we've been having), or keep it cool in the central air while tucked into one of the colorful and cozy booths. The rooftop deck for a cool cocktail after work also serves as a champion way to bring the happy into everyone’s favorite hour. Sip, sip. I’m sure I’ll see you there!

On another note, make sure to use the facilities at this amazing place, even if nature fails to call. Freshen up, send a text, whatever-- just go! This basement bathroom is more of a romantic walk through a jungle than a dirty NYC spot to break the seal.

If you’re in the mood for a POWER-LUNCH, CREATIVE rolls, DIM LIGHTING, and a BAR-LIKE atmosphere, spend your next New York minute in Chef 28, located quite purposefully on 28th Street between Madison and Park Avenue. I was turned onto this miniature Midtown East location in early May, and have religiously returned each subsequent week. With an undeniably fantastic lunch menu that boasts a full selection of Chinese cuisine in addition to some seriously eclectic maki (the peanut avocado is just to die for!), Chef 28 is the perfect place to run in and out of on your lunch hour. Two rolls, a salad or soup, and a crunchy noodle appetizer for under 7 bucks? It’s no wonder this place is a hit for dine-in and take-out. Though I’ve never been there at dinnertime, Chef 28 has a killer selection of special maki, with names ranging from “the Princess” to “the Fantasy.” Head on over. Fulfill your fantasy. Chef 28 is the perfect place.

If you’re in the mood for a CLASSY atmosphere , FRIENDLY staff, LONG ISLAND locale, and REASONABLE prices, join me in the GC at Sushiya, my all-time favorite Long Island restaurant and place to chow down on delectably raw fish. I have two words for you: SPIDER ROLL. This champion of champions makes me get up in the morning. I wish I were kidding. It’s just really nice to know that a quick shot-gun ride away is such an incredible explosion of flavor, texture, and overall amazingness. Just go. Just order a Spider Roll. Just make sure you ask. For some inane reason, thr Sushi Ya owners booted this little piece of heaven from the menu. Have no worries; regulars like me know it’s the hidden stuff that tastes the best.

Runners up:

1. Miso, Main Street, DUMBO Brooklyn. Great for a quick lunch. Take it out to Brooklyn Bridge Park down the road and enjoy your spicy crunchy salmon maki (my favorite Miso specialty) with some breathtaking views of the bridges, South St. Seaport, and downtown Manhattan.

2. Kodama Sushi, 8th Avenue, Midtown Manhattan. When in need of a super-quick pre-theatre meal, look no further than this hole in the wall. Fast service, dirt cheap prices, and proximity to every Times Square nook and cranny, Kodama mixes charm with fabulous food.

Bon apetit!