Thursday, July 15, 2010

Get Chopping With Those Chopsticks: It’s Restaurant Week!

Great news, food-lovers: Restaurant Week is here. Hundreds of the best restaurants in NYC serving a variety of cuisines extend affordable prix-fixe options through July 25!

Asia Society put together a drool-worthy list of Asian and Asian-Fusion Restaurants. If it's Japanese food you’ve got an appetite for, there are 15 participating restaurants all over the city. We especially recommend Matsuri, whose executive chef, Tadashi Ono, participated in Japan Society’s Hot Pots to Warm the Soul workshop last December, and Megu, whose chefs have also participated in past workshops. Morimoto, the restaurant spearheaded by Iron Chef (and one-time Japan Society panel participant) Masaharu Morimoto, has tasty bento boxes on the menu. And in addition, Nobu chef Nobu Matsuhisa who received the Japan Society Award last year for his contribution to U.S.-Japan relations, always serves up a tasty feast.

EN is always worth a visit, with master mixologist Gen Yamamoto (who participated in our Shochu tasting event last February) and taste-tacular tofu. SushiSamba 7 is a Japanese-Latin fusion joint, which has especially funky cocktails and worldwide notoriety from "Sex and the City". While it does get a little crazy on weekends, it has a rooftop terrace with great views of the West Village. And last but not least, if you find yourself at Japan Society to take in one of the final films in JAPAN CUTS (closing July 16!), check out Megu Midtown next door for classy twists on traditional Japanese cuisine.

Takoyaki: Image via Here

Tables for participating Restaurant Week eateries fill up quickly, so if you find yourself shut out from your first choice, there are many other options for Japanese delicacies. Check out the East Village’s Japantown with Sunrise Mart, where you can buy ingredients to make your own favorites at home. There are izakaya like Kenka and Go. Izakaya are often referred to as Japanese pubs that serve tasty, unpretentious food, like okonomiyaki (cabbage pancakes with bacon, scallions, kimchi and other veggies), takoyaki (grilled octopus dumplings), and lots of beer and sake drinks. My personal favorite is Otafuku, a street stand nearby. There’s nothing quite like munching on takoyaki al fresco!

If your interest in food goes beyond the culinary to the socially responsible and entrepreneurial, then make a reservation for Japan Society’s Table for Two: Connecting the World by Sharing a Meal Wednesday, July 21. Masahisa Kogure, director of the Japanese charity Table for Two, speaks about his organization’s rationale and the motivations for expanding it to the U.S. And don't forget only four weeks until our Japanese Cuisine 101 summer workshop for high school students.

Bon appetite! Or "Itadakimasu!" as they say in Japan!


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