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I didn't have high hopes for this. It's a Nikkei restaurant, serving the Peruvian-Japanese fusion that's popular in Peru. (Nobu started this way, although over time its fusion became more generalized.) It's run by Minna Newman, who has a long history in New York restaurants (and -- who knew? -- is of Peruvian descent) and a Japanese chef named Taku Nagai. You can find it on the other end of that long block of W. 44th St. that DB Bistro (and the Harvard Club and the Royalton) is on.

 

So let's just say it exceeded my expectations. I went soon after it opened because one of the better meals I've had over the last few years was at Maido, the current leading Nikkei restaurant in Lima. This wasn't nearly as good as that, of course. But it was good.

 

I had their kaiseki, which they call "The Nikkei Experience" (the same name as the kaiseki I had at Maido, come to think of it.) I have to say that for $125, they give you a shit-ton of food. I think it was all stuff from the carte -- but given the variety (and since they let you specify any dishes you particularly want), this is clearly the way to go. There was so much food, I can't really remember any of it, much less identify any standouts. It was all good. Not fabulous, but good.

 

I went shortly after it opened (it's had a longggggggggg gestation), and was surprised to see it packed. Who are these people? I guess people do eat in Midtown. Nice, semi-formal room.

 

"Interesting" cocktails. Good sake selection.

 

This place is really worth a shot.

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  • 3 months later...

I had Christmas Eve dinner at Sen Sakana with my sister and Medium-sized H, and I found a lot to like about the place (not least that it's a no-tipping restaurant). We shared everything, so I got to try a fair number of dishes. The "addictive" cucumber is very nice, but it's basically just a sliced cucumber with ponzu and slivers of nori, and I did not find myself going into withdrawal when it was gone. The hot shrimp ceviche is more impressive, although if this is ceviche, then I'm the queen of Romania. It's a lot closer to bouillabaisse, with a rich, slightly spicy broth, head-on shrimp and some seriously excellent beech and maitake mushrooms. I don't remember the causa onigiri at all, except that there were potatoes involved. But I'd go back special for the unitate roll (and I don't particularly like sushi rolls), which was filled with scallop and watercress and dressed with a not insignificant amount of very good uni. I was the only one at the table who enjoyed the whole grilled orata. It was very austere, just a butterflied, somewhat overcooked fish on a big plate, but I like sitting around picking the meat off a fish skeleton.

 

I got a martini, 'cause the drink list was too fussy-pants for me. My sister was very taken with her pisco sour, which looked like a cappuccino and was - thankfully - not too sweet. The service was generally fine, except for an incident soon after we sat down, when our server decided to "highlight some of the menu" for us. Translation: point to the most expensive items and recite their descriptions aloud, word for word. Maybe she saw me fussing with my reading glasses and figured I needed the help.

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