Now that I have a bit more time not commuting I’m going to try to backtrack some of the wonderful places I’ve had a chance to eat at in the past.

One of the first that springs to mind is Ebisu, owned by D&D London (formerly Conran restaurants). D&D London is always well known for all their stylish restaurants and Ebisu is no exception, housed in a harbour side building offering three different dining experiences (Italian, Japanese and Bar & Grill). Ebisu is just one of them.

Each table is complete with seasonings including white pepper, salt, and the lovely Japanese pepper mixture, Shichimi, all with a very nicely presented container. Whilst waiting for everyone to arrive for dinner we ordered some wasabi peas and some edamame. Although I wouldn’t think there to be that many differences, the wasabi peas were definitely the best I’ve ever had, strangely fresh and full of wasabi-goodness.


The following dish is the yellowtail carpaccio with an orange and ginger dressing. Light, summery and super fresh tasting.


Disappointingly the following dish, advertised as “rock shrimp” weren’t the same rock shrimp that is farmed in the US that I’ve had at both Nobu and Morimoto. The tempura shrimp was still delicious, light and crisp batter with the grated ginger and delicious dipping sauce.


Definitely the highlight for my meal was the Robata Grilled skewers. The one at the back my personal favourite (pork belly that was soft, lean and yet full of flavour), the other, a beef skewer with miso.


Freshening it up was a wonderful freshly cooked asparagus with yuzu hollandaise. The asparagus was perfectly cooked, still crisp yet soft at the same time. The yuzu flavour wasn’t particularly strong but present enough to give it that extra zing.


Service at Ebisu was pretty impeccable. Our tap water was filled up pretty consistently and we were asked enough whether or not things were okay. Whilst I’d probably keep this place as somewhere particularly special, it was a great treat during the week.

Name: Ebisu
Website: http://www.customhouse.dk/uk/customhouse.html
Location: Havnegade 44, 1058 København K, Denmark

King of Katsu (Katsuhama)

Katsuhama is a hidden gem just off the main tourist drag not to mention busy-as business strip, Fifth Avenue. It’s a Japanese restaurant that focuses on the golden panko-crumbed portions of food.

They have a small take away section also with but the best part is inside either near the sushi bar or at the many small tables. The menu is simple with different set menus or classic variations including katsu curry and katsu don(buri).

Our waiter, not Japanese, took our order without even writing down so we were sceptical about whether or not he would get it right. Almost immediately we were served a bowl of miso soup, I think, that was complimentary. Strangely I got a second bowl without even asking, I think because a waiter thought I wanted some more.

Assorted Katsu

Soon after we were done with the soup they soon brought out our meals, mine being the assorted katsu including a huge prawn, pork, chicken and a crab meat croquette. All of the fried items sat atop a small wire rack, alongside a large heap of cabbage that you dress with the sesame dressing that sits at the table. Complete with a small bowl of lovely Japanese white rice and the dark katsu sauce provides for a very filling meal.

Service was prompt with fresh green tea for free arriving immediately when we sat down. They also seemed to have plenty of excess salad with a waiter serving up a whole bunch more as soon as I had the last remnants in my mouth. I couldn’t even say no as he was too quick at plating it.

If you’re craving katsu, this is a great place and although slightly disappointed with the pork that was a little too dry, both the prawn and chicken kutlets were simply stunning!

Name: Katsu-hama
Location: 11 E 47th St, New York, NY 10017
Website: http://www.katsuhama.com/
The Good: Katsu perfection! What it does, it does well.
The Not So Good: Can be particularly crowded or crammed in.

Sushi Samba in the Village

My cousin told us about Sushi Samba last time, a restaurant serving food inspired by Brazilian-Japanese fusions. Apparently we have something like this in London, though I’d never heard of it before and apparently the combination of flavours isn’t particularly common since many Japanese people moved to Brazil. We went along to the one located in Greenwich Village, a brightly lit room with a sushi bar located in the centre, radiating out to the tables lined up against the wall.

We sat at a table almost right next to the bar, a good vantage point for looking out at the rest of the restaurant. It wasn’t particularly busy for a weekday, and apparently they have a rooftop open in the summer, something that’s both ideal and no doubt completely packed out on warm summer weekends.

Rock Shrimp

I started with two appetisers, unable to resist the temptation of the tempura rock shrimp. My last memory of rock shrimp was at Nobu, and at Morimoto, both served tempura-style, then covered in a sweet, slightly tangy and slightly spicy chilli sauce and since rock shrimp seem to only be farmed off the coast of Maine, so I thought that while I was in the states, I should enjoy it while I can. When it arrived, presentation was superb, and although the tempura batter more of a light flouring than it was a light batter, it still let the rock shrimp texture and flavour come through.

Lobster Ceviche

I also tried the lobster ceviche at the waitress’ recommendation and because I know that the market price for lobster is particularly reasonable at the moment with decreased demand and the normal farming levels. When it arrived, it almost looked like a whole lobster, with plenty of meat and fairly well dissected already that meant extracting all the flesh with chopsticks wasn’t too difficult. The sauce covering was light and spicy, giving enough heat and tanginess to highlight the sweet sublime flesh. Both dishes were pretty decent serves, particularly considering these were only appetisers, and I almost regretted ordering the two sushi rolls for the entree.

Daily Special and Samba 7 Rolls

Fortunately I didn’t regret ordering the sushi rolls, the first a Samba 7 roll (crispy lobster, scallion, cucumber, celery, jalapeño with wasabi-chimichurri dipping sauce) and then the daily special roll (kobe beef plus several other ingredients). Both rolls provided some interesting contrast with a bite of the Samba 7 bringing texture, crunch and undertones of heat through the wasabi-chimichurri dipping sauce, with the daily special roll bringing some smokiness and delicately strong flavours from the kobe beef.

Out of the many more fancy restaurants I’d visited on this trip to New York, I think that Sushi Samba definitely served the best food, delighting in flavour, presentation and general value. It’s got great atmosphere and the service was fairly good throughout the night. The restrooms are a little bit confusing, almost maze-like downstairs, and yes, unfortunately, they also had a person helping you out with soap and towels.

Name: Sushi Samba
Located at: Various location. We went to 87 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014
Website: http://www.sushisamba.com/
The Good: Interesting flavour combinations, quality presentation and great tasting food.
The Not So Good: A small reception might leave some of your party waiting in the cold. Confusing restrooms.

Faneuil Hall Wagamamas

Wagamama’s first chose Boston over New York to host a Wagamama’s. Why? I have no idea, but I can now attest it’s pretty consistent. My sister wanted to eat here since she’s trying to get to all of the ones around London and thought it’d be interesting to see how different the American counterparts were. Like all Wagamama’s, the one located in Quincy Market, looks like any other one with a fairly open kitchen, and rows of large communal dining benches with paper placemats hosting the menu.


Everything is eerily done pretty much on par, with the only notable exception for this particular joint being three staff serving all of the tables when all of the London one’s I’m used to, there seemed to be a fair number more. We noted that nothing on the menu seemed particularly different, or localised, even some of the specials we recognised from back home. Given that Boston is well known for its seafood, I had expected a number of different dishes, but I guess they have favoured consistency over branch uniqueness which I don’t really mind.


I had the Ebi (prawn) chilli men (noodles) and they had the same slightly tangy tomato sauce that I was used to. I can’t say that I was a big fan of the dish, but I think it’s the dish more so than the execution since I didn’t really like the chicken chilli men last time I had it. As you can see, the prawns here aren’t the giant shrimp you might sometimes see, but at least they were plenty full of flavour.

If you’re in Boston and haven’t made the leap across the pond, then I think you get a good idea about what the Wagamama’s experience is like from the one located in Quincy Market. The do have some decent dishes, and the service will always depend on the wait staff, who seemed adequately trained at this location as well. I think prices are reasonable (comparable to London prices) and even though the portions aren’t American super-sized, it’s plenty enough for a meal.

Name: Wagamama’s
Location: Wagamama, Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Website: http://www.wagamama.us/
The good: Consistency in another country is a good thing when it comes to chains, and Wagamama’s seems to have executed that perfectly well. Good quality food at reasonable prices.
The not so good: This is more of a reflection on the location more than anything but Wagamama’s doesn’t have their own restrooms, and you have to use the communal market ones.

Ninja New York

First things first, Ninja New York is kitsch. Okay, so what do you expect of a restaurant in Manhattan with a Ninja based theme? Of course you’re not going to be served by true Ninja’s, but at least it’ll all be a little bit different. My sister had this on her list to do last time we visited New York, and this time we got our cousins to come along (and book for us) so that we wouldn’t miss out. Their entrance is narrow and easy to miss, with a waist height sign the only marker declaring it’s presence.

Appropriately, lighting is dark, and with small rooms lining a small corridor complete with sliding wooden doors, it helps to keep the feeling a lot more intimate than many other Manhattan dining experiences where it seems all too easy to interrupt someone else’s conversation. I won’t spoil some of the surprises that you might read about on other websites, but let’s just say that you want to be a bit careful about where you walk, just in case someone surprises you.


Our waitress and other waiters dressed up in all black. I can only imagine what fun it must be to dress like that for work every night. With pure nonchalance (and plenty of drama), our waitress unscrolled the menus with, what seemed like, the quick flick of her wrist before laying down in front of us. The scrolls definitely add a nice touch, and gave us a good idea about what things that they serve. I think there were two in total, one with drinks, including a fairly large selection of cocktails, a set menu and with the a la carte simply presented on printed paper.


A great thing about a restaurant such as this is that they don’t force you all to order the same set menu, or even make sure that everyone on the table orders the set menu. In fact, we ended up with two of us doing a la carte, and the other two doing two different set menus that meant we got to see and try all the different flavours available. I think all of the set menus, starting at US$50, and going up to US$90 gave at least four different courses and with appetisers and desserts averaging US$12 and mains US$30, the base one is actually fairly decent value. I didn’t bother with any of the set menu, instead focusing on the dishes that weren’t available. I also didn’t order any sushi since I think it’s better to order something you wouldn’t get at other places and the sushi is going to be overpriced in a place like this. Instead, I started with the fish and chips (okay, not a Japanese dish) but marked with the star that means that they do something flashy with it. Don’t get too excited though since all of these tend to be either some sort of flaming dish, or served with dry ice so that the mist covers it all. Unfortunately my pictures of the fish didn’t turn out but I can attest that served a decent number of large chunks of crumbed fish finished off with, what seemed like, some baked crisps and a ponzu-soy sauce.


For my main, I ordered the Bonfire, a series of Lamb Chops sesame greens, a handful of plum tomatoes and a butter set alight with some yuzu seasoning to enrichen the dish. I was a bit hesitant to order the lamb since it’s not a meat that is super popular in the US however they had been perfectly cooked, soft and pink in the middle. Fortunately it was also one of the super flashy dishes, where they set the butter alight, that literally set the entire plate on fire only to subside adding that perfect char. Delicious and delightful to watch.


Finally I finished my meal with their tiramisu, perfectly shaped to look like a bonsai tree, complete with green moss emulated with tiny cake pieces. The best dessert, at least for a spectacle was the ninja star, something that my sister ordered. It seemed a bit baffling but it’s worth it for the quick blinding light that really does make you feel like you’ve just been stunned by a ninja. I really like the picture above that seemed to capture the essence of it.

Ninja New York was definitely a unique experience. I can’t say that it’s the best food or the most unique, but really you’re paying for the experience and the entire atmosphere. Kitsch comes with it, even complete with a table-side magician, but hey, it’s all part of the charm.

Name: Ninja New York
Found at: 25 Hudson Street, New York, NY, 10013
Website: http://www.ninjanewyork.com/t
The Good: Different atmosphere with plenty of table intimacy for Manhatten. Reasonable tasting food.
The Not So Good: Pricey for the food that you get with many dishes and their “ninja art” a little bit overplayed on the menu.