New York's Best Japanese Restaurant You've Never Heard Of

By Laura Cooper Brown of The Bowery Hotel
November 23, 2012 | New York, United States
New York's Best Japanese Restaurant You've Never Heard Of
Jen Woo / foodcomas.wordpress.com
Foie gras soba noodles

One of the most exceptional (and clandestine) dining experiences you're likely to find in the East Village — or anywhere else in New York for that matter — is found behind a Japanese butcher shop in a building once owned by Andy Warhol on Great Jones Street.

 

I've been sworn to secrecy, but here's what I can tell you: The restaurant in question, Bohemian, is more like a private dining club, and requires strict reservations. Which requires a phone number. Which is unpublished. Which means you either have to be referred by someone who's eaten there or send an email with "a brief introduction of yourself" through the restaurant's website (they'll hit you back if your request is successful).

 

So no, Bohemian may not be the easiest place in town to get a table, but it's well worth the Herculean effort. Behind the speakeasy-style set-up is beautifully designed minimalist-styled restaurant (think polished cement floors and mid-century furniture) that feels like you're eating in someone's living room.

 

The food itself centers around a $55 tasting menu that's Japanese inspired but full of international touches: expect everything from short rib sashimi and uni rice balls to wagyu sliders and foie gras soba. Every dish is exquisitely presented and even the plates look like unique objets d'art.

 

Bohemian is only open for dinner — but it's worth stopping by in the daytime when the shopfront space operates as Japan Premium Beef (JPB), a butcher like no other: for one thing, the guys working there look like they could have been plucked from a cocktail bar in Tokyo with their form-fitting shirts and thin black ties. And the meat (supplied to Bohemian and other top city restaurants) is from JPB's own "washugyu" cattle, a naturally fed crossbreed of Japanese Wagyu and American Black Angus that use no antibiotics or hormones.

 

Yes, their dry-aged ribeye is roughly $50 per pound. And yes, that's a fraction of what the pure wagyu would cost you in Japan.