Category Archives: Japanese

FOOD - "The Delicious" - Japanese

Haru sushi: Date Night!

February 7, 2013

By Nicci Jordan Hubert


My husband and I had the pleasure of trying the Restaurant Week menu at Haru Sushi in Gramercy. From the moment we walked in, we knew we were in for the perfect end to a long work day. There was something about the soothing entryway waterfall and dark-lit space that made us instantly shed our frenetic Friday energy and finally take a deep breath.



The food helped too. It was beautifully presented and carefully served. We loved the luxurious tuna tataki salad with delicious avocado slices; the fish was lightly seared and full of flavor.

Tuna tataki

Steamed dumplings

But I do have to admit that the king crab dumplings were surprisingly fishy and lacking in nuance (the kind of sumptuousness you expect from king crab was not to be found). Still, the main course was a total success. We loved the gorgeous sushi and sashimi and the specialty rolls were so fresh and crisp with the perfect amount of spice.


Sushi and sashimi

The desserts were as up and down as the main course. We absolutely devoured the tempura cheesecake, it was insanely good. The bananas and chocolate dish would have been amazing, but I’m pretty sure the chocolate sauce was Hershey’s, which kind of ruined the experience of it a little.

Tempura Cheesecake

Banana and chocolate

Comparatively, though, in terms of the other Americanized-sushi places in the city that I’ve tried, Haru ranks pretty high. And at Restaurant Week prices, the space, excellent service, and spot-on sashimi make it a worthwhile trip!


Meal: Dinner
Occasion: Date night!
Price: $$
(Out of three stars)
Ambiance: ***
Food: ***
Service: ***
Would I go back?: Yes!

Restaurant Info:
Haru Sushi

220 Park Ave S
at 18th St.
New York, NY 10003

“Like” Beauty and the Feast on Facebook
Follow Beauty and the Feast on Twitter

FOOD - "The Delicious" - Japanese

My Date with Iron Chef Morimoto (Aka a party I attended which he also attended)

December 10, 2012

By Nicci Jordan Hubert

Chef Morimoto

There’s no place quite like the multi-purposed Tribeca Cinemas to have a party, especially when Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto is in the house.

Tribeca Cinema

I had the pleasure to join the lovely people at Kikkoman for a celebratory event, which featured a showing of their new Make Haste Slowly documentary—directed by the Academy Award Nominated Lucy Walker—and a menu by Iron Chef Morimoto which showcased Kikkoman sauces. I had never tasted Chef Morimoto’s food before, and was curious it if would live up to the hype. For any of you who have been to his restaurants, you know: it’s not hype, it’s fact.

Soba noodles' humble beginnings

The flavors were nearly breathtaking–with almost every bite, I involuntarily closed my eyes. From the huge bowl of lotus root chips paired with a dazzling, perfectly balanced wasabi mayonnaise, to the crunchy and comforting yellowtail tacos with Kikkoman rice vinegar, the menu was unforgettable.

Even better was the demonstration that Chef Morimoto and his team put on, featuring the butchering of a whole. luscious tuna and the hand-made creation of soba noodles. As Chris Treager would say, it was literally one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. The precision and speed those chefs put into the preparation of even the food’s ingredients was inspiring to me. Not just culinarily inspiring, but also in life: hard work and elbow grease and detailed precision yield the best results.


A traditional sake cup

You would be stunned at how quickly he created that tuna rose

Perhaps intentionally, perhaps not, the amazing effect of the night was that the pairing of the chefs’ detailed and hard work with the Kikkoman documentary, Make Haste Slowly, was wholly unified. The film, which was charming and surprisingly engrossing, celebrated the centuries-old Kikkoman brand, its humble beginnings, and its devotion to Kikkoman’s 16-article creed, which includes notes like “Preserve discipline and maintain tradition” and “true earning comes from the labor of sweat.” The documentary was obviously a corporate branding strategy, but I certainly drank the Kikkoman kool-aid (I also drank the sake served at the viewing, of course) and vowed then and there to only buy Kikkoman soy sauce.

Tricked out bartenders

In the end, it was a gorgeous portrait of the people who make up the massive corporation. Once again, even their branding strategy exemplified their creed. This time it was article number 6, “Business depends upon people.”

What Kikkoman did at Tribeca Cinemas was altogether according to their creed: they worked hard and they chose the right people. And the result was indeed prosperous.

“Like” Beauty and the Feast on Facebook
Follow Beauty and the Feast on Twitter

FOOD - "The Delicious" - Japanese - Spanish/Latin American - Tapas

Zengo in Midtown East

April 18, 2011

I gotta admit, when I first heard of Zengo, I didn’t think it’d be so great (the name doesn’t lend itself much to first impressions). That and its dank location (40th and 3rd…I just think…suits…and…buildings…and…and yeah that’s also the first time I ever used “dank” on this blog). Plus the outside pretty much looking like a giant misplaced club made me a little dubious. But walk inside, and you’ll begin to realize all that is misleading (claustrophobics rejoice, this place is huge).





“Zengo,” turns out, is actually Japanese for “give and take.” The Latin-Asian cuisine mix keeps things interesting, as well as the gorgeous interior. It’s one of two locations by chef/restaurateur mogul Richard Sandoval (the other located in DC). We shared almost all of the plates, so let’s start with how I did NOT think I would be digging the seafood as much as I did. The bluefin tuna flatbread and fish tacos were particularly amaze.

Bluefin Tuna smoked gouda, frisee lettuce, orange, sambal aioli

Charred Tuna Wonton Tacos: sushi rice, mango salsa, guacamole

Volcano: seared salmon, red crab, cucumber, chipotle aioli

Vegetariano Roll: soy paper, lettuce, cucumber, avocado, bell pepper, caper aioli

But my personal hero was the shrimp ceviche (thai sweet shrimp, aji amarillo, citrus, cucumber, avocado, cilantro, red onion). I love an interesting mix of tastes, and this was fresh, light, and tangy.

Shrimp ceviche

We also got an ordered a few steak churrascos (Skirt Steak Churrasco grilled onion, crispy fingerling tostones, mushroom chimichurri sauce, chipotle egg sauce). The sauce made it even a little spicy:

Steak churrasco with a side of potatoes

Salted Edamame

The service was also pretty impeccable and the mix of small round tables makes it a good pick for business meetings and the longer cafeteria-style ones makes it perfect for a large group (like our party of 12). So yeah. We were pleasantly surprised. That’s what I get for pre-judging. NYC-1, Shy-0.

Restaurant Info:

622 Third Ave at 40th St
New York, NY 10017
Midtown East/Murray Hill


“Like” Beauty and the Feast on Facebook
Follow Beauty and the Feast on Twitter

FOOD - "The Delicious" - Japanese - Seafood - Travel Feasts

Tatsu Sushi Bar in Chicago

March 4, 2011

Fried calamari

As some of you may know, I’m not big on sushi. I don’t hate it, I will occasionally order it…I’m just not a big sushi buff. I’ve definitely had good sushi before, but I guess my ambivalence makes sense because I’m generally not very big on seafood. But here’s the other thing about sushi– it’s like eight bites. Some people can get full on eight bites, and others are…like me? Anyway, I just don’t really have ‘sushi cravings’ or whatever. I tried to explain to this to my sister who LOVES sushi.

“SO…you don’t like sushi?”
“No, it’s not that I don’t like it…I just never crave it.”
“SO…you don’t like sushi?”

She can do this for hours. I think she eventually went on this “Let me convince Shyema to like sushi” thing because the last time I was in Chicago, she said once I eat Tatsu, I’ll have a different opinion. And when you go to Tatsu, apparently the thing to order is the crispy shrimp.

Crispy Shrimp sushi

Unless you’re Shaf, then you just order whatever the hell you want. I have no idea which kind she had, but here’s a pic (I wanna say salmon?):

Shaf wanted to be different.

And OK. I have to say, it really was one of the best I’ve had. The fried calamari we ordered (top) was also delicious. I was afraid my sister was going to hype it up, but I’ll give her props.

BUT back to my original point — it’s like, eight bites. I was happy, but not full. I kid you not, right after this we went to a Chinese restaurant next door to order their sweet and sour soup because apparently that’s the best too. Afterwards, we were walking to the car and I saw Busy Burger. I asked my sister if it’s any good, and she said it’s amazing….soooo I ordered a cheeseburger. It was freakishly amazing…so much so, I think it deserves it’s own post. Unfortunately, I downed that thing so fast, I didn’t even get to take a pic. And it was $3.75…$3.75! That’s unheard of in NYC (I love you, NY…but seriously, what the hell??).

Right after that, we may or may not have ordered three pies of Domino’s.

I wish I made this up.

Restaurant Info:
Tatsu Sushi Bar and Pan Asian

1062 W. Taylor St.
Chicago, IL 60607


American - Chinese - Dessert - Diner - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Italian - Japanese - Mexican - Pizza - Tea/Drinks

The Top 15 foods I miss at U of I

December 13, 2010

The Quad at U of I Photo Credit:

This post is going to be really fat of me. But remember I mentioned that there were so many dishes I missed from my college days at UIUC? Well, I wasn’t kidding when I said I was going to compile them in a list. I think it’s also where my interest in food heightened since there were so many options (I have my fat pictures to prove it…you’ll probably never see them though). I’m not sure if all of these are even standing still, but regardless:

15. Coffee filet steak from Radio Maria. One of those hidden gems in Champaign that created unusual combinations with common food. Hence, the coffee steak.

14. Eggplant parm sandwiches from The Great Impasta.

13. Making customized pizzas at Za’s — I love the thin crust, pesto sauce, and sun dried tomatoes, and topping them with juicy pineapples. I also miss filling in a fake name on my order. They could never say my name right, anyway.

12. I can’t remember what was there before, but I wasn’t super excited about the Union changing the corner cafe to Serendipity. Until I had their green tea ice cream.

11. Biaggi’s. It’s definitely a bit farther away, but I loved this Italian restaurant out in Savoy — the calamari, pastas, chicken dishes and their assortment of bread to start.

10. Aroma Cafe. A good place to study if you need a change of scene from the main campus.

9. Rainbow Garden‘s General Tso chicken. I believe it was halaal, so some of the rare times we found a place my halaal-eating friends could agree on.

8. Gyros from Niro’s Gyros. I actually didn’t realize how much I missed it until I visited my sister in school a few years ago.  PS, everyone in freakin NYC still makes fun of me when I say “gyros.” They all say it like JY-rOs here, and we say GEE-Ros….I know technically we’re both wrong, but I still think saying it our way is closer to the proper way (which is pronouncing it “yee-ros”). Leave me alone and let me eat my food.

7. Tuesday nights at Espresso Royale Cafe that I think was on Gregory, where they had open mic night and this happy guy on the ukele would always perform. He was such a happy man.

6. Sushi from Miko. I know I’ve said I’ve never been a huge fish fan, but this place was the first place I ever had sushi. It’s more sentimental in that way, the first time in a long time I actually stepped out of my usual picks and tried something new. They also have hibachi-style cooking!

5. Shrimp fajita quesadillas from Dos Reales. Heaps of melted cheese on a shrimp/rice burrito. So bad for you, but so delish.

4. Papa Del’s Pizza. Man, I miss thick crust pizzas.

3. Cookie Monsters from Cheddar’s. Oh man. A giant, fresh-out-of-the-oven cookie topped with vanilla ice cream and chopped nuts. Heaven every time.

2. Late Night’s at Busey-Evans. Chocolate covered strawberries and turtle white mochas at only the expense of a vulnerable freshman with extra swipes? Yes, please.

1. Pokey stix from Gumby’s. Still haven’t found bread sticks remotely close in deliciousness. It’s basically thick pizza dough, which they smother with a “secret” blend of garlic butter and Italian seasoning, layer with mozzarella, bake again, and brush with a little more sauce. Also accounted for 90% of my college obesity.

I probably miss paying $4 for a meal the most. Four dollars in NYC can get you a piece of lettuce at best. Live it up, U of I youngins.


CHARITY - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Japanese - Tea/Drinks

Koi Holiday Gift Drive

December 8, 2010

By Melissa Stephans

Koi New York, the Japanese restaurant known for signature dishes like Crispy Rice Topped with Spicy Tuna, is in the giving spirit this season.  Starting this Friday, December 10th, the Bryant Park Hotel’s popular dining spot is giving customers a complimentary sake, champagne, or cocktail of choice for every unwrapped children’s book or toy donated to them ($10 minimum value).  All toys and books will be donated to the Today Show Toy Drive, benefitting needy families all over the United States.

For those of you who have not yet tried Koi’s cocktails, now is your chance.  They are delish.  Besides, what’s better than doing good and getting a free drink for your kind deed?  Hurry up, though, since Koi’s generous offer is good through December 19th.  That’s plenty of time to drink and be merry, all in the name of giving!