fine dining

Min invited me to dinner as a guest to one of her PR firm’s clients pn Sautrday. It was a brand new – very trendy – Japanese restaurant called Ono (13th st. and 9th ave in the Meatpacking district), and we were treated to a Friends & Family tasting. The food was preselected, but we were allowed to view the menu just for kicks. We started off with two sets of appetizers – first, a salmon avacado roll with a piece of king crab on it as well as a sate mini-kabab with grilled salmon and mushrooms; next, sake steamed clams with scallions – a bit salty but deliciously pungent – together with two big slabs of tuna “ribs” cooked just like a well-prepared piece of medium rare beef, perhaps the best part of that night’s meal. the entree was called “surf and turf” and it consisted of a decent sized piece of kobe beef – tasted almost exactly like the way my grandma prepares big beef chunks at home – and on the same plate was a gigantic piece of king crab leg enough for two people. What supplemented our dinner very nicely was the wine – we started off with the chardonnay because it goes well with Asian foods but then once the beef came out, we had to switch to the shiraz, which was a luxury I had never experienced before – that is, switching from white to red wine mid-meal. The dessert offering escapes my memory, but I do remember one being a ginger-type pastry with a butter pound cake and baked, diced apples on top with a ginger-flavored scoop of ice cream and the other was a “chocolate miso” which was a fairly dry cone-shaped chocolate cake with a fudge-type filling towards the bottom accompanied by a scoop of sesame-flavored ice cream and some triangular shaped light pudding pieces. I exploited the free offer even more by asking for a cup of cappuccino. Min and I asked for a little tour around the outdoor patio – although a bit cold outside – and we got to see the beautiful cafe/bar setup as well as the cabana booths and a very large raised area with a bunch of tables for private parties. Indoors, we were shown the intimately-lit upstairs area where the seating reminded me of the black sofas in Lerner except a bit more appropriate for dining. The atmosphere and the decor looked absolutely beautiful. The bathroom had a very pretty shaped urinal and there is a communal handwashing area outside the men and women’s restrooms with an attendant waiting to squeeze soap, turn on water, turn off water, and hand you a towel. We each left $10 for tip, but still felt like the free meal was an unbelievable deal. And it was very cool that Min knew the background of the restaurant with her firm having worked with this famous “Jeffrey” restauranteur who also owns the controversial Rocco’s and the spectacular China Grill. I must say – as a college student in New York City, I do feel fortunate – and thank you very much Min – that I am privvy to such a unique and exciting experience. Hence, it becomes of record.

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