Zuma. 261 Madison Ave. NYC. 

New York restaurant critics – no doubt chagrined by Zuma’s belated opening in New York after successful outposts in Dubai, Miami, Istanbul and Hong Kong after the original London location – weren’t kind to the brand when it came to the city. Why should NYC be last on the list, why such an afterthought? After all, the super-rich haven’t stopped parking their money here. It might be easier to ignore such relics of the early-naughties, themselves far too close to the eighties’ slick and flashy izakaya abominations; for Zuma is definitely big and brash and pricey. Delusionaryculinary visited the Knightsbridge location in 2004 and again in 2014, but lunch in this midtown location on a hot summer’s day will be most memorable for the lamb chops, thick cut and marinated in miso, then seared over the robata grill until dark and sticky outside, and pink inside. Their version of a Chawan Mushi, remixed for dessert but less egg custard and more fruity-foam, was unbeatable. The $25 restaurant week lunch deal was in effect, and made it so much more accessible, but prices hover around the $21-23 mark for most dishes, which for such splendid fusion Japanese fare is really rather reasonable. Ignore the peacocks, get the lamb chops. 


Subway: Grand Central – 42nd st



Fette Sau. 354 Metropolitan Ave. Brooklyn. NYC 

  The most famous barbecue joint in Brooklyn had waiting times of up to an hour on some nights, though thankfully the buzz has died down; if there’s a group of you there can be a delegation of duties – those that get the drinks from the bar and those that get a table, with others holding their place in the line. The bar is not that well-stocked on spirits but has a sufficient choice of draft beers and a good range of flights. The food is reliably smoky, high-quality meat such as Black Angus beef brisket, Duroc pork belly, ribs and lamb bacon. Order these by the pound – a half for the hungry or quarter pound for the sensible should be more than enough per couple. Prices vary, but tend to be high: most choices were around $25/lb. Sides are excellent too: the garlicky broccoli and burnt-end beans ($3) were particular favourites – the sauerkraut was bland and pointless though. Try the hot sauce, which blends hickory and chipotle flavours, and the slider bread rolls are perfect to dip in the meat-grease. Nothing of interest here for vegetarians.


Subway: Lorimer st.