The Lobster Club. 98 E 53rd St. NYC

There were premonitions of a very similar restaurant in London before I entered The Lobster Club on a Tuesday night recently, and I was right; in decor, service and Japanese-inspired menu, this was just like Sexy Fish. It is also frightfully expensive and ultimately a little disappointing.

Major Food Group’s new venture in the Seagram’s building (under where the Four Seasons restaurant used to be and those red-black Rothko murals were meant to hang) has no soup, tofu or noodles, but plenty of Asian fusion and crudo fish dishes. The Wok Lobster was a sweet-chilli delight and the Yuzu Black Bass was light and citrusy, with no flourishes. The Curry Chicken Wings, however, were curry powder-coated and lacking any other flavor, almost like a British coronation chicken salad. The octopus was only saved by its herby lemon cream sauce that we eventually used to dip other items into. The Ume Rice is delicious, filled with fragrant notes and fluffy in texture; if only there was more of it.

Dessert was recommended to us as the diners’ favorite: soft, black-sugar Okinawa cake which was basically a sticky toffee pudding of which we had to get a second serving.

The wine list is extensive and the sommelier we had recommended a sensational Burgundy; however, service is generally unremarkable (at times nonexistent) and the lurid furni colors, flashy clientele and Richard Prince paintings may not cater to everyone’s tastes. There are other Japanese-fusion joints with far better food, so spend your money at Zuma instead.


Subway: Lexington Ave/53rd St.


Jeju Noodle Bar. 679 Greenwich St. NYC

This mid/upscale Korean restaurant is basically a boutique ramen joint that NYC is so fond of these days – just don’t say ramen, as ramyun is distinct from its Japanese cousin. Kimchi flavors abound, and because Douglas Kim, the Michelin-starred chef from Per Se is at the helm, the finest meats and broths are used. The Toro Ssam Bap (fatty tuna, scrambled egg, Tobiko rice) is served in a small bowl with nori to wrap/fold it in; at $23 it’s a little pricey for a mushy mix that feels masticated before it even enters your mouth. The chicken wings were plain and uneventful, but the real stars were the ramyuns: the Gochu was spicy and punchy, while the Jeju was rich and creamy, with the veal broth and brisket meat well paired. Some hits and misses then, but worth a look if you’re walking around the Village in need of a hearty bowl.



Subway: W4 St/Washington Sq