There’s a Reason Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds Say *This* Japanese Restaurant Is Their Favorite, Period
Do you like to break the rules? So does Tim Cushman, the creative and inventive chef behind o ya, an upscale Japanese restaurant in Kips Bay that's attached to the Parks South Hotel. Enter from the outside, and you will be greeted by bamboo and an upright bolder. Along the wall are tables for two, but we say it's more fun to sit at the long bar, where you can watch the o ya team work its magic. Similar to the modern, a-traditional feel of this space, the menu bucks sushi and sashimi expectations and adds its own spin to what we’ve all come to expect from Japanese cuisine—from tightly rolled sushi overwhelmed with an infusion of sauces, textures, and flavors, to hot dishes featuring seared Spanish octopus soba and shrimp tempura infused with bacon truffle emulsion. Seasonal ingredients and unexpected glazes—like onion aioli and tomato confit—will transform how you regard Japanese cuisine forever. (Did we mention it's Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds' favorite?)
Afterward, kick your feet up at Handcraft Kitchen & Cocktails—a similar modern American space with a schoolhouse vibe achieved with tons of wood and a set of chalkboards sharing menu specials. As per its name, the spot features food and materials throughout that lend homage to quality crafting done by hand. Alongside an extensive rotating beer and spirits menu—which highlights small-batch and local products—is a cocktail list that uses no pre-mixed ingredients or shortcuts. Try one of the hilariously named “dad drinks,” like the Rusty Nail, which includes scotch, drambuie, and unsolicited advice.
120 East 28th Street, Manhattan
HandCraft Kitchen & Cocktails
367 3rd Avenue, Manhattan