When looking for a power lunch in Hell’s Kitchen, check out Sushi Seki Bar & Oysters. Their newest and flagship location at 365 West 46th Street offers two distinct atmospheres for dining in the pre or post theatre dinner hours and has a wonderful menu of Japanese food and artisanal cocktails. They recently began offering lunch Monday through Friday from 11:45am to 2:15pm on the lower level. Their chefs offer sushi, soups, salads and Udon and Soba noodles, but the jewel of this daytime menu is the “Teishoku” lunch. General manager Yasu told me that they wanted to make a “balanced and nutritious lunch” that will leave you sated with plenty of energy to get through the rest of the day.
What’s a power lunch without a cocktail? Our meal began with two selections from Sushi Seki’s artisanal cocktail menu. The Matcha, a perfect-for-summer concoction of rum, matcha, coconut, kinako (toasted soy flour,) and kuro-mitsu (a simple syrup.) I seriously wanted to be poolside when I sipped this smooth and silky cocktail. The Tonin is a take on the traditional brunch favorite Bellini with peach nectar and prosecco and the addition of orgeat. This is a great choice if you are looking for a sweet and rich drink to sip on. Other offerings from the cocktail menu include, Lychee, Koubai, and Umami, a gazpacho vodka and clamato juice riff on a Bloody.
We set our minds to the “Teishoku” menu, a selection of low-cal lunches centered around 4 different main dishes and presented with miso soup, rice, and other healthy selections. I was expecting a bento-style box with a few fancy touches, but was floored when a huge tray of food was presented to each of us. The Yuzu Miso Cod, a marinated, broiled black cod, seemed to be the house favorite, but I was unable to resist the call of the Tonkatsu “Pork Cutlet.” My companion, Teresa chose the selection of 12 seasonal Assorted Vegetables. Chicken Teriyaki is also available if you are looking for poultry.
The Tonkatsu “Pork Cutlet” is a lightly breaded and deep fried piece of pork that is good on its own or with the sweet and savory tonkatsu sauce that accompanies it. While the pork was tasty, it really took a back seat to the accompanying dishes. Small helpings of Miso Soup, Pickled Veggies, a jammy and plum-like Seaweed, and Spinach with Tobiko Flakes that was absolutely delightful. (The tobiko seemed to really bring out the sweet side of the spinach.) The tray also included Eggplant, Tofu, Rice, and a small dish of Fruits.
The Assorted Vegetables, which come with the same small dishes as the three carnivorous menu items, were either lightly fried in tempura or steamed and served with tofu and sweet daikon sauces. The highlight of this dish was the seasonal bamboo chute which was cool and crisp and infused with savory flavor. Teresa, who loved the atmosphere of the place, said “the bouquet on her plate” was just as beautiful.
We ended our meal with a tasting of Yamamomo and Matcha Creme Brulee and Strawberry Mochi and a wonderfully toasty-tasting Green Tea that left us both at ease and energized.
While these meals seemed to be a lot to take in visually, all of the tiny dishes worked together to give just enough of each flavor they highlighted. None overshadowed another. The chefs did a great job of providing a power lunch. With plenty of food on our trays, we left full, but ready to attack the rest of our errands that afternoon. For more information on Sushi Seki Bar and Oysters, visit http://www.sushiseki.com.