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Food & Wine Ground >> Ninja NYC

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3/31/08 10:49 AM
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Edited: 31-Mar-08
Member Since: 03/15/2002
Posts: 6496
Massive FRAT

So I've been wanting to come to Ninja for a while, and I finally made it out on Friday night. There were six of us. Here's a review.

For those who don't know, Ninja is marketed as a Ninja village dining experience in 21st century New York. My gf made reservation for 6 people, and when we showed up, they couldn't find the reservations. Not really a big deal since they seated us anyway.

The entrance to the restaurant is pretty small, with a hostess whose sole responsibility is to call downstairs and get you an elevator. You take the elevator one level down. As the doors open, a ninja jumps out at you with a katana screaming something in fake Japanese (so much for ninja stealth). After the initial shock, you are welcomed to ninja, and led through a dark, cramp corridor, while ninjas come out at you from behind corners and try to scare you. Cute.

The interior of the restaurant is pretty cool actually. There's a lot of work to make the place look very dark and old, plus a lot of accents to make it look 'Japanese'. Our table was very large. There was more than enough room for 6.

Service: Our waiter was very good. He understood that the whole thing was way over the top, and had fun with it. The service was excellent through and through. Can't compliment him enough.

Drinks: I had a sake tasting. It was 4 selections of unfiltered sake, and the choices were fantastic. The specialty mixed drinks were pretty decent as well. They have a full bar, and it was, for the most part, high quality.

The food: They had a regular ala-cart menu, as well as a choice of tasting menus. I'll just touch on some of the dishes. The best thing about the food was the presentation. I have to say, I was very impressed with some of the 'art' dishes. There was a scallop dish served inside a hollow blood orange, with a dagger through it. The server asked the person who ordered the dish to remove the dagger, so there’s some fun audience participation. There was a sashimi dish served in a bowl floating on smoking dry ice. There was a clam dish served at the table, where the waited set the dish aflame with a battle cry. Very entertaining presentation. Most of the food was very good.

I did find several things questionable. The sushi that was served with the tasting menu was very average. There's a pretty high standard set in NYC, but they should have tinkered with the rolls, especially since everything else is so over the top. The tasting menu included a small porterhouse steak. It was decent, but I question including a steak in a Japanese place, which obviously doesn't specialize in steak. All the other entrée’s were good.

Between dinner and dessert, a magician ninja came to entrain us. He spent about 10 minutes at the table doing simple slight of hand tricks. The thing is they were executed tremendously. I was seriously impressed with the guy's skill and showmanship. It was a great little addition to the entertainment. 

The desserts were very good, and again the presentation was excellent.

The bill, with drinks and 20% tip (which they include for parties over 5ppl) was $560. Not bad, considering the entertainment and the overall experience.

The verdict: Great place, and a very good grown-up theme restaurant. I enjoyed my experience, but I would not go back, unless I was taking a guest or a client. Good for groups, but do not go for the food alone, as there are much better choices in the city.

4/26/08 11:04 PM
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Edited: Apr 26 2008 12:00A
Member Since: 7/15/05
Posts: 2607
Maybe I'll go, good review.

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