Barn Joo 35

34 W 35th St. New York, NY 10001 • (212) 564-4430 • barnjoo35.com

348s

So apparently the second time’s a charm, because this one is SO much nicer than the one on 19th street. A décor that is cool, yet also warm and inviting with its raw wood tones. Which paradoxically somehow works, just like their modern twist on Korean classics such as bulgogi tacos.

Speaking of which, the tacos are actually just okay by comparison to the much more impressive kimchi pancakes mixed with bacon. Whoa nilly! They’re sure to have you clamoring like the dog in the Beggin’ Strips commercials.

They even offer their BBQ with a fun zag, done the way of the Japanese, over a hot stone as opposed to the usual Korean MO. We opted for the duck and it was a solid good.

Also good is the price of sake. Downright reasonable if you ask me. What isn’t reasonable, however

Last but not least, for dessert we ordered the churros with vanilla ice cream and I know what you’re thinking. Tacos? Churros? Is this place Mexican or Korean? I believe it’s the latter, but then again, they were some pretty impressive churros, so go figure.

3 teeth

Sushi Samba

87 7th Ave S. New York, NY 10014 • (212) 691-7885 • sushisamba.com

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I hadn’t been to this place in a while, but I used to go a lot back in the day and I really loved it for its inventive blend of Latin meets Japanese. I know, isn’t the whole fusion thing already over? And it is, but this place was born back in the heart of the fusion-explosion, when fusion dishes weren’t on every menu from Boston to Bangkok. In those days (Christ, I sound like my grandfather talking about the days when you could buy a cart full of groceries for under five bucks) you had to go to a fusion restaurant if you wanted to experience a unique blend of cultural tastes.

And unique it was, with things like foie gras atop pieces of tuna sushi, garnished with flakes of gold (pictured), live mini crabs that crawled across your plate, until you ate them, of course. And ceviches that knocked your taste buds on their collective asses. But that was then. Unfortunately, the last time I went, things had slid a little, especially in comparative context when you take into account that fusion is now a given and the game has been raised everywhere else. But that was a bit ago, so perhaps they got their groove back. If they did, it’s well worth the visit. Hell, if they did, someone please tell me ASAP, because I would head back in an instant. After all, once upon a time they were the ones who gave a much needed shot in the arm to the sushi norm.

3 teeth