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RESTAURANTS • Counter Culture
New York has no shortage of chef’s choice counters, from sophisticated sushi to flawless French. Here now, three great counter-style experiences still flying under the radar (for now).
→ Wangbi (Koreatown), 37 W. 32nd St.: A couple weeks ago, Tony Park flipped the mezzanine of his boisterous K-Town barbecue joint Antoya into a refined, counter-style experience. To lead the traditional Korean flavor-rooted kitchen here, Park hired previous Jua chef Taewoo Kim, and the pedigree shows. The menu (seven courses, $125) isn’t overly fussy, with occasional truffle and caviar accents.
The Ticket: The beverage program is entirely based on sool: Korean distillates and brews you won’t find elsewhere in the city.
BONUS: At Anto, Park’s recent upscale entry in Midtown, the second-floor chef’s counter is also up and running (10 courses, $195). Don’t pass on the upper-level wine pairing ($225), which starts with Krug and ends with Bordeauxz icon 1998 Château Lynch-Bage.
→ Yakitori Torishin Select Counter (Midtown West), 362 W. 53rd St.: When yakitori specialist Torishin moved from the Upper East Side to Midtown West nearly a decade ago, owner Shu Ikeda added this haute, eight-seat omakase counter where the meal runs $190/$220 and spans roughly 20 courses, with skewers like chicken tail, Iberico pork, and the sleeper hit: the best tsukemen (dip-style) ramen in the city.
The Ticket: Torishin is the first yakitori spot in the U.S. to earn a Michelin star, and the pro tip here is to sit with owner Ikeda-san ––he’s behind the counter Wednesday and Saturday nights.
→ Shota Omakase (Williamsburg), 50 S. 3rd St.: Brooklyn isn’t known for omakase sushi, but chef Cheng Lin is putting Williamsburg on the map with his impressively priced $175 traditional Edomae menu laced with top-tier Japanese seafood, including mountains of uni.
The Ticket: Lin sources his fish almost exclusively from markets in Japan –– in fact, he shares a seafood buyer with some of the city’s most prestigious counters, including Yoshino and Sushi Noz. –Kat Odell