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Week of February 18, 2002

Negril Village
There's more to Caribbean cooking than beef patties and jerk chicken, or at least that's what owner Marva Layne is out to prove at Negril Village, the third restaurant in her rice-and-peas realm. Bigger and flashier than Negril and Island Spice, the new space has 100 seats, a downstairs bar called Rum Lounge (pictured), and a V.I.P. section. Co-chefs Paul Joseph and Pablo Trobo have collaborated on a culinary style they call Nu-Caribbean: an island mélange of dishes like smoked jerk marlin, tamarind-grilled pork on sugarcane skewers, and "Blue Mountain" steak with coffee-spiked rum and white yams.
70 West 3rd Street
 Cuisine: Caribbean


You'll never look at your afternoon cup of tea the same way after a meal at Kai. The 44-seat restaurant serving food inspired by kaiseki, the complex Japanese meal served after a tea ceremony, opens next week above the new Ito En retail shop (pictured), owned by Japan's largest producer of green tea. Those exquisitely presented courses are accompanied by tea or sake in handblown glass or painted copper cups. Four levels of prix-fixe dinners ($55, $70, $85, and $110 for the full-on omakase) are offered-lunch is à la carte-and most dishes are flavored with the restaurant's theme ingredient: striped bass roasted with tea leaves packed in a salt crust, green-tea noodles with silky tofu, and lobster-salmon-and-grapefruit salad with green-tea vinaigrette. If that's all too financially caffeinated for you, visit the downstairs shop, which specializes in tea paraphernalia and has a cherry-wood counter just for sipping.
822 Madison Avenue, at 69th Street
 Cuisine: Japanese


Cipriani Dolci
At the Grand Central outpost of the international empire, there's a train track embedded beneath an inch-and-a-half-thick sheet of glass. There's also tuna tartare, beef carpaccio with the signature Cipriani sauce, Bellinis galore, a "prosciutto tower," and, as the name suggests, plenty of desserts. Plus all-day service, sandwiches and salads, and, come summer, actual air-conditioning-a rarity in that landmarked terminal.
West Balcony, Grand Central Terminal
 Cuisine: Italian


This casual Japanese canteen comes to us via the owners of Menchanko-Tei, the noodle-shop chainlet. Only here, the name stands for "Original Noodle for You," and the focus is on customized ramen. Choose your broth, your toppings, and slurp. Or if that takes too much effort, go with one of the chef's specials, like kimchi menchanko, udon or soba noodles, fried calamari rolls, or Japanese-style fried free-range chicken.
357 Sixth Avenue
 Cuisine: Japanese



Openings Archive

Week of February 11
Calle Nueve
Week of February 4
Q Café , Cast Iron Cafe, Bouley, Michael Jordan's the Steak House NYC Wine Salon
Week of January 28
Ritz-Carlton New York at Battery Park, 3 Bow Thais

and more ...

Photos: From top to bottom- Patrik Rytikangas, Carina Salvi
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