A, B, C, D, E, F, M at W. 4th St.-Washington Sq.; 1 at Christopher St.-Sheridan Sq.
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This venue is closed.
Chain restaurants are as compelling as chain letters, but Chanto’s imaginative cooking and sleek, seductive setting just may be the exception to that particular rule. Founded in 1992 in Osaka, Chanto chose the West Village for its 50th restaurant, and its first outside Asia. Stone tiles, red stucco walls, and pendant red lights outfit the downstairs lounge; upstairs, the dining room sports high ceilings, Austrian crystal chandeliers, abstract paintings in black and olive, and chestnut-hued leather chairs. Executive Chef Kiyotaka Shinoki has upgraded Chanto’s traditional izakaya, or pub, menu for New York, with posh ingredients like foie gras and Kobe beef, cosmopolitan presentations, and, of course, luscious sushi. The food uniformly excites the eyes and the palate, with Zen-like arrangements and assertive, complex flavors: King of kimchee features a leaf of fermented cabbage topped by a spicy-chili-sauced hash of sashimi cubes, watercress, cilantro, pine nuts and cashews. Sea-fresh, miso-marinated black cod sits on a raft of alternating green and white asparagus spears in a subtly tangy sauce made with sake lees — the highly prized and nutritious rice mash “dregs” of sake fermentation. Still somewhat under the radar since its spring 2006 opening, Chanto’s quiet virtuosity deserves wider appreciation.Drinks
Libations include signature cocktails, 30 sakes, 8 shochus, and wines, including Japan’s Chateau Mercian.Recommended Dishes
King of kimchee, $16; hirekatsu, $24; sautéed miso marinated black cod, $25