Mon, 11:30am-11pm; Tue-Fri, 11:30am-midnight; Sat, 4:30pm-midnight; Sun, 4:30pm-11pm
C, E at 50th St.; 1 at 50th St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
30th St. to 70th St., Third Ave. to Twelfth Ave.
Japanese and Italian may seem strange culinary bedfellows, but owner Barbara Matsumura, inspired by a trip to Italy, and Chef Haru Konagaya of Haru blend the two with deft and more than a little daring at the fusion restaurant Natsumi in the Theater District. The trick here is to be adventurous with the imaginative appetizers, and then move on to the straightforward—and superb—sushi and sashimi. The finest starters are those that follow the credo of crudo, which applies bold Italian accents to fresh fish. The carpaccio hamachi is a case in point: Slivers of plump tuna come in a pool of tart balsamic vinegar; sprinkled atop are miniscule gelatinous cubes of martini (yes, martini), which pop with a liquid burst of gin in the mouth. In this neighborhood driven by pedestrian tastes—neon-lit Applebees is down the street—Natsumi plays it safe for the playbill-clutching tourists with a by-the-book Japanese interior: pale woods, paler leather chairs, and back-lit rice paper. As for dessert: Tempura cheesecake, anyone?Recommended Dishes
Hamachi carpaccio with balsamic vinegar, $13; Miso black cod, $15; sushi and sashimi mixed plate, $25.75