Whether Haru’s reputation as the Dos Caminos of the sushi trade is deserved, the chain keeps growing: This week the latest sushi megastore opens up, with all its ridiculous (and surprisingly good) specialty cocktails intact. This one is in the Beaver Building downtown and will likely mint money as fast as the other Harus. Like its parent, Benihana, Haru has found the perfect formula: good sushi, big menu, big bar, and lively atmosphere. Even though the food is better at Chanto, the dull atmosphere keeps people away (in a bad-for-business cycle). Successful Japanese restaurateurs know that Americans prefer big cocktails to kaiseki or soba noodles. All you have to do is ask Rocky Aoki, if you can find him behind his mountains of yen.
*Correction: Haru does not yet have a liquor license. The restaurant's reps say it should come "any day now."
With nearly 50 locations in Japan, Chanto is one of the world's most established restaurants, but to date does not have a significant New York profile. Whatever the reason, it’s not the food, which is eclectic, inventive, and very, very delicious. One of Chanto’s signature items in Japan is the “King of Kimchee,” a marriage of pickled vegetables and sashimi that is much more than the sum of its parts. As always, mouse over the different elements to hear the dish described in Chef Kiyotaka Shinoki’s words.