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Positively Addicted: Bohemian

June 24, 2012

I am addicted to Bohemian and I am not ashamed to admit it.  So much so, in fact, I dined there twice in one week (which has never happened before for me), making it my 3rd and 4th visit that spring alone.  Sure, the novelty of the secrecy of the restaurant can be exciting and part of the initial appeal but what has me hooked at Bohemian is the food itself.  The menu is diverse both in terms of flavors as well as variety of ingredients, making it perfect for both a pescetarian and omnivore.   Case and point, my visits with HH and MD as perfect examples.

Visit number 1 was with HH one day after work.  The bar is really the way to go at Bohemian during prime dining time.  Comfortable stools with its small size made the bar a perfect and cozy seat for 2.  HH is a pescetarian so I knew I was going to be able to fully explore the non-meat side of the menu this meal.

A little mason jar of perfectly pickled cauliflower to whet our appetite.  This is one of 4 pickles offered and so far, my favorite.

Next, the farmer’s vegetable fondue, a dish I have been wanting to try for a long time.  Served in a Japanese style, the delicate vegetables were kept chilled in a glass of ice with a side of dipping sauce.  HH and I both were addicted after only one bite.  Hints of anchovies and cheese and butter came through, very similar to a bagna cauda.  And the vegetables themselves were just darling, from spears of red endives to icicle radishes to yellow and purple carrot and even wasabi leaves!

The plate of grilled shitake mushrooms were unctuous and meaty.  Each slice was full of flavor and glazed with a sharp soy based dressing.  My attention however was completely captivated by the fishermen’s seafood salad.  The small wood bowl came filled with all types of raw seafood bites. Clams, oysters, rock shrimp, uni, ikura, we just kept on unearthing more and more as we dug in.  All of this sat atop a simple salad of different types of seaweed lightly dressed with a lemon vinaigrette.  I can have this for lunch and dinner and lunch and dinner…

The fried Satsuma imo, Japanese sweet potato, was a dish I recently discovered and completely hooked on as well.  Served piping hot in a skillet, the chunks of faintly sweet spuds just dissolved in my mouth, creamy yet firm.  If only these weren’t so bad for you!

We kept the meal light till the end.  HH, being a pescetarian and a fellow ikura and uni lover, chose the ikura and uni rice bowl while I was craving something meatier.  The steak tartare with grilled blue cheese sandwich caught my eye and given that Bohemian is tucked away behind a high end Japanese butcher, I knew this was going to be a pretty smart choice.  Not disappointed at all with the tartare and its fatty goodness, I polished off the whole plate along with those pungent grilled cheeses.  What a satisfying meal.

Visit number 2 came unplanned as MD and I had finished a day of wandering around downtown.  Tired and hungry and in search of a dinner spot, I called Bohemian on a whim to see if they could seat us for an early dinner.  Sure enough, they were able to accommodate us two at 6pm on the dot.

A cocktail and pot of sake to kick off the meal.  They do have the most unique platters and bowls at Bohemian don’t they?  Instead of the traditional vessel, our sake arrived in a ceramic hand painted jug that resembled an elephant in the most abstract sense.

The pickled cauliflower made a reappearance and received accolades as expected.

Knowing that the vegetable platter would not be MD’s cup of tea, we went with the sashimi selection of the day.  Fresh slices of fatty tuna and yellow tail and sweet raw shrimp were just what we were craving.

Kobe sashimi, one of my all-time favorites at Bohemian did not disappoint with its unami flavor and  creamy fatty texture.  A spritz of lemon juice perked up the meaty flavors.

And with a bowl of foie gras soba, we got adventurous with the meal.  This was definitely a new dish to my Bohemian experience.  The bowl of toothsome soba noodles was served in a chilled broth and topped with a fatty piece of perfectly seared foie gras.  Every part of my brain told me that this wouldn’t work but somehow, the creamy and slightly warm foie gras complimented the broth and noodles perfectly.

Finally, the big finish to the evening, a platter of a 10 oz. flat iron steak, simply grilled and sliced over a bed of fried potato chunks and roasted sweet garlic cloves with rosemary.  No steak sauces available at Bohemian.  These were best enjoyed with a dab of coarse sea salt and a little snub of the soft garlic.

And finally, my first taste of dessert at Bohemian.  Two scoops of salty caramel ice cream by Jeni’s.  Sure this isn’t really anything fancy or original but this is one amazing caramel ice cream.  Creamy and light with a depth from the caramelization of sugar, these made by Jeni’s based in Ohio in small batches were by far the best.

Bohemian | 57 Great Jones Street, New York, NY 10012http://www.playearth.jp/

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