This restaurant is closed!
111 East 18th St
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 260-2020
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Area: Flatiron District
New eatery Japonais has opened in the Flatiron district to quite a buzz. Partners Rick Wahlstedt and Miae Lim have joined forces once again to bring New York City a new dining experience in Japanese cuisine. The import from the windy city offers seating for almost 300 people and is impressively designed by Jeffrey Beers. Japonais’ bar was packed as people enjoyed cocktails while waiting for their tables.
Summer weekends in the city are usually fairly low-key, but Japonais is clearly making the grade. The earliest reservation we could score was for 10pm. We had a short wait after arriving and were seated within a half hour of our reservation. The trendy ambiance is inviting with soft lighting from hanging lanterns, striking red brick walls and tables situated spaciously apart. High ceilings and an airy feeling are complimented with clean lines of predominately red and black design. Asian inspired techno music was pumping as we waited by the bar area.
Our party of six was led to a table on the first floor right across from the Sushi bar. The wait staff was excellent and very attentive even though the place was full to capacity. Our waiter voluntarily made some unique drink and food recommendations. We ordered a round of the signature Peach Sangria spiked with sake to start off the meal. Japonais takes food service to the next level with two chefs on duty, one for the extensive sushi menu and one for the hot food.
Japonais’ menu notes that it serves American raised Wagyu beef honoring the traditional Japanese method. “The Rock” must be ordered. Thinly sliced marinated New York Strip Steak arrives to the table with a hot rock for you to cook the meat to your liking. I have to say we were all quite entertained with the opportunity to “cook” and even more entertained eating the delicious steak that melts in your mouth. The Lobster Spring Rolls arrived next and quickly disappeared from the table along with their mango relish and blood orange vinaigrette. The rest of our meal was dedicated to the cold menu. We ordered the chef’s special Tuna Tuna Salmon roll. The salmon roll is topped with sliced tuna and served with Wasabi Tobiko sauce. We also tried a Yellowtail Scallion Roll, a Spicy Tuna Roll, and a California Roll with King Crab.
Japonais is a glamorous dining experience without feeling pretentious like some overly trendy places. The restaurant's lounge feel is perfect for a leisurely meal with drinks and good conversation. I love Nobu, but I do think after finishing our meal that Japonais has definitely come to play. Japonais seems like the ideal place for a dinner party or just a great meal. I intend on heading back soon and look forward to Japonais being on the noteworthy list for a long time to come.
Review By: Jennifer Voit