Monday, April 2, 2012

Sake to Me at Haru New York

By: Wela Quan and Ethan Shen

When I was child, going to a sushi restaurant back home in Edmonton, Canada was a special occasion. By nature it seem so exotic and rare, I remember my dad would always order the beef tataki and sashimi while mom and I would opt for bento boxes. But here in the big city, the sushi restaurants have to work a little harder to impress and Haru delivered with trendy ambience, innovative cocktails, and an imaginative menu. There are 7 locations in NYC and Ethan and I opted for the Gramercy Park Haru.
Spider Monkey Roll

We started off by ordering a seasonal cocktail, the Black Tea Gimlet ($12.00), only available during the months of March and April. The a mix of sweet black tea, honey, vodka and limes, was the perfect way to kick off Spring. The sweet tea vodka base will bring back memories for any country folks like Ethan who grew up on Deep Eddy and Firefly, but the citrus keeps it light and fresh and brightens the drink for more sophisticated palettes. Throughout the meal we also made our way through a tasting of 4 top flight sakes ranging bright chilled unfiltered sakes down to more traditional ones served at room temperature, all of which was available for a fantastic bargain for the fun it injected into our evening.
Duck Spring Rolls
Dinner began with two appetizers we picked because of their creativity: the Duck Spring Rolls ($10.50) and the Lobster Tempura ($16.00). I have a soft spot for duck and who doesn’t love new ways to eat lobster? The Duck Spring Roll had just the right amount of duck and veggies and came crispy with a sweet plum sauce. We were pleasantly surprised by the generous portion of the Lobster Tempura which came on a bed of salad, however the batter was thicker than expected but the lobster chunks were still satisfyingly big.
Lobster Tempura
The centerpiece of our meal were the rolls and sushi. We didn’t have room to try all the new rolls on Haru’s menu, but we couldn’t say no to the Spider Monkey Roll ($16.50) which combined soft shell crab with unagi and shrimp. This was a glutton’s paradise, with every delicious thing rolled into one, there’s no need to choose and that’s how I like it. The Sushi Dinner ($28.00), although pricey for basic sushi, was also a fantastic spread of variety including tuna, whitefish, salmon, yellowtail, sawara, shrimp and tobiko which allowed us to leisurely sample the ocean’s bounty.
Sushi Dinner
After such a large dinner, we regrettably did not have room for dessert, something we will have to try another time. Bottom line: Skip the mediocre "basic" menu (most of which can be found cheaper at Whole Foods) and go for the "special" menu items. Hit up Haru for its strengths -- i.e. innovative rolls and chic atmosphere, which are perfect for impressing that first date or a night out with your fabulous girlfriends! 

Haru Sushi (Gramercy Park)
220 Park Ave S # 1
New York, NY 10017
(646) 428-0989
Haru on Urbanspoon

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