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I've been on a Japanese bender lately—right along with everyone else on the island of Manhattan, which seems to be sprouting a new Japan-inspired restaurant or bar or shop every 15 minutes.
What I'm most addicted to this week:
At chef Josh DeChellis's new BarFry: oyster tempura. How many is too many tempura-fried oysters for one person to eat? I'm not sure but I'm going to test the limits.
At B Flat, the tiny new Tribeca basement lounge run by alums of Angel's Share: the house spin on a Salty Dog (vodka and fresh grapefruit juice), impeccably mixed, deliciously tangy and rimmed with Okinawa sea salt.
At Kyotofu, the soon-to-multiply Japanese dessert den: the green-tea-and-white-chocolate cookies, and the not-too-fruity, not-too-mojito-y Strawberry-Shiso Mojito, made with pureed fresh strawberries, fresh lime juice, and shochu infused with shiso leaf. And in December, I'll be buying gift boxes of Kyotofu's crowd-pleasing little chocolate-soufflé cupcakes, which come in packages of four to 24—a no-brainer holiday present.
At the ever-mesmerizing Takashimaya department store: tsukune peanuts—a Japanese-style spin on peanut brittle and Cracker Jacks made with peanuts and black sugar (and admittedly very pricey at $12 for a small bag). No cocktails to wash them down with here, but Takashimaya's genmaicha (nutty-tasting green tea combined with roasted brown rice) is worth developing a substance-abuse problem over.