At Zauo, Diners Can Catch Their Own Dinners

“It’s catch-and-relish, not catch-and-release, at this new Japanese import. Customers can opt for baited hooks to snag rainbow trout, salmon trout, fluke, shrimp, flounder, farmed striped bass, rockfish, lobster or abalone swimming in the pools. Or a staff member can lend a hand. (Prices are $16 to $125 if they do the fishing, and $12 to $110 if you fish.) The chefs then prepare the seafood to order, salt-grilled, simmered in soy sauce, sashimi or tempura. Whimsically instructive menu cards provide guidance. The restaurant, which has 13 locations in Japan, was introduced there in 1993 by a company called Harbor House: The New York restaurant is its first branch outside that country. Takuya Takahashi, whose father was the founder, is president of the New York branch. A narrow but soaring space, the restaurant has a fish tank opposite the bar on the ground floor, and two more tanks on a loftlike second floor. The hull of an immense, hand-built polished wooden boat hangs from the ceiling. In addition to the freshly caught seafood, the menu offers a vast array of Japanese standbys, mostly seafood, including salads, sushi, hand rolls and rice and noodle dishes”.

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Momosan Ramen Opens in Murray Hill

Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto has just opened the doors of his first ramen restaurant, Momosan Ramen and Sake, located in Murray Hill. The new restaurant will be focused as much on Sake as on Ramen, with 13 different options by the glass and several sake-based cocktails. The ramen on the menu is fairly traditional, with an emphasis on tonkotsu and chicken ramens with traditional toppings, although the menu promises quality, including a secret recipe by which Morimoto’s noodles are more resistant to becoming soggy (or “Nobiru”). Appetizers include pig’s ear, pig’s foot, and two kinds of pork belly, plus a few non-porcine options as well.

Of course, there are no shortage of ramen options in the city, but any celebrity chef will have a certain opening bump. Momosan’s closest competition will be Ramen Takumi, on 34th and 3rd avenue.

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New York’s First Customizable Sushi Enterprise

“Customizable” and “made-to-order” food are two of the biggest consumer trends for 2014. 22-year-old entrepreneur Jesse Tang saw potential to apply these trends to a major untapped market— sushi. “Pink Nori,” Tang’s sushi venture in Astoria, will be the first sushi concept to truly grant customers limitless freedom to customize their rolls. “The millennial generation likes to try new stuff,” Tang reasons. The menu will feature atypical sushi condiments such as guacamole, jalapeños and potato chips. Tang recently graduated from Stony Brook University and will use his $10,000 prize he earned from the Long Island Young Entrepreneur Challenge to market Pink Nori. Jesse’s father, restaurateur Danny Tang, will offer a hand in business operations. Astoria’s burgeoning dining scene and proliferation of young professionals with disposable incomes inspired Tang’s enterprise location decision.

The Rice Burger: A Vegan Burger Alternative

By now everyone’s probably tried a vegan burger at least once, whether it be the mushroom burger, black bean burger, or the most common— the veggie burger. For those who are ready to explore new vegan burger alternatives, Ni Japanese Delicacies in the Essex Street Market is serving the Forbidden Rice Burger for $10. The patty is composed of forbidden black rice mixed with organic maitake mushrooms, carrots, kale and white beans.