I first stumbled onto Bohemian a few years ago while trying to find somewhere to take the Boyfriend for his 21st birthday. Bohemian, nestled in the back of a Japanese butcher shop in Noho, is one of the most exclusive restaurants in NYC. It might actually be harder to get a reservation at Bohemian than it is at some of NYC’s 2-3 Michelin starred restaurants! Their number isn’t listed anywhere online and their website doesn’t offer much help either. You have to either know someone who has eaten there before or email them with your reasons why they should let you have their number.
I emailed them with a plea to allow us to celebrate this special occasion but I ultimately settled on Sakagura (aka the best Salmon-Ikura Don ever!). The number remained in my email inbox flagged for the next few years. For our 5 Year Anniversary this year, I decided to dust out the number and give them a call. I called exactly one month from the date and was given the option of a 6:30pm or 8:30pm seating. I opted for the 6:30pm.
We were seated right away and left with their menu and drinks list. We both already knew that we would be getting their Tasting Menu ($58.00), which consists of basically 6 courses. For drinks, we both ordered a Sapparo Premium on draft ($6.00). This gave us plenty of time to look over the dining room, which was pretty small. There were only two tables for 4 and four tables for 2 – a super intimate setting.
Our first course was the Farmer’s Fresh Vegetable Fondue, which featured an assortment of vegetables on ice with a small fondue kept warm by a candle. The vegetables were very fresh and many of them had a firm crunch. The fondue was the highlight of the course – it tasted a bit like caesar salad dressing but with a hint of cheese. I’m not normally a huge fan of raw carrots but I gobbled them up!
Our second course is their famous Uni Croquette. The name is a bit misleading because it’s uni on top of a mushroom croquette. The outside of the croquette was crisp and thin – not soggy or oily at all. I particularly liked the mushroom filling because it was very smooth and creamy. The uni was a generous serving and made each mouthful even more creamy.
The next course was the Washu Beef Short Rib Sashimi, served on a plate on top of ice with soy sauce, a dash of wasabi, Japanese pickled radish and soy sauce marinated garlic. The garlic gave each bite a kick, which was needed since the beef didn’t have much taste otherwise. They call it a sashimi, but I believe the beef is lightly seared on the outside.
Our fourth course was the “entree” section of the meal – the Pan-Roasted Branzino. The branzino is served on a cast-iron skillet with a variety of roasted sides- zucchini, brussels sprouts, mini potatoes, cauliflower and an mushrooms. All the sides were very good and paired well with the fish. THe branzino was very well seasoned and cooked to perfection – the meat was so tender and soft. The skin was also very well seasoned. The only gripe was that we had to debone the fish – I’m usually a pro at this but at this point they had turned down the lights for ambiance so it was a bit hard to see.
The fifth course is your choice between a Sashimi Rice Bowl with Tosa-zu jelly or Washugyu Mini Burger. I ordered the Washugyu Mini Burger and the Boyfriend ordered the Sashimi Rice Bowl but we ended up splitting the two so we could try more things. I really enjoyed the Washugyu Mini Burger – it was cooked to a perfect medium-rare and had so much flavor. The Sashimi Rice Bowl was nice as well – the Tosa-zu jelly was sweet, sour and vinegary. It definitely opened up the palate!
Being silly and naive, we thought we wouldn’t be full from the tasting menu and ordered a side of sweet potato. We were so wrong! While the sweet potato was very good (it was sweet and caramelized), we were way too full after the branzino to even finish the potatoes!
Our tasting menu ended with a small bowl of Yuzu Panna Cotta. The panna cotta was perfect – light and airy. You don’t notice it during your first bite but as you ate more, you realize that there are tiny bits of yuzu inside the panna cotta! The layer of yuzu jelly on the top gave the panna cotta a tart flavor. It was one of the best panna cotta’s that I have ever eaten!
Service was attentive without being overbearing. Our dishes came in a timely manner and we were in and out within the seating time requirements (when I made the reservation, we were told that we would have the table from 6:30-8:30pm). I want to say that it’s all hype about Bohemian, but it’s not. They serve legitimately good food in a great environment. I liked the exclusivity and the intimateness of the dining experience. Now that I’m in the system, I can’t wait to come back!!