Senya

Both the Boyfriend and I are avid sushi lovers. There’s nothing that makes us happier than a delicious piece of raw fish on perfectly seasoned rice. When it came time to find a spot to have our annual pre-Valentine’s Day dinner (we refuse to eat out on the actual day), I instantly thought of SenYa. Thankfully, SenYa is on OpenTable, so I hopped on over and snagged us a reservation in less than 5 minutes.

We arrived for our 7:00PM reservation on time and were seated right away. The restaurant is pretty small so reservations are definitely needed. A few of the tables were completely empty until about 1.5 hours into our meal – but they refused to seat any walk-ins. In true Japanese style, they would rather have the table ready for when the reserved party arrives, than seat a table, have to rush them for the table back, and make a few extra bucks. I really appreciate this style since it means my table is always ready when I arrive for my reservation!

We opted to share an order of their edamame ($5.00) and their Uni Toast ($18.00) for our appetizers. The Uni Toast was positively delightful! The tiny, mini toasts are topped with uni and marinated amaebi, or sweet shrimp. The result was a blend of sweet and salty. The uni practically melted in our mouths – like true butter of the sea! They come three to an order, so be sure to order two if you have a larger party.

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For our entrées, we opted to order two sushi entrées and split them. The first entrée to arrive was the SenYa Chirashi ($34.00), which features the Chef’s choice of 12 types of assorted sashimi over a bed of sushi rice. The pictures of the Chirashi online are completely deceiving – it’s huge! Unlike Hatsuhana’s Box of Dreams, which has maybe two bites of rice in each bowl, the Chirashi at SenYa has about 5-6 bites of rice with four pieces of fish on top – 2 of each fish. I sincerely think that the Chirashi at SenYa is the better deal. The fish was delicious – I think my favorite was either the slightly seared salmon with black truffle oil or the red snapper.

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Our second entrée was the SenYa Chef Assorted ($32.00), which features the Chef’s choice of 5 pieces of sushi, 8 pieces of sashimi, and a negi toro roll. The presentation was gorgeous! The assortment ranged from your typical yellowtail to more special cuts like otoro. My favorite was a toss-up between the slightly seared salmon sashimi with the black truffle oil or the otoro sushi. Both practically melted in my mouth, they were so fatty and tender.

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For dessert, we opted to split their Water Cake ($5.00) and the Green Tea Cheesecake ($7.00). The Water Cake is served with maple syrup and azuki beans. It’s sort of like a stiffer jello with barely any taste of its own. It really took on the taste of the maple syrup and azuki beans. The Green Tea Cheesecake was really tasty – you can order it with either green tea ice cream or vanilla ice cream. We opted for the green tea ice cream and the two paired very well together. Both weren’t too sweet and resulted in a very nice and simple dessert.

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Service was very attentive throughout dinner. Our empty plates were cleared in a very timely manner. Our waitress would explain every single fish in our entrees – sometimes with where they were from. The uni in the chirashi, for example, was a Maine uni. We were both very pleased and impressed with dinner and cannot wait to return to sample more of their delicious sushi!

The Back Room at One57

The Back Room at One57 has been on my radar since last season’s Restaurant Week when my coworker dined with them for lunch. When they released their menu for the winter season of Restaurant Week, I quickly hopped onto OpenTable and snagged a reservation. The Back Room is located on the 3rdfloor of building 157. We arrived 5 minutes before our reservation and were led to a two-seater by bar since they were seating tables exactly at their time. I found this a bit odd, but didn’t mind all too much.

Once we were seated in their main dining room, our waitress explained their Restaurant Week menu along with the supplements and left us to peruse the wine list. After several moments, she returned to take our orders and supply us with some delicious freshly baked bread. She let us know that their dessert chef actually makes the dough for the bread every day and they bake them fresh to order. During our meal, they brought over another plate of bread just as we finished our first. I was absolutely in love with the bread and the cream cheese-like spread.

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For my appetizer, I had the Mangalista Charcuterie Platter with pickles and toast. The cured meats included Coppa, Cacciatorini, Fennel Sausage, Soppressata, and Spicy Nduja. My favorites were the fennel sausage and the soppressata. The spicy nduja was super spicy and a bit too much for me – even with the pickles and toast. I wish there were more toast involved with this appetizer – I ran out halfway through my platter!

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For my entrée, I opted for the Haweij Dusted Quail a la Planca with gem lettuce and spicy yogurt. The quail was mostly deboned, except for the drumsticks and wings. I appreciated this because then I wouldn’t have to use my hands! The quail was cooked perfectly and very flavorful.

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Halfway through our entrées, my mother decided she wanted to swap dishes so she could try my quail. She ordered the Red Wine Braised Beef Cheek with parsnip, rutabaga, and red onion jam. The beef cheek is braised for 36 hours, according to our waitress. The result was a melt-in-your-mouth dish. I barely had to chew! The dish is very rich so neither of us could finish it because it was so filling!

For dessert, my mom decided on the  with Hazelnut sandies, gianduja genoise, and salted hazelnut ice cream. The presentation of the dessert was outstanding; however I found that the darker colors of the Ombré were less delightful. The chocolate flavor was a bit too strong in those parts. The salted hazelnut ice cream was the standout.

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I opted for the Meyer Lemon Zabaglione with whipped tea, Buddha’s hand confit, and earl grey ice cream. I thoroughly enjoyed my dessert. The lemon was a bit tart and really helped after the savory, heavy beef cheek dish. The earl grey ice cream was a new experience – just a bit milky and lots of tea flavor. I highly recommend this dessert!

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Service was very attentive without being overbearing. Our waitress noticed my mother struggling with her big handbag and brought over a stool for her bag. That was so thoughtful! She explained everything on our menu and gave excellent suggestions when my mother didn’t know which entrée to order. Standout service!