(By Silvia Yen)
“Mysterious” was the perfect word to describe my first impression of NINJA, a French-Japanese fusion restaurant located in Tribeca. One can find much more than sushi and steak here, from ninja tricks to the historic Kyoto décor that paint a fantastic atmosphere.
Anxiety filled my mind while I waited in the elevator shaft that was the time machine to an Edo-era castle. There were two paths presented by our hostess: one filled with ninjas who were ready to spook us and the other one was safe. Remember the dress code is smart casual. If you are going to pick the exciting path, wearing high heels may not be a smart choice. Also, they have two types of dining for you to choose: village or rock-garden style.
My experience depicted in the photo above was that of dining in the village, where I was joined by waiters/waitresses dressed in ninja outfits and surrounded by katana and ninja stars pinned to the wall. The menu presented to us was a legendary scroll of modern sushi and sake, the price reasonable as it included a prix fixe menu of $50 including 4 or 5 courses. Couple ($65) and children ($25) options are also available.
To top it all off, food came with the compliments of ninja tricks of fire and small explosions. Food portions were enough for the average appetite, and everything tasted great. Some eccentric menu choices may warrant some thought. For example, ordering a “volcano” gave you a whole grilled onion with miso red wine sauce (if you are concerned about being able to cut a slippery onion in front of your dinner mates without making a mess like I did, you may want to think twice before you order this dish). As for the drinks, other than usual cocktails and wine choices, they offer special sakes only to be found at NINJA.
Transportation to the castle of mystery is simple: take the 1, 2, 3 train to the Chambers Street station and you are only a few blocks away. The front door is not conspicuous, similar to a speakeasy, and may need extra attention to find. The word among the ninjas is to “look for the lantern”.
At NINJA Restaurant, you are consuming delicious food surrounded by historic Kyoto scenery and constantly surprised with ninja tricks. I have been to many places that take décor seriously, but NINJA takes it to a completely new level.
This restaurant is perfect for many occasions such as special dates (birthdays or anniversaries) or simply if you want to impress a very special someone. I hope you find your inner Ninja as I did this past summer.
25 Hudson St. New York, NY 10013
(bet. Duane St. & Reade St.)
Open 7 days a week (Dinner only)