I’m gonna let you in on one of New York’s best-hidden secrets. Located in the NoHo area, there’s an unmarked, members-only restaurant that doesn’t even list its phone number publicly. Even if you can manage to get your hands on Bohemian‘s phone number you’ll still need a referral to land a reservation. Seriously, when I called, the first question I was confronted with was “How did you get this number?” However, once you’ve breached their defenses and joined the ranks of their inner circle, you’ll be treated to one of the most interesting, sexy, refined meals you can find in NYC.
To dine at Bohemian, you’ll first have to find it. Once you locate the associated butcher shop you’ll have to find the unmarked hallway and make your way down the long white corridor.
At the end of the long, mysterious tunnel you’ll find yourself confronted with locked door and a tiny sign instructing you to ring a doorbell.
Once you’re inside, you’ll find yourself in the middle of a serene dining space that feels more like a dear friend’s living room than an exclusive New York City dining room. It’s a very comfortable space with stubby armchairs, couches, a moss-lined garden, skylight, and a beautiful, well-stocked, low-lit bar.
Why would I go through all this trouble? Well, as it turned out, this night was not just for any old date night. I was there to celebrate my anniversary with my lovely girlfriend, Amy, and I had a reputation to uphold finding really special places.
After getting seated, we order the preset menu along with some cocktails. I began with a distinctly Japanese concoction called the Type C involving Yuzu Pepper Infused Junipero-Gin, Yuzu Honey, Fresh Lemon Juice, and a Yuzu Salt Rim. For those unfamiliar, Yuzu is an East Asian citrus fruit that is somewhere between an orange and a lemon in flavor.
The drink was quite citrusy, but was balanced nicely by the honey’s sweetness and salted rim. The drink was quite enjoyable and refreshing and had an interesting consistency due to the many thin ice crystal shards floating throughout the beverage.
Soon after our cocktails arrived, the first course, Farmer’s Fresh Vegetable Fondue, was served. What arrived at our table was a giant tin pail loaded up with crushed ice and studded with a variety of sliced vegetables. This bucket was accompanied by a small bowl of rich, funky, liquified cheese topped with ground Sichuan pepper that was heated with a tea light from below.
I know what you are thinking. Vegetables? Just vegetables? Well, yes, these were actually some of the best vegetables I’ve ever had. Every single simple veggie was extremely fresh, crisp, and snappy. We enjoyed them all, but the plum tomatoes were definitely our favorite elements. These vegetables seemed so simple and they were, but they really were excellent, especially after a healthy plunge in liquified cheese.
Up next was one of the dishes I was most anxious to try, the Uni Croquette. The base was a mushroom risotto filled croquette which was essentially a perfect rendition of the Italian dish arancini.
The creamy rice paired extraordinarily well with the crispy fried exterior and the hefty risotto flavor was balanced very well by the silky, bright, briny, uni topping. It’s a really brilliant flavor and texture combination that I’ll continue to dream about for many months to come.
The next dish, Washu-Beef Short Rib Sashimi, came very highly-regarded and consequently came with pretty high expectations. The meat is sourced from the high-end butcher that the restaurant is hiding behind and was cut into millimeter thick rectangular portions. The meat was lightly seared and had a beautiful, delicate, silky, melty quality.
It came served with a mound of freshly grated wasabi which for those of you who have never tried before blows that cheapo-sushi fake wasabi wanabe out of the water. This wasabi packed quite a sinus punch, but mellowed nicely when dotted onto the washu-beef slice. Just a touch of garlic soy dipping sauce and I was in pure beefy heaven.
Our third course was a seafood course simply called Pan Roasted Branzini. Just like the rest of the meal, everything about this dish screamed simplicity and was executed to perfection.
The whole fish had a wonderfully crispy exterior that peeled away to reveal moist, flaky, tender meat inside. The skillet was loaded with nicely charred green beans, potatoes, rosemary, olives, cipollini onions, and an entire head of rich, creamy roasted garlic. This dish took a bit of work to filet and debone, but was ultimately very delicious, quite filling, and very satisfying.
For the fourth course, we were each given a choice between two menu options. Amy opted for the Washu-Beef Mini Burger. It was essentially a perfectly cooked, high-end slider.
The burger was very delicious, but I think the smashed fried potatoes it came served with were even better. The potatoes were extremely crispy and well-salted with irregular crusty crags that added to their textural excellence.
I, on the other hand, opted for the subtler of the two options, the Ikura Caviar Rice Bowl. I had read that at the time of this meal, ikura was in season and I could taste the freshness. These little salty, briny orbs pleasantly popped on my tongue while mixing with the excellently delicate sushi rice and spicy bite of fresh wasabi. It was a really pleasant, light course to finish off the savory portion of the meal.
Like I had said earlier, we were here for our anniversary, which I had mentioned to the reservationist when I originally called. When dessert arrived, we found a nice surprise message scrawled in chocolate onto the wooden platter. Thank for the well wishes Bohemian!
The dessert – a Honey-Lemon Pannacotta – has a very unusual consistency. It was absolutely the giggliest dessert I’ve ever had. Jigglier than Jello with a sort of runny consistency.
It was a really subtle dish that tasted primarily of citrus and sweet honey that got a great textural contrast from the shredded topping that I believe was coconut. It also came with a small bowl of ice cream which was a nice accompaniment. It was a very nice ending to a very nice meal.
So, If you’re looking for a unique date spot with subtle yet refined food that’ll take your mind and body away from the chaos of New York, Bohemian will serve you well. I hope you get the chance to enjoy the same amazing experience I did. That is, of course, if you can find it.