This is our 3rd or 4th time to Bohemian. I read about it a couple of years ago online, probably on the Eater secret dining guide, and sent an email pleading my case for access to the reservation line.

I’m trying to think of something clever to warrant an invite, but my mind seems to still be on holiday. My husband and I are adventurous eaters (shirako and baby squid are two of my all-time favorite dishes) who are always looking for something different and delicious. We recently moved to NYC, and I read about Bohemian while searching for culinary experiences that celebrate food over hype. If you feel inclined to invite us, we would love to come for a visit.

It worked! I love the fact that they gave us the number to call for reservations and still asked more about us.

Thank you for contacting Bohemian New York. My name is Karen and I am returning to you on behalf of team Bohemian.  We, Play Earth, create hide-out spots in our favorite places across the world to meet and connect with people from a variety of experiences and backgrounds.  Our concept is to nurture the human connection within the confines of our intimate space, which is why we ask for a self-introduction or a personal referral from a friend.  Could you tell us a little more about yourself?  Where are you and your husband originally from?   How are you enjoying life in NYC?  It would be a pleasure to welcome you into our intimate dining space for a memorable evening.  I love shirako and baby squid too!  Although we don’t serve those traditional dishes here at Bohemian, we hope you won’t be disappointed with our eclectic menu filled with our passion to serve good food and hospitality.

And we weren’t at all disappointed with the menu or the hospitality, especially tonight. Just a quick FYI and the only slightly negative thing you will read in this blog post – don’t arrive before 6 pm if you have the first reservation of the night in the Summer. The hallway leading up to the locked restaurant door doesn’t get any air movement and will make you sweat in less than a minute.

But once you are inside, everyone and everything is lovely. You know it’s going to be a good meal when the bartender directs the same attention to chilling a glass for beer (by swirling ice water in the glass) as he does to the preparation of the cocktails. We began with two libations sharing a Japanese whiskey base – the Little Devil, a spicy and light number, and the Jaguar No. 2, a little heavier drink with egg white and a torched almond garnish. Both were well-balanced and delicious.

We have always ordered the tasting course but decided to go a la carte this time to try new things. Plus, the tasting price has gone up from $63 to $80, which weighed in on our choice. People on Yelp say you should go for a la carte, but I think you should try one of the tasting dinners (there are two now – the other for $90) on your first visit, and then move to single servings.

We ordered five dishes, which was one to two more than we needed with our lighter appetites, but is probably perfect for most couples. The Farmers’ Fresh Vegetable Fondue has always been a favorite of ours, so we selected it again. Yelpers discount it as “just” a crudité, but it is worth the $24 because each item nestled into the crushed ice bed tastes like it was picked right before serving – bitter treviso, sharp radishes, sweet carrots and juicy tomatoes. Another repeat was the Pan-Roasted Branzino (the small one) which is seasoned and cooked perfectly and served with more farm-fresh veggies. The anchovies really make the entree.

New items for us were the Garlic Shrimp, Menchi Katsu, and Mushroom Risotto. The shrimp come out sizzling in a terracotta cazuela. No matter how much you know you need to wait for it to cool, it’s impossible to delay topping the grilled bread with the garlicy goodness, taking a bite, and burning your mouth. Same with the katsu, a beef version which comes in its own pouch. There is a bit of work involved to make your own condiment by grinding sesame seeds in a minature mortar and then mixing in sweet tonkatsu sauce, but it is totally worth the effort. We finished the meal with risotto (well, half of the risotto – we brought the rest back with us), made in the simple, clean style of Japan.

Last, but not least, we come to the wine. A stable-y, light red called Romuaid Petit Chiroubles paired perfectly with the variety of dishes. $250 with tax and tip, so not an every-day meal, but a special experience to repeat every few months or as the budget allows.

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