There are Plenty of Fish in…Chelsea

When you dine out, do you want to work for your food?
Of course not! And I don’t blame you, however, I’m open to new experiences.

Recently, I visited Zauo, a Japanese restaurant in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood and literally fished for my dinner! The restaurant has three pools of live sea-life for diners to actually hook a live catch to enjoy moments later. The selection includes Fluke, Flounder, Abalone, Lobster, Rockfish, Rainbow Trout, Salmon, and Striped Bass. Out of the large selection, I decided on Bass and instantly ‘earned’ my Zauo fishing license, received a poncho (thankfully!) and was ready for the fishy-feat ahead.

When it comes to fishing, the staff is very helpful and knowledgeable, full of advice on how to properly bait the swimmers. It took a few tries, but the hook finally snuck behind a bass fish and the chase was over!

Whenever guests successfully net their catch, all the staff exclaims a congratulatory chant which involves playing the wadaiko, a Japanese drum, and clapping; completing the interactive experience.  (Click here to see video of the experience.)

At this point, guests select how the fish or crustacean is prepared. There are 5 preparation choices: tempora style, grilled, shashimi, simmered in soy sauce, or Shabu Shabu (a traditional hot-pot style, somewhat similar to fondu). 

The Bass displayed two ways: center plate is half raw Bass with onions & mushroom, and lemongrass for Shabu Shabu ; right plate is half grilled salted Bass

Although it is a unique opportunity to engage with your dinner in such a fun (and wet!) way, all seafood options are available for á la carte as a formal dining experience. 

It is best to visit in a group to not only share the experience but it is more beneficial and cost-effective to order many appetizers along with the seafood course. With this approach, you are more likely to feel more content, can try most of the menu and can split costs as they can get pricey. Such a unique experience with friends is priceless and filling too!

Left image: Japanese Chile Peppers with bonito flakes Right image: Tako Kara-Age (fried octopus)

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