Saturday, February 14, 2009

Not All Solo Diners Are Food Critics

And I'm the case in point.  I was stuck on the island between appointments yesterday afternoon and decided to have a bite to eat in Gramercy, one of my old stomping grounds.  Even though Haru's been open for some years now, I'd never stopped in before.  Somehow, I'd been distracted by the other neighborhood attractions: Gramercy Tavern, Craftbar, The BLT Fishshack, Big Daddy's Diner, etc.  But no matter.  Fish was in order and fish it was. 

Haru wasn't particularly full, even though it was 2pm on a Friday, prime time for midday business eaters.  Maybe it was the neighborhood.  My two servers, one male and one female, cane quickly and enthusiastically.  No sooner had I ordered a cup of green tea did a vibrant jade mug appear before me, denser and more wheatgrass-green than any tea I've ever seen.  

Seaweed salad came nestled in a cup of radicchio and flanked by long strands of carrot and jicama.  Yuzu juice added a final, welcome touch to a hard-to-hurt classic.  I love the texture of seaweed salad, the brininess, the weight of it in my mouth.  I don't like how it gets stuck in my teeth and think it should be mandatory for Japanese restaurants to serve the dish with toothpicks. 

For a light lunch, I had a tuna ceviche, citrus marinated tuna with grape tomatoes, cubed apples, onion, and rich avocado.  The tuna itself was meaty and substantial and the bright vinegary sauce offered a nice contrast to crunchy fruits and vegetables, not to be outdone by the traditional (and exceptionally creamy) avocado.  I could have eaten two of these, the perfect dish for tuna lovers who need to be reminded that simple preparation often makes the most sense.  

Perhaps it was because I dined alone, or perhaps the economy has waged a war on tip percentages, but regardless, my server seemed even more accommodating after he had collected my check (20 percent, in case you were wondering).  I found the alacrity both amusing and confusing.  I guess I'm not used to such striking hospitality.  

Haru Sushi
280 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10017

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