Inagiku: Are These Real Japanese People?
Today, I got whipped into taking clients to Inagiku, the fancy shmancy Japanese restaurant in the Waldorf. Now, in a recession, I believe all employers are trying to avoid places like this, as in an hour, I dropped a cool $200 on lunch for 4. As soon as I walked in, I knew I was in trouble. The impeccably dressed male host in a pressed charcoal grey suit and tie led me through an almost silent (yet, mysteriously 2/3 full) main dining room complete with babbling fountains, bamboo furniture, and a small buddha here and there, peeking out from behind the palm fronds. Impossibly small Japanese women in kimonos and obis fluttered about, taking orders and balancing trays gracefully. The business lunches taking place were all conducted in low voices very decorously.
Let me just say this and say it loudly. This is not a place for a raucous Japanese meal involving all-you-can-eat sushi and sake bombing.
The food is delicious. I can safely say that this is some of the freshest sushi in New York, and thus perhaps well-worth the price (debate accordingly). The lunch menu is small, yet well ‘curated.’ The best value appears to be the lunch special which includes miso soup, scallions wrapped in kobe beef, fresh selected sashimi, a california roll, salad, and a rotating variety of other foods, all presented on a large circular dish with beautiful presentation. The tempura was perfectly done – lightly fried, not too greasy. My sushi was fresh, flavorful, and tightly wrapped – no amateur preparation here.
Inagiku is clearly a place to take clients you’re looking to impress, your boyfriend’s (or girlfriend’s) parents, or a true Japanese food buff. No goofing around here or you will get the arched eyebrow of distain from the patroling host.
As a sidenote, while you are there, let me know if you think the staff is actually Japanese. I always wonder about that.