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Wednesday, July 27, 2011





It's hard to keep a secret in New York for very long. Here's a guide to ten restaurants and dining rooms that are hidden, hush-hush, on the DL, or completely inaccessible to most diners.
Restaurants (Graphic by Eater, NY)
10) Ramen Sanshiro: One of New York's best kept secrets: at 11 PM, Midtown sushi restaurant SEO morphs into a ramen parlor nicknamed Ramen Sanshiro. There are about ten seats at the bar plus a few at the tables, and they serve the soup until it runs out, which is generally around 2 AM. You can't order the ramen during the day, nor can you order the sushi or udon at night — they're different operations. Cash only. [Photo]
9) The Naked Lady Room at Bell, Book, and Candle: This new West Village restaurant has a sexy PDR behind a fake wall near the end of the bar in the main dining room. The space seats two to six people and features naked lady wallpaper, exposed brick, high ceilings, and a big chandelier. There's no chance you'll sit here as a walk-in, but you can reserve the room if you call far enough in advance. [Eater Place Page] [Photo]
8) The Taqueria Inside of Tehuitzingo: If you head to the back of this Hell's Kitchen bodega, past the snack displays and rows of soda refrigerators, there's a tiny taqueria serving some of the best Mexican food in the area, for dirt cheap. Get the tongue tacos. [Photo]
7) The Third Floor at The Spotted Pig: Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield's perpetually-packed Gastropub has a third floor accessible via its own entrance on Greenwich Street or an unmarked door in the second floor dining room. This space, which basically resembles a loft apartment complete with a kitchen and its own bathroom, is frequently used for events and parties, and can be rented for the evening, but otherwise it's off-limits to guests. [Eater Place Page] [Photo]
6) The Wine Cellar Room at 21 Club: At the back of the 21 Club kitchen, down a long flight of stairs, there's a fake wall with a secret key hole made to look like a crack in the cement. On the other side is a prohibition-era booze cellar and a VIP dining room, which can be rented out for private events. The space also holds bottles from famous guests, including Richard Nixon and The Clintons. [Eater Place Page]
5) The Mulberry Project: One of two big new "speakeasies" in New York, The Mulberry Project is accessible via a subterranean door beneath a Little Italy souvenier shop. It's part club, part restaurant, and home to a weekend brunch that rages well into the early evening. Usually there will be someone at the door with a clipboard. [Eater Place Page]
4) The Brasserie at La Esquina: Many people know that there's a restaurant buried deep below La Esquina, accessible via an unmarked door in the casual taqueria on Kenmare, but very few people know how to actually get a table there. Theoretically you can call to make a reservation (three weeks out), that is, if someone picks up the phone. But really, the only way that you're going to be granted access to Akhtar Nawab's brasserie is if you're tight with someone on the inside. [Eater Place Page]
3) The Third Floor at Tiny's: A mystery room to look out for: Matt Abramcyk's new casual Tribeca bar and restaurant has a third floor that's only accessible via a secret door on the ground floor. When Tiny's opened earlier this year, the management said that they were using the top floor as an office, with plans to turn it into a private event space sometime soon. [Eater Place Page]
2) Hudson Clearwater: This new West Village restaurant is the other new "speakeasy" in New York, and it's a bit trickier to find than The Mulberry Project, mostly because there won't be a line of people waiting to get past a bouncer out front. If you go to the restaurant's address, 447 Hudson Street, you'll see a storefront that looks like it's under construction, but if you head west down Morton Street and open an unmarked green door, you'll gain entrance to the restaurant via its patio. Once inside, you'll find a rustic dining room and a menu of seasonally-influenced American food. No special numbers, passwords, or handshakes required. [Eater Place Page]
1) Bohemian: This Tokyo import is located at the end of a long, narrow hallway behind the counter of specialty butcher shop Japanese Premium Beef. You can only snag a reservation by calling a secret number, at which point you'll be asked who referred you. Once inside, you can have a $55 six-course tasting menu of beef-centric Japanese small plates, or you can order a la carte. After two years, this place is still sealed up like Fort Knox. [Eater Place Page]
— research by Caitlin Abruzzo


 photo by walt cessna


 photo by robert greco




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