Saturday, March 2, 2013

Cherry

 Cherry is the new sleek and swanky lounge-restaurant serving Asian fushion fare to the hip and cool kids below the Dream Hotel on West 16th Street. Not to be confused with the old lounge of the same name in the W Hotel on Lex that I used to frequent as a teen, Cherry is brought to you by the guys from Bond St, the ever trendy sushi spot in Noho. As the name aptly implies, Cherry is steeped with dark red accents, dim lights, red velvet booths, and tucked away corners. There's a long crowded bar with an array of good looking bartenders serving some really fun and interesting cocktails. My (lightweight) friends recommend the Fuzzy Dog with gin, fennel, peach preserves, lemon and absinthe mint, which they quickly downed and thoroughly enjoyed. 

Once we checked in we impatiently waited over a half hour for our table, though it should be noted that the hostess did do us a favor by switching our reservation from 4 to 6 people at a prime time hour on a busy Thursday night. After grabbing some drinks at the bar, we were finally led to a quiet enclave in a dark corner and lounged on the comfy couch as we waited for our food. 

The food at Cherry has its high and low points. Some items are outstanding, while others really did not do it for us.
Highlights: Warm Mushroom Salad with frilly mustard greens, garlic chips and sake soy. This is delicious, order it. It's better than what you are picturing and what you've eaten at Ki Sushi in Bklyn and other similar spots. It is a filling and warm plate of wonderfully aromatic mushrooms. Yum. Tuna Crispy Rice is another must order. The 6 of us ordered 3 portions. Crispy fried rice with spicy tuna and jalapeño. We are not breaking new ground here and it is not unlike what you've eaten at Koi, Mikasa, etc, but really delicious nonetheless. The Bond St Tuna Tart is another must order. Creamy ponzu, micro shish and white truffle oil make for the perfect bite. It looks like a raw tuna pizza, and goes down smooth and clean. So fresh and so delicious, don't miss this.


Lowlights: Some of the appetizers that don't fare as well are the Tuna Tacos, which tasted fried and were messy looking, and the Smoked Salmon Tart which was a bit fishy. The Seaweed Salad and Asian Mixed Greens (not pictured) were both fine. 

The main courses also had their ups and downs. We all agreed the Miso Glazed Seabass with crispy rice cake and bonito is excellent, and a nice size portion too. I didn't taste the Cod, but it didn't look especially appealing. The Buckwheat Risotto with seasonal veggies is another good one. Vegetarian friendly and really flavorful and delicious.

The sushi, which I was expecting to be on Bond St level, is just fair. We ordered a varied selection of rolls including Yellowtail Jalapeno, Veggie Cucumber Wrap, Toro Scallion, Spicy Tuna, and Crunchy Snapper. It comes beautifully presented with an assortment of dippings and sauces. Unfortunately, from the first bite it was clear that it just isn't life changing sushi. It isn't terrible, it is just not what you should come here for. Maybe too fancy and too many things inside took away from the fresh fish and clean sushi that the better sushi spots are known for? About half the sushi platter remained when we had all finished.




Banana Tart Tatin and Green Tea Meltdown were both good dessert options, the banana being my favorite.  
All in all, I enjoyed my experience at Cherry. The service could use improvement as our waiter disappeared for long periods and there was some lag in between courses, but Cherry is still relatively new. I would return for a small party with friends or even for drinks. There is a nice loung-y vibe and cool crowd. Order right and make a reservation, and Cherry could be a great addition to your mix. 



Neighborhood: Meat Packing. Located under the Dream Hotel 

Bite Mark: ***

Good For: Trendy, Date Night, Girls Night Out, Small Parties, Dining Incognito

Cherry, 355 W 16th St bet 8th - 9th Ave  212-929-5800  www.cherrynyc.com