No one would ever have expected an Ethiopian-born Swede to tackle Japanese food, but that’s exactly what Marcus Samuellson did when he opened Riingo. With the help of two talented chefs—Johann Svensson (formerly at Town) and sushi chef Shigenori Tanaka (who has since left)—he created an intriguing hybrid menu. Every table is served nori rice crackers and edamame spread (the TONY award winner). Meat dishes are the real crowd pleasers, especially braised pork belly and a sweet-meat treat of beef short ribs with apple puree. Poached bass with octopus and wild mushrooms was light and clean, but too salty. The interior, sadly, offers very few great seats: upstairs is a virtual Siberia and downstairs can be cramped. Instead, eat at the bar, where you’ll get an up-close view of the stellar custom cocktails and sakes.
The Alex Hotel, 205 E 45th St
|Cross street:||at Third Ave|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Wed 7–11am, noon–2:30pm, 5:30–10:30pm; Thu, Fri 7–11am, noon–2:30pm, 5:30pm–midnight; Sat 7am–3:30pm, 5:30pm–midnight; Sun 7am–3:30pm, 5:30–10:30pm|
|Transport:||Subway: 42nd St S, 4, 5, 6, 7 to 42nd St–Grand Central|
|Price:||Average main course: $20. AmEx, DC, Disc, MC, V|