If it happens to be your birthday, you might not want to tell the staff at Zakuro. The entire restaurant will go dark, brightly colored disco lights will start spinning, and all eyes will be on you as a flaming dessert arrives. If it isn’t your birthday, a meal here will still be sufficiently bizarre: A former Second Avenue Starbucks has been transformed into a psychedelic sushi spot that is most definitely lost in translation. The small room glows an odd shade of pink, and a deejay (who works in a booth behind the sushi chef) pumps YMCA and other goofy tunes into the dining room. It’s hard to imagine anyone taking the food seriously here, and yet chef Toki Numasawa does. Edamame arrives warm after a quick stint on the grill. Sushi, like an asparagus and sea eel roll, is expertly prepared. And although there seems to be only one bona fide entrée other than sushi and sashimi, it’s a decent one: a jumbo serving of creamy shrimp and scallop meunière, served with freshly wilted spinach. Perhaps most appealing: You can tell the server to deliver his most expensive white wine to the table, and you’ll end up with a decent bottle of Steele pinot blanc for $33.
143 Second Ave
|Cross street:||at 9th St|
|Opening hours:||Daily 5–11:30pm|
|Transport:||Subway: L to Second Ave; 6 to Astor Pl|
|Price:||Average main course: $18. AmEx, MC, V|