TABLE FOR ONE: LE MIU (this restaurant has closed)

When I heard that four sushi chefs from big and popular sushi restaurants in NYC (Megu, Nobu 57) teamed up to open a new, smaller Japanese spot in the East Village I was intrigued.

Last night was my first encounter with Le Miu. It is a long restaurant with a bar up front, not overly chic. It was nice and simple which suited me just fine. The restaurant was not crowded at all, it was a Tuesday night, and I decided to dine at the sushi bar. I had sushi on Sunday (from Haru-very good), so opted not to have it again. They had a special tapas menu which looked good, so I decided to try some tapas.

The first one I tried was the Rock Shrimp tempura with the chef's sour cream. I've had great rock shrimp tempura appetizers both at NOBU and Bond St. and was eager to compare Le Miu's take on the dish. I sat alone at the bar, staring into the sushi windows waiting for the dish. I'm not sure if it was because I was just tired, lonely and bored, but it seemed to have been taking a long time. I kept looking around the restaurant to confirm with myself that there were probably only around eight other tables full. When it finally arrived I encountered a hot and somewhat tasty dish. The shrimp were perfectly cooked, and the sauce had a nice kick to it, but for some reason it left a weird after-taste, almost like cheddar cheese! So, the dish was fine, but I prefer Nobu and Bond St.'s Rock Shrimp tempura.

My next tapas was recommended by one of the cooks there. It was called chicken karage, which tasted almost like a General Tso's chicken dish, with it's sweet sauce. It was hot and fine as well.

My final tapas was the best of the night, and was quite intriguing, and more of what I expected in creativity and taste. It was cubed pork infused in soy sauce with Japanese pumpkin tempura. It was excellent. Tender, tasty, perfect.

For dessert I decided to have a spicy tuna roll, just to get my sushi fix in, and use it as a comparison to other spicy tuna rolls at other sushi spots. The roll was fine, and the interesting touch they added was cucumber in it, which I never encountered in a spicy tuna roll. It gave it a nice crunch and snap to it, but I felt it was also a bit too cold and wet, and would have preferred just the tuna, no cucumber.

Would I go back to Le Miu? Yes. They have a chef's tasting menu for $55 that sparked my interest. They also had interesting dishes from the kitchen I wanted to try as well. But, the entire time I was there, during my Japanese tapas experience, I couldn't stop thinking about Oga Japanese tapas, my pick for one of the best hidden treasures in NYC, and great Japanese tapas.

So for a low-key, different Japanese restaurant experience I recommend Le Miu. For the best and most unusual Japanese tapas in NYC, Oga is the spot.

Le Miu

107 Avenue A, (Btwn 6th & 7th St )

New York, NY 10009