Cafe Zaiya


All I can picture when I think of this place are those weird, Japanese pink rice balls. They honestly kinda freak me out. Luckily that’s not all that’s going on here. It’s another one of those lunch joints that has different stations all over the place–but with a Japanese slant. That means sushi and all that kind of stuff. For a take out lunch joint that isn’t strictly Japanese, the sushi actually isn’t too bad. I wouldn’t make it a raw fish destination or anything, but for gobbling at your desk between meetings, you could certainly do worse (and I have). I couldn’t help but feel like a bit of a Power Ranger in this place, though, as the decor has a bit of that lucky cat/Hello Kitty vibe going on, and I felt like I was fighting the evil lunchtime crowd monster. And the crowds seemed as confused by the ordering flow as I did. But, as has been pointed out to me in the past, it was a good sign that a large number of the customers were actually Japanese. It’s not like you’re gonna catch an authentic French person at Pret a Manger or royalty at Burger King. Know what I mean? [MF]

18 East 41st Street