Address: 128 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10009, USA
Phone: +1 646-892-3050
It’s been a while since I last wrote about a restaurant in New York City. After I started working for New York Mutual (a food and restaurant supply distributor), I didn’t think it was right for me to write anything positive or (especially) negative about New York restaurants, especially since many of them were our customers. Now that I’ve moved to Melbourne, I think it’s fine for me to reflect on my restaurant experiences in New York over the years and share some of my favorites!
I constantly have friends and acquaintances asking for restaurant recommendations and even though there are countless places to eat at in New York, there are not that many that I would suggest to people, especially if they are foodies or chefs (especially Japanese ones!). There is a short list of restaurants that I’ve returned to for a second time. I’m not saying that my taste will suit everybody else’s, and it’s partly because there are always new restaurants popping open and I’m curious to try them out. Sure, there are many places that I would suggest to people for the New York vibe or good atmosphere, but when it comes to an all rounded, quality place to eat, I just can’t list that many.
Noreetuh is one of my favorites. There’s nowhere else like it in New York as far as I know. The owner and chef, Chung Chow, is Hawaiian, and used to work at Per Se. He takes the skills and techniques he learned at Per Se and applies them to the food that he grew up eating. So I guess you can call it refined Hawaiian food. His partner, Jin Ahn, also worked at Per Se, but in Front of the House, and he brings with him a wealth of knowledge and a deep passion for wines (especially French). His love for wines is infectious, and he offers the kinds of wines you can find at high end restaurants, but for a great value. In fact Noreetuh offers a three course tasting menu for $42 and the wine pairing for just $35.
When you walk into Noreetuh, you would not expect to eat and drink the way you will. The space is casual, and there are no white table cloths or even cloth napkins.
I’ve never been a fan of brunch. I like the social aspect of it, but the idea of eating breakfast food that I can easily cook myself at home (and better!) for pretty ridiculous prices, is not all that attractive to me. But Noreetuh offers the kind of brunch food that I don’t cook at home, so it’s actually worth it. The Hawaiian Breakfast may not look like much, but the Portuguese sausage is money, and it’s made in house! The crazy thing is that Chung makes a lot of components in house and doesn’t even advertise it! (The Kimchi is also made in house).
Dinner is equally as impressive. Below is what I had for my last meal at Noreetuh. The house made Tofu with Shiitake jam, Uni and Ikura, Maitake fritters, Kahlua pork croquettes, Monkfish liver torchon with passionfruit and pear, pineapple braised pork belly with Spatzle, Mochi-crusted Bass, Chow noodles, and all the desserts! The most surprising winner of this meal was the Chow noodles, which is a vegetarian stir fried noodle dish. The noodles are made in house and were inspired by Chung’s father’s recipe (he used to run a noodle shop in Hawaii). Extremely flavorful for a vegetarian dish, and the noodles have a beautiful bite to them. I also loved the Mochi-crusted Bass, which has a really nice, crispy exterior. The beans that come on the side are also quite killer.
We asked Jin to choose the wines, and some of the most memorable pairings were the Chateau Soucherie Coteaux du Layon Chaume 2013 (botrytis Chenin Blanc) with the monkfish liver torchon, and the Zind-Humbrecht Gewurtztraminer Vendages Tardives Herrenweg de Turckheim 2011 (late harvest) with the bruleed Hawaiian pineapple.
Noreetuh is the kind of place that I can recommend to industry folks with no hesitation, and I also hope for them to get more recognition because they deserve it!
P.S. They also serve the best Poke in town!