Most people who want "authentic" Asian food forget that it’s often a gastrointestinal obstacle course loaded with shark fin, unspeakable offal, and historic military figures. For boastfully “inauthentic” pan-Asian goods, check out Smallwares.
The brand-new baby of Johanna Ware, who once held it down at Momofuku, Smallwares delivers tradition-defying twists on far Eastern grub throughout a menu of raw seafood and fully loaded dinners served in a cozy, 40-seat dining room filled with chinoise tchotchkes bathed in sunlight by day, then glowing nightly under lights riffing on Japanese fishnet floats, so basically, this is NOT the place to take that dolphin you've been sleeping with. The open kitchen slings small plates including apple-infused kimchi & miso sashimi, plus bigger/ weirder dishes like spicy oxtail curry, a banh mi-style meatloaf sandwich, and tender thighs flayed into fried "chicken lollipops", also a failed product Willy Wonka made back when he was just winging it. Wash down the goods with sakes like nutty/ earthy Watari Bune Junmai Ginjo 55, and cocktails such as the plum wine/ gin Ooh My Boshi, and the Thai chili & pineapple Rum Punch, or what people caught reading his diary got from Hunter Thompson... seriously, he was happy they were readers, and rewarded them with drinks!
Because no man can be sated by just bottles of Watari Bune Junmai Ginjo 55, look for next month’s opening of Barwares, whose expanded cocktail menu will be served in the adjacent building, so the only obstacle to getting there will be how unspeakably loaded you are.