Having a friend in Manhattan on a chilly Friday evening, I wanted to have a warm and cozy place to catch up. We ended up at Columbus Circle and found several nice restaurants in Time Warner Center complex. We opted for BarMasa where there was immediate seating (8:30 on a Friday night!) and were escorted to a small row of tables located behind translucent fabric draping. The simple, elegant atmosphere was very similar to that found throughout Japan.

The menu contained a number of appetizer and entrée options without being overly extensive (although somewhat geared to those who like seafood). We started with steamed chicken dumplings (gyoza) that were perfectly prepared followed by average, somewhat expensive sushi and rolls. Nabeyaki udon with shrimp tempura and fried garlic-beef rice were the main courses. The fried rice contained a reasonable portion of tender beef and fresh vegetables, and the noodles served in a traditional pot were perfect for a rainy evening. The portion size was perfect in that we both felt satisfied without being overly full. We did, however, opt out of dessert and settled for less expensive Brooklyn-baked options from the downstairs Whole Foods.

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Overall BarMasa is a great place for a quiet, comfortable atmosphere where one can catch up with friends or experience a first date. The interior mall location provides protection from the elements as well as an opportunity to window shop or stroll after eating a nice meal. This setting is appealing in NY’s typical cold and windy winter weather.

Price: $300 for our selection (two adults)

Dinning alone: Slightly uncomfortable, but counter is available

Dress code: High-end casual

Neighborhood: Columbus Circle


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