As holiday season is upon us I believe some of you may be searching for a party venue to spend a moment or two with your friends. If you are the organizer it can be stressful to find a great place where there is great food and an atmosphere that allows the guests to interact conversationally.
My choice for such a restaurant for a holiday event would be an izakaya restaurant, and Riki is one of my go-to favorites when I am thinking of a place to dine with close friends. Here most of the patrons are Japanese expats (or locals), which is always a good indicator of the authenticity. And I must mention that they have been in business for over two decades.
Riki has an extensive menu and daily specials that are all very fresh and sell out quickly. I found everything to be reasonably priced for the quality, and this is one of the restaurants in the area with a no tipping policy. It is also great because Riki is open very late, which makes it a perfect choice for an after-concert/show meeting place.
This Winter I discovered that they were offering a special ‘winter holiday’ tasting menu for $50 – Fuyu No Enkai Course. This selection includes a total of ten various dishes and all-you-can-drink beer (or soft drinks) with a 2.5 hour time limit. According to the restaurant, the most popular dishes ordered from over 150 available choices are chicken karaage, Okonomiyaki, and ramen salads.
Personally I like the ramen here. While very popular in NYC with countless varieties available, the ramen at Riki is a very standard meat-based broth with sliced pork, bamboo shoots, seaweed, and scallions. So traditional that it reminded me of my grandmother’s homemade version that I ate as a child.
141 E 45th Street, New York 10017 (Between Lexington & 3rd Avenue)
Price: Winter Tasting Course $50 (including tip)
Neighborhood: Midtown East
Dress code: Smart casual
Dining alone: Yes, nice counter is available
Take Out: Yes