Located in the basement of the Kitano Hotel in Midtown East, Hakubai is an absolute must for special occasions. Hakubai is only few restaurants that offer ‘Kaiseki’. Kaiseki is a distinctive and delicate cuisine with origins in Zen Buddhism and traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. In Hakubai you can enjoy a multi-course dinner served on an exquisite array of porcelain, pottery and lacquer dishware at carefully timed intervals. Prices for a full Kaiseki dinner starts from $100 per person.
If this is a bit pricy I would alternatively suggest going for lunch. They offer a lunch version of Kaiseki for $85, as well as very nice Hakubai Bento Box for $60. Unlike normal bento, this is just as kaiseki course that begins with appetizer Sashimi and Chawanmushi – steamed egg custard. The Entrée includes tempura, grilled fish, and vinegar vegetables, spicy seasoned cod roe, Japanese pickles, steamed rice, and miso soup. All foods are simple but yet complex and elegant at the same time. At the end of the courses a dessert of the day will be served. When I went it was a delicious green tea ice cream.
The service, quality of the food, and the beautiful arrangement of it are equated to a 5 star rating. Prices are a little higher than most but you definitely get what you pay for. If you want to experience Japan in the middle of NYC – this is definitely the place for you!!!
Price: $60 Hakubai Bento Box (plus tax and tip)
Neighborhood: Midtown East
Dress code: Business Casual and above
Occasion: Business meeting, special occasion