Walk into Ronin’ Stones on Clinton Street and you’ll see a counter with a few stools, some yakitori cooking on a grill, and (probably) no other human beings. Keep walking straight, and you’ll get to the real Ronin’ Stones: a tiny, semi-secret music bar behind a door that says “staff only.” Back here, there’s a small stage, a few tables, and records covering the walls. The music theme is pretty intense, which means they pretty much only play classic rock during the weeknights and jazz on the weekends. While you could technically have a full meal of Japanese food here, the room, unique experience, and short menu are better suited for a drinks-and-snacks date. We especially like the chicken meatball and the marinated beef tongue that comes with jalapeno relish, as well as the oden bowl with fish cakes in it. If the person you’re with likes music, they’ll think very highly of you for bringing them here.
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Wildair is a casual wine bar on the Lower East Side, attached to the acclaimed tasting menu restaurant Contra.
Wayla is a fun spot on the Lower East Side, and it’s on our shortlist for best Thai food in NYC.
Russ & Daughters Cafe
Russ & Daughters has finally expanded, after 100 years in business. Now you can sit down in a comfy booth while you enjoy your lox, and it’s glorious.
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An authentic Japanese establishment, all the way down to the robata grill. Aburiya Kinnosuke is a Midtown East experience you should have.
Suggested by our writers
Bohemian has a secret phone number and referral process to get a reservation, but that’s not why you should care about this Japanese spot in Noho.
Pig And Khao
Pig And Khao is a Thai/Filipino restaurant on the LES that serves great food and feels like a party.
If you want a relatively quiet drink and some oysters on the Lower East Side, Black Crescent is there for you.
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