Restaurant Snippet:

Name: Zauo New York

Website: https://zauo-newyork.com

Number: 1 (646) 905-2274

Address: 152 W 24th St, New York, NY 10011

Hours: Monday – Saturday 5:00pm-11:00pm; Sunday CLOSED

Experience

I’ve been eyeing this restaurant’s opening for over a year and was ecstatic when I found out it was finally open! I had wanted to take my dad last year for his birthday, but it was still renovating. Needless to say, this year, my brothers and I made a reservation to take our dad here for his birthday. Lots of back and forth with the changing of time, but they were understanding each time.

If you’ve read or explored the birthday parties I plan for my kids and anyone I know, I usually have a theme going on based on the celebrant’s likes and interests. Well my dad loves fishing and what better place to take someone who loves fishing than to this!

We enter and see tables of people laughing, talking and others at the fishing areas, well, fishing. We were brought up to the second floor and luckily got the best seat in the house that evening, “on the boat”. I was so excited I felt like a kid again. It was my first time fishing. We were told we would need to fill out a form in order to get our one day fishing license for Zauo’s. My family giggled as we filled it out and signed our names. Moments later, we were handed our fishing license for the evening.

We explored the different options for fishing with the prices of each fish to be caught. I especially appreciated that there was a snippet of info about each fish too, align with a photo of what the fish looked like. The prices start at $65 I believe and go all the way up to the over $150 for Dungeness crab. We were told there was no catch and release, so what we fish we caught was what we had to buy. We liked how the fish were organized into sections for each type of fish, so you won’t accidentally fish for a fish that is way over your budget.

There was a ritual for birthdays and we were happy we got to take part in it. It involves the drums and a little chant I forgot, but it was a fun experience and definitely different from other birthday rituals we’ve experienced at other restaurants for birthdays. It felt like we were momentarily transported to have dinner at another country. My brother and his girlfriend have visited Japan before and they say that the ambience and food presentation of the restaurant reminded them a lot of Japan.

Each dish was crafted carefully and presented beautifully. It was almost too difficult to get started because no one wanted to mess up the art on our pages. We got to eat the fresh trout and fluke we caught and had the option of having it either sashimi style (with an added fee for soy sauce based hot pot to quickly dip it), grilled, fried or simmered in soy sauce. We had there different fishes and got to try the fish in all of those ways. You could opt for it to be cooked half and half or the whole fish the same way. Everything tastes fresh and was cooked very well. The octopus was tender and not cheery at all. Nothing was over seasoned. It’s flavors were balanced, simple, fresh with the perfect combination of flavors using scallion, daikon and lemon (or possibly yuzu or vinegar), sesame oil, sake and soy sauce.

Each dish was an experience in itself.

Salad with grilled Octopus and Salmon Sashimi
Different cuts of Tuna Belly
Fish simmered in vinegar broth
Vegetable dish with what I believe is soy powder- an acquired taste
Braised pork belly with Daikon
Cold Udon Noodle Bowl- the amount of sashimi in this fish was outstanding-and it was the most filling dish of everything we ordered
Fluke Sashi with add in mini Hot Pot
Grilled trout I believe
Our view of the first floor from the second floor – look at all the fish!

Nets used by staff to quickly scoop up the fish you caught
We all took home a card- I wonder what the special reward could? I guess we will have to come back again to fill out all the cards to see.

Conclusion:

We had a terrific experience celebrating my dad’s birthday at Zauo New York. It is America’s First Fishing Restaurant where you get to fish for your food. It felt like we were having dinner at a fishing village in Japan!

An overall great, unique and one of a kind experience with courteous staff and artistically presented great tasting food.

Come and get your fishing game on!

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