Fight For Your Food: Ninja New York
Sitting at dinner with family and friends for my birthday, I looked down only to find a long silver sword placed across my throat held by a man behind a mask. If this sounds like your type entertainment, I highly recommend taking a visit to Ninja New York. Located in Tribeca, this restaurant takes its guests back in time to a world of feudal days and ninjas. And where they can try authentic Japanese cuisine.
Upon arrival, guests are given the basic warnings, followed by a “Good luck!” from the hostess, before being taken up a dimly lit staircase through a dark alley. Once at the top, you’ve reached the Ninja Village, where the parties are seated in their own “cellars.” Each room is uniquely decorated to fit the village's aesthetic, adding to the sense of mystery. It doesn’t take much time before...“Chi-ya!” That is one of the many shouts you’ll be hearing during your time at Ninja. Not only do the cellars and make-like pathways contribute to the Japan-esque atmosphere, the workers do too. At Ninja, the waiters are dressed in all black ninja costumes and are often spotted hanging from your door with swords and Shuriken blades.
The president of Ninja New York, Haruo Yazaki, has stated, “The Ninjas do have a training course which includes learning how to move like a ninja.” They’re even taught certain hand signals. When the ninjas are not cracking dry jokes or making you participate in their card games, they love to scare their guests by shouting or using fire.
Chef Michinobu Okamoto says, “Although the restaurant has a ninja theme, I still want it to turn out first class, high quality food...it’s all made from scratch...all brought directly from Japan.” The menu leaves customers content with the variety of options from fresh steak and sushi to vegetarian options. Many of their meals and soups are “sword activated,” which allows the guests to be involved in the process of the foods presentation. Time Out New York claims “Dish after dish scores points for style and creativity.”
“I always find it funny to see the look on a customers face when a ninja drops from the ceiling and surprises them,” says Yazaki.