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A cozy Japanese gastropub with ramen, sushi, and shareable small plates including crispy chicken wings and spicy fish tacos with pickled carrot and cilantro. The ramen is certainly a good choice, but we prefer the sushi and tacos. If you’re more in the mood for drinks, they have a fantastic whiskey and sake list. The cozy atmosphere makes Suzume perfect for a romantic night out.
Grab a stool from the polished walnut bar that claims almost half Suzume’s 650-square feet of wiggle room — peruse through some Japanese and American beers, rice wine and grape wine, and a flurry of tropical sounding libations flavored with ingredients like coconut water, passionfruit, and calamansi — and the place comes into focus… The salmon ramen, as well as Briones’ poke,sushi, and rolls, all use responsibly caught and local fish when possible, though it’s harder to go local in the winter. Suzume’s sushi is anything but Edo-style traditional. It’s made from fresh, high quality fish, but often dressed with unexpected flavors, like the calamansi ramp vinaigrette found in the salmon poke
Japanese corner spot Suzume’s owners did their space up in thrift-store style, from a wood-panel bar to a chandelier that looks like it could have appeared on a late-seventies Stevie Nicks album cover. A small menu embodies the same nonchalance: Basic sushi rolls are fuller and more flavorful than most, with spicy salmon and avocado melting together beneath a mild mayo sauce enlivened by charred shishito peppers. The best item here is also the most basic: House ramen consists of delicious chunks of braised, fatty Berkshire pork belly and tasty thin wheat noodles.
Despite all of those ANDs, Suzume packs a lot of good things into a surprisingly concise menu. There are a few sushi options, a few “snacks” (tacos, wings), a few bowls of ramen, and a few other items just in case you’re the hardest person in New York to please. As for prices – the most expensive thing on the menu is $11. The addition of a great drinks list also makes Suzume a place where you can have a gin-beet-carrot-apple-ginger cocktail while eating a spicy tuna roll and feel neither like you’re at a spa nor Tao. What this all boils down to is a happiness free-for-all – no matter how or what you order, it’s going to be good, and it’s going to be fun.