Adam Platt has spent his time lately ping-ponging back and forth across 1st Avenue and 8th Street where Hawaiian restaurant Noreetuh and Korean spot Oiji recently opened. Both restaurants are run by chefs with pedigrees that make them "perhaps overqualified for such a modest operation," says Platt, but that's not a bad thing for diners. At Noreetuh, Chung Chow, who was formerly the sous chef at Per Se, has "abandoned the old haute-cuisine model to focus on the kind of seemingly simple, comforting food he grew up with."
Hawaii's Japanese, Polynesian, and American influences are "sprinkled throughout the deceptively ambitious fusion menu at Noreetuh" and the island's beloved Spam shows up repeatedly:
Stuffed elegantly into pouches of fresh-made agnolotti and garnished in an almost comically gourmet way with spring ramps, honshimeji mushrooms, and curling bonito flakes.
The slow-cooked oxtail is one of the best iterations of this home-style dish I've tasted in a while, and the eggy beef shank and rice Jang Jo Rim was so good we ordered it twice....the only dessert option is an addictive Korean mash-up sensation called honey butter chips (potato chips drizzled with butter and honey), and yes, it's impossible to eat just one.
Platt gives each restaurant two stars.