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NYC Has Two New Eel Restaurants — But Only One Is Worth Trying, Critic Says

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Plus, Evil Twin Brewing is doing a preview of its new beers — and more intel

Chopsticks rest on a table in front of an assorted set of small plates, including a salad with tomatoes, thinly sliced meat cutlet, and dark soup broth Unagi-Ya Hachibei [Official Photo]

The NYC eel restaurant worth going to

New Yorker critic Hannah Goldfield visits NYC’s two new freshwater eel restaurants — Unagi Aburi Ittetsu in Nolita and Unagi-Ya Hachibei in Midtown — and says diners should stick to the latter. While Unagi Aburi Ittetsu serves eel whose grilled flesh is “soft” and “flaky,” the eel at Unagi-Ya Hachibei has a “cleaner” flavor, she writes. The Midtown restaurant is a bit more expensive, charging $65 for an eel compared to the $45 at Aburi Ittetsu, but the meal at Unagi-Ya Hachibei comes with a lot of extras: salad, a bowl of “floral-tasting” dashi, “smoky” daikon pickles, and matcha ice cream for dessert. Plus, there are plenty of appetizers to choose from, like the “spiny” deep-fried eel bones that are as “crunchy as potato chips,” she writes.

A preview of Evil Twin Brewing’s new beers

Evil Twin Brewing is giving beer-lovers a preview of their latest concoctions at the Nowadays taproom until its new Ridgewood facility is complete. The pop-up begins today and will continue until the brewery’s own standalone location is ready for its spring debut. Expect pilsners, IPAs, and stouts, plus “everything in between,” according to a news release. Nowadays is located at 56-06 Cooper Ave., about half a mile away from Evil Twin Brewing’s facility at 1616 George St.

Chain stores are declining in NYC, but LES and Tribeca has had a 19 percent jump

A new report by the Center for Urban Future looks at the state of retail chains in NYC and finds that for the first time in a decade, the number of chain stores declined between 2017 and 2018. But that decrease was only 0.3 percent citywide. Meanwhile in the LES, the number of chain stores increased from 43 to to 51 in 2018 — a 19 percent jump, and lower Manhattan and Tribeca increased from 76 to 92 stores, a 21 percent hike. Plus, there’s a wild number of Dunkin’ Donuts in NYC. In Manhattan, the quick-service donut chain has 166 locations, trailing only Starbucks’s 227 stores. In Brooklyn, Dunkin’ locations top out at 141, and in Queens, 192. The greatest decline was for Subway, which lost more than 100 stores in New York.

A 35-year-old Indochine is still very hot

Noho fashion fave Indochine turns 35 this year, and author Reggie Nadelson recently stopped by to find that the French-Vietnamese restaurant is still hot. Nadelson recounts the restaurant’s legacy as a go-to spot for celebrities and supermodels in the 1980s, including diners like Andy Warhol and Madonna. She finds that the “aura of celebrity” is still very much intact three decades later, writing, “Indochine is still ripe; improbably, like a great French movie star — or a good cheese — it’s barely changed in any way that matters.”

A gun that was left in a Midtown food hall bathroom is now missing

A gun disappeared at the Urbanspace @ Vanderbilt food hall in Midtown this week after a forgetful retired cop left it in the bathroom. Retired NYPD cop Kim Sciarrino left her handgun on a shelf above a toilet, and when she went back for it, the gun was gone, according to the Post. The NYPD hasn’t found the gun, a .380-caliber Ruger LCP pistol. Diners were pretty freaked out, with one man telling the Post, “Thank God no one got hurt.”

Acclaimed sushi restaurant is hosting a pricey sake-pairing dinner

Michelin-starred Midtown Japanese restaurant Sushi Ginza Onodera is hosting a series of sake pairing dinners starting Tuesday, January 29, where the restaurant’s beverage director Yuki Minakawa pair various versions of the drink with an omakase dinner. Expect seafood dishes like monkfish liver and grilled grouper, plus a whole lot of different sakes. The dinner costs $480, tip included, and can be reserved by calling the restaurant directly at 212-390-0925.