Another one of the city’s most impenetrable culinary establishments has begun takeout and delivery amid the COVID-19 shutdown. Bohemian, a Japanese cocktail bar and restaurant that generally only admits patrons by referral, is now offering its wagyu-laced wares to the plebeian masses via Caviar.
The Noho hotspot joins the growing ranks of ultra-exclusive venues that are pivoting to accessibility amid the public health crisis. Last week, Rao’s in East Harlem, arguably the city’s toughest table (it’s essentially a private club), began offering takeout via Instagram DM. Carbone in Greenwich Village, another tough-to-get-into Italian-American venue, started selling $69 veal parms last week, prompting the NYPD to swing by and police the customer and delivery folks outside.
Bohemian, whose entrance is tucked past an upscale butcher shop, doesn’t publish its phone number, nor does it display an online menu or cocktail list — which is what makes the Caviar site all the more intriguing.
It’s been over half a decade since my last visit there, but the takeout preparations appear to align with the venue’s typical bill of fare. Among the offerings are beef tartare with blue cheese toast, mushroom cream croquettes topped with uni, eel and foie gras sushi, miso black cod, assorted rice bowls, and most popular of all (per Caviar), wagyu beef hand rolls. Most small plates are under $20.
The offerings, while occasionally creative, are fairly typical for an upscale izakaya. And that’s the chief thing to keep in mind. One doesn’t necessarily go to Bohemian for the food (which was quite good, as I remember it). One goes for the exclusive vibes, good service, and the prospect of impressing a young lawyer on a Raya date. Or something like that.
So just as a dish at Rao’s isn’t really a Rao’s dish without the old world ambience, takeout shiitake mushroom quinoa salad from Bohemian likely won’t carry that magic that makes you feel like Hugh Grant’s reprobate (albeit debonair) character from “About a Boy,” or maybe Zac Efron in real life. But that salad will likely be tasty, and you can pair it with two ounces of Jose Cuervo añejo for $43, if that’s your thing.