333 Henry Street, between Atlantic and Pacific
You can’t beat the sushi here—whether it’s served in pieces, basic rolls or pressed into cubes—but don’t miss the house-made tofu or the obanzai (small plates that change daily) such as simmered sanma (pike mackerel) with sansho pepper. They’ve got a swell bento box lunch deal, too.
77 North 6th Street, between Berry and Wythe
Since 2006, this labyrinthine Japanese restaurant has been seating patrons in private cubbies, and it’s still fun every time our server rolls down the bamboo curtain to leave us alone with our ocean-fresh sashimi or light-as-air tempura with green tea salt. Get the eight-course omakase and a sake flight, too.
234 Court Street, between Baltic and Warren
Old school meets new school at this sweet little Italian spot. Young, hip servers push stick-to-your-ribs spaghetti and meatballs alongside a rotating menu of inventive and market-fresh seasonal options. Think crispy pork belly with rhubarb and watermelon or tagliatelle with tomato butter, Brussels sprouts and burrata. Everything’s drop-dead delicious.
279 Grand St, between Roebling and Havemeyer
Here, the Philly-style ribeye sandwich is piled with melted American cheese and sautéed onions and can be enjoyed two ways—either scarfed with a beer in the pleasantly divey indoor space, or savored with a frozen sweet tea in Maracuja’s leafy little backyard, amid twinkling lanterns and Christmas lights.