When a friend recently suggested we grab dinner and drinks at Bohemian, I presumed she meant beer and sausage at Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, the beloved spot for outdoor boozing in Queens.
“No, no,” she said. “Bohemian, the secret Japanese bar and restaurant located next to Japan Premium Beef at 57 Great Jones Street.”
A secret cocktail lair right near the Village Voice offices? How was it that I had never heard of this spot before? Clearly we had to go right away.
Indeed, next to Japan Premium Beef, a long dark hallway leads you to a low-ceilinged room with a small bar and filled with low mid-century chairs, giving a feel that you’re dining in someone’s living room. It’s a Zen-like structure, with its concrete floors and white walls decked out with bright photographs. The spot opened in 2009, but has shunned press and maintained a low profile, primarily by not publishing its phone number.
The menu’s a hodgepodge of nibbles well-suited for cocktails. Some are decidedly Japanese — a great cold soba with a lobe of foie gras, for example — but a chunk of the menu is devoted to sliders. Our favorite? The teriyaki option, lightly slicked with the sweetened sauce and topped with lettuce and spicy mayonnaise. The meat is decidedly beefy and very juicy, and the side of homemade pickles adds a nice crunch.
The only problem? I won’t be able to devour them again, as I don’t have the secret phone number and my friend won’t give it to me. However, I hear that emailing [email protected] for an invitation request can sometimes lead to getting asked. Fingers crossed, as I want those baby burgers again.