Yes, the daily changing, handwritten menu means your favorite dish probably won’t stick around for long (or even until you’re ready to order it), but there are few restaurants as deeply invigorating as MIMI. Across from a row of colorful, painted Sullivan Street brownstones, the stylish and compact Greenwich Village respite completely blindsided us with its blissfully in-your-face, occasionally Japanese-inflected French cooking from chef Liz Johnson. At its heart, MIMI is a neighborhood bistro — albeit one that stuffs charcoal-grilled eel with blood sausage and drapes gizzard shad sashimi over horseradish potato puffs. Here, it’s just as easy to have your fill of decadent organ meats (calves’ brains, sweetbreads) and esoteric proteins (monkfish liver, soft-shell turtle) as it is to feast on mustardy roast chicken or saffron-scented turbot. Ambition also fuels desserts, from black-truffle-spiked banana soufflé to baba au rhum with generous slugs of the good stuff. Whether you’re slinking into a crushed-navy velvet banquette for pork rillettes and French wine at dusk or downing a merguez sandwich at the bar after midnight, it’s clear that the team of rookie restaurateurs who opened MIMI last fall to virtually no fanfare have settled into a fine rhythm.
185 Sullivan Street, Manhattan