by Jessica Allen, 02/06/2013
If the neighborhood has a patron saint, it's Robert De Niro. In 1994, he and his partners opened Nobu, devoted to chef Nobu Matsuhisa's modern Japanese. Success followed, leading to Nobu Next Door, a more casual offshoot, as well as legions of imitators of its signature black cod and miso. Other Japanese restaurants followed, and nowadays TriBeCa boasts some of the best Japanese fare in the City. Rosanjin presents a traditional take on the beautiful, seasonal tasting menu known as kaiseki, while Brushstroke, by David Bouley, presents an updated version. Ichimura at Brushstroke is a 12-seat sushi bar within the larger restaurant, giving diners the opportunity to try omakase, a series of small plates that showcase both the chef's creativity and the food's freshness. Like Ichimura, Michelin-starred Sushi Azabu is an under-the-radar sort of place, a sushi restaurant located in the basement of Greenwich Grill, which itself tweaks traditional Italian food using Japanese ingredients and flavors. Finally, there's Takahachi Bakery, which makes such treats as matcha tsubuan, a plump pastry flavored with green tea and stuffed with red bean paste, or guru guru, a roll lined with jellylike sweet peas, along with coffee drinks, sandwiches and light meals to stay or go.