The other week, my mom and I had dinner at Inakaya in the Times building. We needed to eat pre-Broadway show and wanted to avoid the craziness/overpriced not so awesome food in theatre district. Inakaya, the New York outpost of a well known restaurant in the Roppongi section of Tokyo, is a quirky restaurant. The focus is on the robata-yaki (sunken and hearth-like with minimal oil) style grill. All the staff call out to greet entering customers, announce food being brought to the tables and bid farewell to people on their way out. I have experinced this tradition in Japan- in a crowded, smoky and loud izakya but it does not quite work in the quiet, shiny and cavernous space on 42nd St. Another interesting part of the Inakaya experience is the bathroom where you can find the latest and greatest of Japanese toilets- a super-high-tech model with a control panel that looks like the cockpit of a plane. The toilet seat is heated, and it can pretty much do everything (check the top picture to get a better idea) except take out the garbage.
If you happen to be around 42nd street, need a bite to eat, are not easily suprised (the shout-outs can sound kind of abrupt), and need a quick bidet, Inakaya is worth checking out.