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The weekend starts here

Friday night, 9pm. The sweet scent of charcoal smoke, seared meat and good conversation drifts into the warm Soho air. The kitchen printer spits out another order, a monotone digital rattle followed by a whine as paper is ejected like an off-white tongue.

Black-clad chefs gather food from blissfully cold reach-in fridges, skewers are deftly balanced on 500-degree grills with the delicacy and precision of someone who’s done it a thousand times before.

The main floor of the dining room is buzzing; young, hip twentysomethings cradling glasses of sake in one corner, statuesque tributes to Marilyn Monroe and Lauren Bacall in another. Puzzled out-of-towners looking for a quick protein fix before Hairspray ponder the menu, wondering why there’s no sushi; the clue is in the huge row of charcoal grills.

And, just like every night, hordes of Japanese salarymen work their way through bottles of shōchū, a fiery vodka-like concoction that raises the spirits and the volume.

The weekend starts here.

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