Hawaiian cuisine is admittedly not something that inspired much envy on my part.  Spam and pineapple?  I’m all set.

Luckily, this East Village restaurant whose name means “playground” in Korean pays homage to the 50th state and the nationalities and flavors that influence it.

Taking cues from Japan, Korea, and the Phillippines, the menu is as interesting and fun as the jungle gym that inspired its name, and allows you to experiment and play with different combinations of weird food you would never think goes together, but actually works incredibly well.

If you have friends who are adventurous eaters, are tired of eating at the same sushi place, or are flat out bored, check out Noreetuh. It will put a smile on your face at the end of a hellish week, and who couldn’t use more of that?

Big Eye Tuna Poke

noreetuh big eye tuna

An insanely delicious mash up of raw big-eye tuna, pickled jalapenos, macademia nuts and seaweed, this West Coast classic is finally hitting East Coast menus, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Monkfish Liver Torchon

noreetuh monkfishliver

My last tete-a-tete with monkfish liver was four years ago when I wasn’t eating meat.  At the time, I had a relatively new boyfriend I was afraid to tell I had an upset stomach until he dropped me off at home and I informed him he couldn’t come upstairs.  My recent trip to noreetuh was with the same said boyfriend, and he kindly reminded me that the last time I had this particular animal I wouldn’t allow him into my apartment  I decided we should give the ‘foie gras of the sea’ one last shot, and I am SO glad we did.  Served over a refreshing mélange of pear, passionfruit, and cilantro, this oily bottom feeder of a fish is delightfully reconstructed into an elegant appetizer and paired with grilled potato rolls.  Bad monkfish liver memories be gone!

Pineapple Braised Pork Belly

noreetuh pineapple pork belly

You can’t swing an overpriced New York menu these days without hitting a pork belly entrée, and this is no exception to a personal rule that pork belly is like pizza and sex: even when it’s bad, its good.  Pair it with Hawaii’s staple fruit, an out of season root vegetable, and PEANUTS only proves I’m right: this dish was bananas.  And by bananas I mean pineapple.

Garlic Shrimp over Rice

noreetuh garlic shrimp

I almost did not order this because it is ostensibly something I can cook myself, in the much more comfortable setting of my apartment (read: not wearing pants and guzzling a bottle of wine).  FOR SHAME ON ME because this was amazing.  I didn’t even know shrimp could be cooked so perfectly but I’m probably not getting shrimp lo mein any time soon because I will feel left out of the perfectly cooked shrimp club of which noreetuh’s chef should definitely be president.

128 First Avenue

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