And sometimes you want a team of samurais screaming at you about wagyu beef and threatening your life with a wooden paddle.
At those times you want Inakaya, a chaotic, whirling dervish of a robatayaki (Japanese barbecue) at the New York Times building, opening tomorrow.
Think of Inakaya as Momofuku Ko meets Medieval Times, just without any jousting—yakikata (grill chefs) serve food on wooden paddles, samurais have Japanese screaming matches involving red snapper, and you're right smack in the middle of the whole dance.
But even if you're not into Japanese meat theatrics, there's a simple, traditional, succulent meal of fresh grilled meats, fish and veggies to be had. In front of you will be your yakikata, kneeling on a platform beside a grill, separated from you by only a moat of produce, chicken thigh and fish (try the rare Kinki fish, flown in daily from Tokyo) that will soon be your freshly grilled dinner.
And if you're lucky, you'll also be the one patron selected per night to participate in the traditional ceremony where mochi is pounded in a giant mortar and pestle.
Remember, it's all in the wrist…