Remember the Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark”? Besides having music and lyrics by U2’s Bono and The Edge, it’s most known for the trouble it had opening. It was technically complex with special effects that included actors flying on harnesses over the heads of the audience.
It is also known for having the longest preview period in the history of Broadway, 182 performances. One of the reasons the previews went on for so long was to deal with the technical problems. But the producers also knew that as long as the show was in previews, the critics would consider it off limits. But after six months, the critics decided enough was enough and one by one started attending and reviewing.
Soft opening is the restaurant equivalent of a Broadway preview. Chuan Lu Gardens is having a soft opening almost as epic as Spider-Man.
Why is it so difficult for people strolling Park Avenue in search of a restaurant to turn a corner?
Sure, there are plenty of restaurants with a bona fide Park Avenue address that are worth dining at. But there are other eateries every bit as worthy of attention just off the main thoroughfare. And I’m talking mere steps, not blocks away.
Consider the space at 155 E. Morse Blvd., the current home of La Merce, a cafe with a Spanish-leaning European menu. On a recent day at the height of the lunch hour while most of the Park Ave restaurants were brimming with diners, I walked into a La Merce so empty that my arrival seemed to startle someone who walked out of the kitchen while I waited at the front door.
Sushigami is a sushi bar with a twist. Or more precisely, a twirl. Guests sit at a sushi counter or at one of the booths and plates of sushi rolls roll by on a tiny conveyor belt that snakes along a winding path. If you see something that you like or that looks good to you, you lift the dome-covered plate from the belt and enjoy.