Bohemian is easily one of the most difficult reservations to score in the city. This is because the restaurant does not have a published phone number nor do they have a regularly checked email address. How you get a reservation is by knowing someone who has been to the restaurant before who can give you the number to call which allows for the restaurant to remain almost like a private club. Located at 57 Great Jones Street behind a Japanese Butcher Shop, Bohemian is a small, simple, elegant, and most importantly, hidden restaurant. You walk through the hallway known as Basquiat Road (since artist Jean-Michel Basquiat died in his home at this address) right next to the butcher shop till you reach a glass door. If you don’t have one of the 200 keys that were distributed, you must ring the doorbell and be buzzed in. A hostess comes out and asks if you have a reservation and if yes, you are allowed into the restaurant that only has about 6 tables. The restaurant is really set up like someone’s living room and the staff really makes you feel like you’re at home. That’s the whole point of Bohemian though, to provide an intimate experience for it’s guests who are very interested in food.
While the restaurant is Japanese, there are only a few traditional Japanese dishes on the menu. Sliders, Short-Rib Sashimi and Mushroom Risotto are a few of the items that make up this eclectic Asian inspired menu. Let’s get this out of the way as well, Bohemian is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination. The portions are a bit on the smaller side and entrees really only start at around $25. There is a $55 five course pre-fixe tasting menu which is actually not a bad option. To start, I had the Oysters in an Apple Cider Vinaigrette and then the Roasted Duck Breast with Mushrooms as an entree. The oysters were fresh, though not the best I have ever had, but what truly made this dish fantastic was the Vinaigrette that came with it. Never before have I had a sauce that fully masked the fishy aftertaste of oysters. The dish was refreshing as well as a great way to start off your meal. The duck on the other hand was just okay. The duck was roasted and accompanied by seasonal mushrooms. Its a simple dish and I was basically looking to see how well the chef could cook the duck. Unfortunately the duck breast was a little on the dry side but the mushroom sauce did help making this a dish slightly above mediocre. The Mushroom Risotto was also not anything to write home about but then again (and what I asked myself after ordering this as well), why would you get risotto at a Japanese restaurant?
What you are going for at Bohemian is the experience of getting into one of the most exclusive restaurants in the city. The entrance and reservation policy is very unique and the service will never rush you even if they have to seat another party. The food, in my opinion, could have been much better considering they do cater to epicureans but in all honestly you aren’t really paying to eat the food but rather be transported into an environment that feels almost shut out from the rest of New York. And for that, Bohemian is worth every penny.