Azabu is a soba house and self proclaimed Izakaya tucked away on a sleepy stretch of cobblestone street in Tribeca. Featuring homemade soba noodles prepared by soba master Shuichi Kotani and a menu of modern Japanese specialties prepared by Chef Nobuhito Dose, calling Azabu a Izakaya is a bit of a stretch. While an Izakaya is traditionally a Japanese tavern more akin to a pub, a casual place for after-work drinking and food, Azabu is decidedly a higher end and pricier destination. The one element that is traditional to an Izakaya is the full bar offering cocktails, beer, wine, sake and a selection of Japanese whiskey.
Azabu is located in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan. TriBeCa, or the Triangle Below Canal Street, became a popular neighborhood for artists and others seeking relief from the rising prices in SoHo in the late 1980s. In some ways similar to the SoHo of decades past for its conversion of gritty old industrial warehouses into beautiful loft spaces, the real estate boom of the later 1990s transformed forever the small-town feeling of TriBeCa. No longer is it tough to find good food, grocery stores or newsstands. Chic boutiques now compete with high-end restaurants and bars, while the influx of upper-income families have led to the quick disappearance of the downright cheap apartment bargains of years past. Forbes magazine recently ranked the 10013 zip code in TriBeCa as the 12th most expensive zip code in the United States. Anonymous high-rises are sprouting up next to the historic older buildings, whose cast-iron façades and gleaming picture windows bespeak a New York of decades past. TriBeCa is a neighborhood where luxury apartments can be found adjacent to city government offices, where the quiet of cobblestone streets contrasts with the heavily trafficked truck routes to the Holland Tunnel, so one should expect the unexpected. In short, expect a microcosm of New York. Recently the neighborhood profile has been raised tremendously by the new TriBeCa Film Festival. Founded by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal in 2002, this New York attraction was created to celebrate the city as a major filmmaking center and to contribute to the long-term recovery of lower Manhattan. In a remarkably short period of time the TriBeCa Film Festival has become known as one of the leading annual film festivals in the world. Other famous film companies are in the neighborhood as well, most notably Miramax Films Studios on Greenwich Street. In the 19th and 20th centuries TriBeCa was known as a center of the textile and cotton trade, but today in its stead there are a number of modern institutions and important landmarks in the neighborhood. The Holland Tunnel connecting New York to New Jersey has its entrances and exits in the northwest corner of TriBeCa. Washington Market Park, bordering Greenwich, Chambers, and West Streets, is a 1.6-acre park that is extremely popular with children for its large playground. While in terms of educational institutions, Stuyvesant High School, one of New York City's prized specialized science high schools, as well as PS234, an elementary school considered one of the best public schools in the New York metropolitan area, are located in TriBeCa. Brunch, lunch and dinner activities in TriBeCa are highly regarded, not just due to the excellent (and usually expensive) cuisine options, but also in regard to the relative tranquil atmosphere of the neighborhood. Bubby's Restaurant on Varick Street remains popular among the film crowd and is known to be a family friendly restaurant. The Odeon on West Broadway provides the most beloved bistro setting and French comfort food in the neighborhood. And for more refined tastes, Robert De Niro has ownership in not one but two well-known local restaurants here. The TriBeCa Grill, located between Franklin and Greenwich Streets in the first two floors of the TriBeCa Film Center Building, offers classic American cuisine in a converted industrial warehouse setting, and Nobu, a favorite haunt of many New York celebrities, which serves innovative "new style Japanese cooking" to those who are willing to handle the hefty prices on the menu. In addition, the numerous David Bouley properties are always a favorite. Staying in TriBeCa during a stay in Manhattan can offer visitors a welcome escape from the hectic, bustling streets of the neighborhoods in and near Midtown. An obvious choice would be the Tribeca Grand Hotel which plays host to the TriBeCa Film Festival and lies in close proximity to Little Italy, Chinatown, Hudson Square nightclubs, Greenwich Village, New York University, and Wall Street. The Greenwich Hotel, located on the Western edge of the neighborhood right next to the TriBeCa Grill, offers 13 luxury suites and 75 unique rooms. The Cosmopolitan Hotel in southern TriBeCa is geared to the needs of out-of-town visitors and has affordable rooms, a convenient location, and newly refurbished in-house restaurant, the Cosmopolitan Café.
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