Openings & Closings: Kitakata Ramen, Kee’s Chocolate, Happy Kangaroo, 2 Restaurants Closed by DOH

Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai has opened at 267 Amsterdam Avenue between 72nd and 73rd Streets. The restaurant serves a variety of ramen dishes and its own signature “chashu pork” that’s hand-prepared every day. “Excellent food and staff,” Melanie Ward Wesslock told us after visiting on one of the first nights. “First come first seated sign in system. Happy to have another ramen spot in our hood!” Here’s an image of their menu. Thanks to Diana and Gretchen for the tips too.

Kee’s Chocolates has opened at at 228 Columbus Avenue between 70th and 71st. The chocolate shop serves handmade chocolates and other delicacies like macarons.

A pop up luxury gift and accessories shop called Happy Kangaroo opened at 465 Amsterdam Ave (82nd-83rd). “The Happy Kangaroo Lifestyle Collection includes handmade curated gifts, tableware, and accessories whose timeless designs reflect a refined and relaxed way of life. New pieces and discoveries are added daily so that the Collection always remains fresh and exciting.

And two restaurants have been closed temporarily by the city’s Department of Health after inspections.

Barney Greengrass on Amsterdam between 86th and 87th was closed on Thursday by the DOH, the day after being closed for Yom Kippur. “We had worked for 40 hours,” Gary Greengrass said in an interview on Thursday night. “We were closed yesterday. It’s unfortunate and it’s a little unfair. It was right after the busiest day of the year…It’s hard enough doing business in this city, and now there’s this added stress. It ruined my new year already.”

And Opal Thai at 722 Amsterdam Avenue (95th) was closed by the DOH on Wednesday after racking up 52 violations points.

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 23 comments | permalink
    1. James says:

      Is 52 violation points a lot?

      • Restaurant Guru says:

        13 points or less is an A. 13-25 points is a B. Anything over 25 is pretty serious. But the inspections are incredibly subjective and the inspectors can nail a restaurant for ridiculous things that have nothing to do with cleanliness, so I would still go to a restaurant if it had less than an A.

        • Rob Wolkow says:

          Went to Opai Thai a few weeks ago. Besides subpar food we saw a roach casually saunter across our table.

        • Christine E says:

          You can have mice and still be an “A.” Barney Greengrass did. A prior inspection gave 5 points for mice and since that was their only violation at that inspection, they were in A range.

          • B.B. says:

            Have learned long ago to ignore those inspection ratings, as they mean nothing.

            Yes, you can have a place infested with live rats and or mice and still get an “A” rating.

            Have passed several well known (closed for night) food shops over the years and upon looking in windows have seen more mice or rats than a Looney Tunes cartoon scampering about.

            Yes, these places all had “A” DOH ratings, and upon emailing a complaint to city got following response: “we’ve forwarded your compliant to business in question for action. Will update you when we have a response”…

            • LKLA says:

              An A may not mean they are perfect but a C or failing grade can’t mean anything good! While you may not want to jump up in joy to go eat at an A rated spot you surely want to avoid one with a failing grade. So grades matter.

          • B.B. says:

            As I said, those letter ratings are to be taken with a grain of salt.

            You would think that an “A” rating means a place is spotless, it doesn’t.

      • geoff says:

        similar to the defense of a Republican — blame the messenger. what’s unfair about being shown to be dirty, if you are?

    2. UWSHebrew says:

      Opai Thai has been very inconsistent for the last six months; occasional cheap vegetables, half portions. I think they’re cutting corners because they’re not making it. I prefer they return to the great place they were and raise the prices significantly.

    3. Ethan says:

      Kitakata Ramen seems to be already a bit of a ‘destination;’ longish lines, bustle. Looking forward to ingesting their product!

      • Frank says:

        It’s legit and they are feverish with the chashu. Fair prices overall and don’t miss out on the well above average gyoza. Seriously good.

    4. NY10023 says:

      I wonder what’s happening with that T-Mobile store at 69th/Broadway. They were ready to open about 2 months ago and they’re still boarded up. No more workers going in & out for at least a month. Anyone hear anything?

    5. jennifer says:

      Similarly, I wonder what’s up with the SE corner of 67/Amsterdam. A long time ago it was supposed to be another Julian Medina (Toloache) venue, but nothing has been happening there for a very, very long time.

    6. NYC10023 says:

      I love Barney’s and continue to go there despite a recent breakfast with a friend where we saw at least five HUGE roaches in the dining room. We finished our meal and have returned several times since, but I’m always on the lookout there for creepy crawlers. These were the largest roaches I have ever seen. Hopefully this closure will be a wake-up call for management to do what’s necessary to keep the place clean(er) and up to required Board of Health standards.

      • Robert Bianco says:

        Love the blintzes @ BGG but they better clean up their act. Zabars also offers blintzes & they’re larger and come with sour cream! Just saying…

    7. B.B. says:

      Barney’s GreenGrass was shut for roaches and mice.

      Don’t like to hit anyone while they’re down, but if you look at BGG’s DOH inspection record online this is a consistently reoccurring problem. Off and on since 2016 at least BGG has been sited by DOH for one of both of these issues (evidence of mice/rats, and or sighting of same), and etc….

      https://nypost.com/2019/10/12/famed-uws-deli-barney-greengrass-shuttered-for-mice-roaches/

      Again am not hating on anyone and love BGG, just stating facts.

      • Doris Fine says:

        Love their food. Infestation is not acceptable especially in a restaurant. Clean it up, reputation carries you somewhat the rest is on management.

        • B.B. says:

          Ask any exterminator in the city and they will tell you pretty much same; if you really knew what was going on in basements, kitchens and other areas of places that prepare, sell and serve food you’d never eat out again.

          If you look down DOH inspection reports you’ll find nearly every place has had at least on write up for rats/mice, as in evidence of or sighting of live.

    8. Robert Bianco says:

      I love the blintzes at BGG but they need to clean up their act. Zabar’s also sells blintzes and they’re larger and and come with sour cream. Just saying…

    9. Evan Bando says:

      Barney Greengrass was cut a lot of slack for a long time. Had to be done – finally.

    10. George says:

      I was walking down Broadway the other day and was wondering: is the old Artie’s space just going to exist for the near future as a shoot location for Marvelous Mrs. Maisel? Would love to see a new diner or deli-type restaurant open there.

    11. NYYgirl says:

      Just reading the comments below…feeling green…