Details about New Restaurants, and Changes to Old Ones, Revealed at Liquor License Hearing

Viva the Las Vegas Roll at RA Sushi.

By Maya Mau

Community Board 7 approved the liquor licenses of four restaurants — including Italian, Cajun, and Japanese spots — at their May 12 meeting. 

Harry’s Table by Cipriani, an Italian restaurant, is planning on opening soon at Two Waterline Square, the luxury condominium at 225-235 Freedom Place South (West 61st Street). The Cipriani family runs several dining locations across the world, in cities such as Abu Dhabi, Venice, and Moscow. It will expand its New York City portfolio by opening Harry’s Table, which will feature several counters serving specialties such as gelato, coffee, pizza, pasta, and fish. It had previously gotten approval in 2019 and received conditional approval from the state. However, it was not able to pick up its license in the allotted time due to the pandemic. Its request for a premises liquor license to be used as part of a food hall and restaurant was approved by the community board. You can explore the project’s website here.

RA Sushi, a Japanese restaurant, is planning on opening soon at 433 Amsterdam Avenue (West 81st Street) in the location currently occupied and operated by Haru Sushi. RA Sushi is planning on operating very similarly to the way that Haru Sushi is now. With locations across the nation, RA Sushi offers several Japanese food options including sushi and hibachi. It also offers a variety of alcoholic beverages, including cocktails, sake, beer and wine. The restaurant will remain in the portfolio of Japanese restaurants owned by Benihana, but the change in management required the application for a new liquor license. Since the community board approved RA Sushi’s application, it is planning on opening as soon as its New York State liquor license is approved. You can see RA Sushi’s menu here.

Kissaki, another Japanese restaurant that specializes in sushi, opened in September 2020 at 286 Columbus Avenue (West 74th Street) in the space formerly occupied by Guyer’s, an American restaurant that served bar food. The restaurant’s executive chef is Mark Garcia, and it imports its uni, caviar, and most of its fish directly from Japan. In addition to its food options, it also has a bar that serves cocktails, sake, beer, and wine. Kissaki applied for a class change to its liquor license because it recently acquired the former optometry office next door, EuroOptica, and would like to additionally serve alcohol there. You can access Kissaki’s menu here.

A mighty catch indeed!

Mighty Catch, a Cajun restaurant, opened in December 2019 at 940 Columbus Avenue (West 106th Street). It serves Cajun and Creole cuisine and specializes in seafood. It previously had its license to serve liquor in progress, but after switching to a beer and wine license which was approved, it changed its mind again and decided to apply for the full liquor license, which the community board approved. You can access Mighty Catch’s lunch and dinner menus here.

Hi-Life Bar and Grill has been at 477 Amsterdam Ave (West 83rd Street) since 1981. Hi-Life offers comfort food and cocktails and additionally has an authentic sushi bar. Hi-Life had its liquor license suspended temporarily earlier in the pandemic after state inspectors said it was serving food in an enclosed space before those rules were relaxed (the food was being served in an atrium with the French doors open, the bar noted). Hi-Life and other spots that were fined by the state is still forced to operate with a closing time of 11 pm. A representative of Hi-Life noted that the restaurant has paid a fine and lost business due to restrictions for the past months. The community board agreed to work on a letter to the State Liquor Authority supporting Hi-Life’s application to reclaim its standard liquor license. This would allow the restaurant to remain open in accordance with the state-wide curfew. You can access Hi-Life’s menu here.

The liquor licenses are pending final approval by the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA).

FOOD, OPEN/CLOSED | 8 comments | permalink
    1. Leon says:

      RA’s web site looks almost identical to Haru and the article notes it is the same owner. So is this basically just a rebranding? More importantly, I have Haru gift cards from their various promotions. Will these be honored at RA? I would really hope so. Any follow up would be appreciated.

      • DP says:

        I’ve been to a few RA locations and the food was good but it definitely struck me as “chain” food, kind of cookie-cutter. Not sure if it’s a true rebranding or joining an existing franchise, which means conforming to their rules/standards.

      • Andrew says:

        RA has owned Haru for a long time. I think this could be a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the liquor license application.

    2. James Goodman says:

      Does anyone know what is happening with our beloved Haru Sushi? We love the place, the people, the food. Oh no.

    3. Frankie says:

      Hi-Life is such a wonderful place, one with a genuine UWS feel to it. It sickened me when they were penalized early in the pandemic for a seemingly trivial and arbitrary “violation.” I hope they will soon be free of all restrictions, for they truly are such a comforting presence in a city sorely in need of comfort.

    4. Carolyn says:

      Hi-Life is a wonderful go-to restaurant. All family and visitors I almost always take them to Hi-Life….. food is always delicious and it is warm and friendly. Who could ask for more…. oh yes, that liquor license to be restored and the penalties removed! Long live Hi-Life!!

    5. SmartGuy says:

      I echo the sentiments of others voicing support for Hi-Life. The penalty was ridiculous to begin with, so stop hurting this great establishment!

    6. Steven says:

      RA Sushi is pretty good, I have been to a few when out west. A large variety of different rolls which I always liked. I hope the prices won’t be as high as Haru currently is though I will say that Haru has damn good sushi.