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Great dining spots in NYC w no signs outside building!!?? Why?

I just took note of a few places I love but never noticed a sign outside with their name on it. I will start the list: Soto, Hirohisa, Kyo ya. Why no sign? From the looks of my list, it seems to be a Japanese thing? Add to the list if you know of others.

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  1. Hakkasan was like that at first, but I believe they added some signage. i guess it gives patrons a sense that they're in the know.

    1. Bohemian, behind the butchers on Great Jones St. Again, Japanese. Decibel, a Japanese basement joint, does have a sign but it's virtually invisible from street level.

      1. I noticed this on a recent trip to Toronto also - not exclusively (or even predominantly) on Japanese places.

        What about places like Acme, where the sign is totally unreflective of the actual restaurant.

          1. Friends who travel to the Far East say that this is common there. You just know by the address where the restaurant is. Korean place I went to w/ a friend years ago in Philly was the same. It was just a door w/ a number. Inside there were tables and chairs and no English.

            1. Back in the day to find Chumley's you went thru an unmarked door at Bedford and Barrow St and thru a courtyard. It always impressed my dates. The place was always crowded.
              I recently went to Double Windsor in Park Slope. It's a bar/restaurant with excellent food. The place was packed on a Wednesday evening. No sign at all.

              1. I think its also an attempt towards creating an air of "exclusivity" similar to how esquina's restaurant is hidden downstairs, or any number of clubs/lounges with a blank door and just a bouncer. Also a number of the speakeasy cocktail bars- i walked by middle branch twice before noticing the "MB" outside.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Ttrockwood

                  Funny. MB is in my hood. After walking by a dozen times wondering WTH I went in. Nice crowd and worth a visit.

                  1. re: Motosport

                    Then we're neighbors! I really liked it too, I need to go back actually...

                2. Pulqueria never had one, does this place still exist? Locande Vini e Oili has a drugstore sign instead the actual name.

                  1. No sign outside of Momofuku Ko, only a peach on the door.

                    1. 2 places come to mind.

                      Zenkichi in Williamsburg - This is the door... http://www.spearmintkitchen.com/wp-co...

                      Sakagura - Inside an office building. I know there are others inside office buildings (HIT Korean is another one) but this one took me by surprise since I didnt do my homework so had no idea

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Ziggy41

                        Zenkichi and Sakagura are both great. Sakagura has some pretty nice lunch specials during the week as well.

                      2. In Japan many restaurants are almost impossible to find.
                        Kura is another "secret" or "hidden" place
                        Yokocho ( kind of hidden ,it's upstairs)
                        Bouley Upstairs originally didn't have a sign.
                        Sushi Azabu - hidden downstairs in what used to be Greenwich Grill , now Daruma-ya
                        That Korean chicken place on 32nd St up stairs on 3rd floor I think.
                        Decibel - in the basement ( small sign)
                        Chumleys as mentioned by others ( had no sign and was an old speakeasy)
                        Artie's warehouse was in an old warehouse in Chelsea , by day it looked like a warehouse not a restaurant ( in the 80's)
                        Num Peng- wasn't hidden but in a parking garage on 12th street, kind of cool
                        There was a Chinese restaurant on E. Bway, Sea something , you could enter through a clothing store and take elevator up to the restaurant.( near the old Nice restaurant)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                          Back in the day, the Gaslight Club had no sign. Just a gaslight outside and you had to have a key to enter.