You cant keep a man like Jeffrey Chodorow down. Restaurant concepts fizzle and he returns, armed with a trend to blow up in bigger, bolder style. Take Tanuki Tavern, his replacement to Ono in the Gansevoort Hotel, which recently stepped out of soft-opening mode. As we mentioned, its named for a shape-shifting, raccoonlike canine with giant balls. The transformation draws on the izakaya model, intimate Japanese drinking dens that serve skewered meats, small dishes, and booze.
Tanuki is 2,800 square feet over two floors, with a terrace. The design by Studio CMP derives its Asian feel from bamboo floors, orange paper lanterns, and hanging origami. Chef de cuisine Kazu Hashimoto hails from Megu and Bouley, and his menu elevates small bites like chicken meatballs in rice crust (right) and scallops wrapped in Kurobuta pork bacon. (Sushi is also available.) Chodorow honors the izakaya model with a robust bar serving beer, sake, and cocktails, and long hours: Monday and Tuesday, noon to 1 a.m.; Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 4 a.m.; and Sunday, noon till 11 p.m. Click through the slideshow to see the lofty space, and preview the menus below.
Tanuki Tavern, 18 Ninth Ave., at 13th St.;212-660-6766