Walk down Mamaroneck Avenue in Mamaroneck Village and don’t blink or you might miss the opening of a new restaurant, in particular one of the “Asian fusion” persuasion. There are now four within a block and Red Plum is among the best.
For almost 25 years, the only place for sushi on the avenue was Abis. I have to admit, I was sad to see it go after all those birthday parties and dates on the tatami mats. My daughter cut her teeth on the Yakitori.
What To Love:
Exotic Asian Fusion Fare-Vast Menu/Sushi Bar
Trendy Atmosphere. New York City/Tokyo Comes to Mamaroneck.
Owners present: Peter and May look to accommodate and appreciate their guests.
Family Friendly-Great Date Spot
Fabulous Bar Scene- Specialty Drinks, over 15 types of Sake.
Free Delivery with orders of $15
Price Range: $2-$42
However, the Asian scene completely changed with the coming of Toyo. Owned by Peter Chen and run by his diminutive, powerhouse wife May, Toyo leaned away from cherry blossoms and kimonos. It brought a New York City chic to its small and always crowded sushi bar. So crowded and popular, that Mr. Chen soon opened a new restaurant next door.
If you ask Mr. Chen, “Why not just expand Toyo when it is doing so well?” He just grins and tells you he’s sure Red Plum will be just as big a hit – and he’s right, it is.
If you thought Toyo was swanky with its faux branches and soft, green-lighted glass behind the sushi counter, check out Red Plum. It takes swank to a whole new level with a gorgeous water feature as you enter, windows that open into the street, and a marble bar lit from below. The music is up-tempo lounge nouveaux which lends a NYC vibe for the bar crowd but may be a tad loud for dinner conversation.
The best news is that Mr. Chen has brought over a lot of his most popular Toyo dishes and added several other Asian cuisines to the mix. The menu is both vast and tempting.
I was happy to find my favorite specialty rolls from Toyo – such as the Crazy T Roll and Crush Roll along with my other favorite transport, pepper tuna sashimi. No other place I’ve tried comes close to Toyo/Red Plum’s version with a seared and peppered border, drizzled lightly with ponzu sauce and a wasabi mayo. Healthy, light and delectable.
The sushi bar is well commanded and serves the same grade as Toyo. Mr. Chen places a high priority on his sushi, meeting standards people have come to expect.
The appetizers at Red Plum are a virtual Asian tour, with Chinese, Vietnamese, Siamese, Indonesian and Japanese offerings.
If you like calamari, try Red Plum’s and fall in love with it all over again. This calamari is cut into long thin pieces, (not the expected rings) fried to perfection and served with a spicy peanut sauce. I woke up this morning craving it again.
Red Plum’s rock shrimp tempura isn’t typical either – rather than deep-fried and crunchy, it’s lightly coated and marinated in a mayo with a bite. Full of flavor, but a little disconcerting if you are expecting to be able to pick it up with your hands.
Want your own personal barbeque at your table? Then try the ishiyaki. Choose between Kobe beef, regular beef, or chicken and sizzle your own paper-thin meat on a hot stone atop a lighted rustic pot. Sort of like Smores, but with meat. Not only was this fun, it was absolutely delicious.
I opted out of miso soup for the first time in 30 years, seduced instead by the coconut seafood bisque served in a real coconut. Presentation is key at Red Plum, in both the appetizers and entrees. Hot and creamy, the base of this bisque was rich and wonderful. Yet, I would have wished for the potatoes and chunks of shrimp and fish to be seasoned a little more.
Need To Know:
251 Mamaroneck Avenue
Mamaroneck, NY 10543
Open 7 Days a Week-
The entrée menu is as diverse as the appetizers. It includes everything from filet mignon, to Pad Thai, to General Tso’s chicken. Around Asia in almost 80 dishes!
I went with Mr. Chen’s recommendation: char grilled Chilean sea bass with a mango puree over sautéed asparagus, onion, and mushroom. The fish was grilled just right and infused with ginger and spices in the chutney/sauce.
Red Plum’s beautiful bar is also worth a mention: their specialty drinks , like the Lady Dragon or Green Tea martinis compliment the restaurant’s Pan Asian theme. I tried one of the 15 special sakes. The cold Ozeki Osakaya had a floral tone and was as smooth as can be. This is a world-class bar in the heart of Mamaroneck.
The staff at Red Plum is fast and efficient, but I wish they were as warm as the owners. Some are, some aren’t-it is hit or miss. The hostesses at the front are always welcoming, accommodating and very friendly.
The biggest problem with Red Plum is that it is already as popular as Toyo, so there may be a wait. Reservations are definitely recommended on the weekends.
As I left Red Plum, I remembered last year when owner Mr. Chen winked at me and said, “You wait, Red Plum is going to be great.” I wondered how anything at the time could top Toyo, but now I know.
Laura Smith is a writer, on-air personality at 106.7 LITE FM, voice over artist and long-time resident of Larchmont/Mamaroneck. When asked what she makes for dinner, Laura replies, “Reservations.”