The Six Weirdest Restaurants in NYC

August 20, 2012

As any New Yorker will attest, the NYC culinary scene offers something for just about every palate.

Whether you roll with the comfort food crowd, the Micheline milieu, or consider yourself a gastronomical radical, you'll be hard-pressed to find fault with the variety of dining options in the city.

But find fault we will!

Rentenna presents The Strange Six - half a dozen bizarre eating establishments clearly in the running for the title of Weirdest Restaurant in New York City. These restaurants will make your toes tingle, your date scream, and occasionally drop a massive "WTF?" thought cloud over your head.

Hakata Tonton | 61 Grove Street

Weirdest Restaurants Hakata TonTon

The restaurant Hakata Tonton, while marketed as "Authentic Kyushu Japanese Soul Food", only really fits its moniker if your soul is located in your feet. Because that's their main specialty.

You'll find pig feet dipped in soup, pig feet in Ponzy sauce, pig feet in bimbimbop, and pig feet in pig feet. For those of you who repulsed by pig feet (read: not Asian), they'll kindly offer a side of tofu for you to munch on while your more adventurous friend devours all the food in front of you.

Try it for a refreshing new take on the phrase "foot fetish".

Duvet | 45 West 21st Street

Weirdest Restaurants Duvet

Didn't want to get out of bed this afternoon to go eat dinner? Well, now you don't have to.

Duvet is a chic establishment that crosses the lines between restaurant, club, and bedroom, with private boudoirs for every group of customers, heavily stuffed pillows to prop you up, and meals served on TV dinners as you watch a dreamy twist of hypnotic colors on the flatscreens around you. For added benefit, the dishes all have vaguely bedroom-themed names to them and a sickeningly sweet taste, such as White Satin or Sweet Dream.

One downside, though, and I'm sure the main allure for men taking their dates here: no sexytimes in the restaurant beds!  The rooms aren't nearly closed off enough for anything to happen without getting a few quick shoves from the bouncer out the door.

*Note: This restaurant was recently closed down; however, its artistic qualities were judged worthy of entry into our top 6 weirdest restaurants.

Camaje Bistro and Lounge | 85 MacDougal Street

Weirdest Restaurants Camaje

Are you into blindfolds, and strangers placing unknown objects in your mouth? Then you'll certainly enjoy Camaje.

Camaje Restaurant offers a "dark dining" experience, where the patrons presumably don a blindfold and reflect on what they're doing with their lives as waiters bring out new delicacies for you to try, in the name of "letting your senses take over." Though I imagine this might be a novel experience for many, the benefit of concentrating solely on the taste of your food is probably evened out by the number of broken wineglasses after every "experience".

Also, the chef responsible for your dishes is named Abigail Hitchcock, which immediately made me think of experiencing the culinary version of Psycho in my mouth.*

*This purely scientific and objective review brought to you by the wine and food experts of Rentenna under 21.

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Mars 2112 | 1633 Broadway

Weirdest Restaurants Mars 2112

This restaurant is exactly what it sounds like: a themed attempt to recreate the experience of dining on Mars in the near future, ignoring the asphyxiation due to lack of oxygen, constant dust storms, and non-existence of little green Martians on the Red Planet.

At 33,000 square feet, it's the largest themed restaurant in New York, and offers many amenities to show for it: a quick ride in a small spaceship to Mars, a Martian space visa, and quirky waiters dressed as soulless green men waiting to take your order. Additionally, every item on the menu is stamped with an alliterative, vaguely scientific sounding name such as "Skylab steak", in an effort to make you believe you're actually in space (Or on the Red Planet. Or something.)

*Note: This restaurant also recently closed down in Jan. 2012; however, it represents an important cultural milestone and historical monument to New York's willingness to trick unsuspecting tourists out of money.

Ninja New York | 25 Hudson Street

Weirdest Restaurants Ninja New York

Ninja New York offers the refreshing option of being jumped on  by a ninja falling from the ceiling in the middle of chowing down on your spicy sashimi roll.

The entertainment based around Ninja New York is the scare factor, and patrons love it. From popping out of the bathrooms every time you walk down a hallway, to having pop rocks sprinkled in your food, Ninja New York knows how to have a good time at your expense. The decor is a Japanese town / dungeon type theme, with authentically aged rocks, and magicians will pop by at your table and offer you a magic show that will inevitably end in you jumping backwards.

Come here if you're looking to be mildly scared by white people wearing black costumes and yelling loudly.

Peep | 177 Prince Street

Weirdest Restaurants Peep

Peep is a notable restaurant for one thing in particular: the ability to watch everyone else eat as you relieve yourself of... previous meals.

Sure - the restaurant serves unique, tasty Thai food, offering a blend of chic-modern and traditional design patterns. However, the unique, voyeuristic aspect of this establishment lies in the one-way mirrors that form the doorways to its restrooms. Once you're comfortably situated on the stool, you can take a break and lazily observe your fellow patrons eating while you remain (hopefully) hidden from view.  A creative, unique take on "people watching."

We don't want to imagine what single young men will do in there.

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