Red Moon Offers Standard Asian (con)Fusion Fare

The Night Hotel on 45th street between Times Square and 6th avenue always seemed like a sketchy place, more like a gentleman’s club than a hotel. Recently, though, I found out that if you enter the very dark, goth hotel and walk straight back, past some pretty risque art, beyond reception on the right and the elevators on the left, you’ll arrive at a gated bar and a small swanky looking restaurant that bills itself as Japanese cuisine. Boasting dishes like pad thai and green curry as well as sushi and katsu, Red Moon is not, in fact, just Japanese cuisine, but yet another Asian fusion joint. Still, with its $10 lunch specials, Red Moon still seemed worth checking out.

Contrary to the more expensive menu out front, lunch specials on the takeout menu are mostly under $10 and include soup or salad. They offer sushi sets, but you’ll run into the common problem we find in Midtown that you can get only two rolls if you want to stay within the ML budget. The kitchen lunches — like katsu, pad thai, yaki udon and curry — seemed more promising.

I ordered yaki udon with chicken and chose salad, which was a nice mix of greens with a single cherry tomato and typical Japanese restaurant ginger dressing.

The stir fried noodles came with snap peas, red pepper, red onion, shimeji mushrooms and tender white meat chicken with the chewy udon noodles. Sauteed in a light sauce, it was not cloyingly sweet like teriyaki, and it was definitely not yakisoba sauce. Like any good stir fry, the dish was a little bit oily, as evidenced by the sheen at the bottom of the takeout container. Really the surprise was the shimeji mushrooms, because how often do you see that available in Midtown Lunches?

Again, as with most places, you can get only two sushi rolls and stay within the ML budget. Although it also comes with soup or salad, it’s still not enough.

I got one salmon avocado roll and one yellowtail scallion roll, and the quality seemed pretty decent. The soup was your typical miso with tofu and wakame. They also offer three rolls for $12, so I’d splurge the extra $2 for the extra roll, personally.

Since Red Moon bills themselves as a Japanese restaurant, I clearly started there, and I’d definitely return for more of the kitchen lunch items. Perhaps in the coming weeks I’ll try the other Asian dishes as well. Asian fusion spots can be a dime a dozen in this city, and Red Moon’s fare seems relatively on par so far.

Red Moon, 132 W. 45th Street (inside the Night Hotel), 212-391-6666

1 Comment

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    Lunch is now $12. Had the pork katsu. Decent pork size but not enough rice. The sweet sauce poured over the pork was too much and too sweet.

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