Jill’s Corner: Ninja

High praise to the food and theatrics at this Tribeca restaurant

When we take all three kids out to eat at a nice place, I cringe when they act up. And when at a kiddie’s dump, gulping sulfate-infused cheapo wine provides some sort of relief from the yapping from nugget-packed tables. My favorite restaurants are those that strike the delicate balance between “family friendly” and “not digusting.” Translation: edible eats with a decent atmosphere that will tolerate my chirpin’ chitlins.

I think I have found the perfect place. A friend recommended it and my eyeballs almost popped out of their sockets. Eureka! Sushi and kiddie heaven: Ninja. The Japanese joint in Tribeca is part Tokyo kitsch, part underground adventure, part theme restaurant. All the waiters run around in ninja outfits—they pop up and scream with wonderful aplomb and have a gift for physical comedy worthy of John Ritter. When you ask for water, they say “We no have water. We have WATAAAAAA!” Hilarious! Things are lit on fire and swords mime-slice the air—all that with one of the best miso soups (white truffle oil-kissed) I have ever tasted. They also inform you that if anyone in your party finds a carrot, it is filled with a deadly poison and you must present it to your ninja. Sure enough, yours truly discovered the orange floater in my soup, and when I alert the waiter, he shepherded the Bugg’s food in dramatic fashion, replacing it with a gift certificate for twenty bucks off next time, in the form of a throwing star—which I always thought was Chinese, not Japanese—but whatever. Ninja is a fun, memorable experience that leaves you happily full and not food-raped. And the kiddies will be squealing with delight and begging to return.