Like all good things in NYC, Sake Bar Decibel is hidden. If you don’t notice the “On Air” sign or the smaller red Sake illuminated square marking its entrance, you’ll miss it. Opened in 1993 it has been transporting its guests to a graffitied hidden Little Toyko just off 9th Street in Lower Manhattan since.
You walk down the thin stairs to a stickered and graffitied front door.
Through the door to the Underground is a wall of Sake and a velvet rope you have to wait behind to be seated. No reservations are taken.
On the way to the elbow to elbow small tables the place feels small, punk and intimate.
The entire place is gorgeous in a dimly lit dangerous sort of way. And if you blink twice you will swear you are in a scene from Blade Runner.
The service is efficient and minimal. The sake is any way you want it to be; sharable, non stop, cloudy, cold, hot…there are over a 100 different choices. And the crowd is just as diverse. Blacked out Wall Street dudes trying to bed assistants, NYU kids, and me, the solo act pounding cold sake and Sapporo at the low stooled bar.
All are welcome. Most need the rail on the stairs to get out to the street after the experience.
The star of every visit for me are the wasabi dumplings. These m*therfuckers are the hottest most flavorful thing I have ever had. And I normally have two servings.
The sashimi is fresh. The small plates are varied. The edamame comes out cold (this was a little weird for me) but everything I have had there is great.
Sake Bar Decibel is a place I frequent whenever I am in New York and is how I always wanted New York to stay- diverse, delicious, shoulder to shoulder and kind of buzzed Downtown.