What To Eat At Aja, Opening Thursday Where Ajasteak Used To Be

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Aja's print ad: green goo showers are an off-the-menu specialty.
Aja’s print ad: green goo showers are an off-the-menu specialty. Photo: Taste Graphics

The Dana Hotel restaurant space that was formerly Ajasteak is now closed forever — it served its last dinner yesterday — but don’t worry. It’s reopening on Thursday, October 22, as Aja, a more casual shared-plates concept from chef Joshua Linton. Linton’s playing to the crowd here, with a restaurant that’s as cohesive a compilation of current dining trends as we’ve come across.

There’s the ethical angle (the sushi menu will be made up of entirely sustainable seafood choices), the local/seasonal angle (the tapas-style small dishes will be market-driven), the house-made staples angle (the kitchen’s making all the spice blends and sauces — including XO, a seafood sauce that’s aged for at least two weeks), the high-end/low-end angle (check the “Aja Oreos” on the dessert menu), and, most obligatory of all, the Asian-Latin fusion angle (keep an eye out for the Korean bulgogi beef tacos on the “snak-bar” menu). Aja opens for lunch and dinner on Thursday, with a snack menu all afternoon.

begin
shrimp: tempura rock shrimp/spicy sambal/roasted pineapple 12
pork: duroc spare ribs/sweet, spicy, sticky glaze 12
lobster: lobster-scallion korean omelet/sambal/sweet ginger dipping sauce 14
vegetable: 18 vegetable salad/crispy taro/sweet soy-rice wine vinaigrette 12
chicken: minced chicken/spicy peanuts/green papaya/butter lettuce leaves 11
crab: jumbo lump crab rangoon/chile garlic sauce 11
dumplings: shrimp and pork shu mai/steamed/ginger-soy sauce 10
soup: charred chicken/braised pork/rice noodles/chile/lime 9

noodles & rice
fat noodles: shiitake mushrooms/scallions/chow fun 14
skinny noodles: wok seared short ribs/crispy egg vermicelli/young ginger 16
brown rice: wild mushroom fried rice/black truffle/tellicherry pepper 16
white rice: thai fried basmati rice/toasted coconut/coriander/lime leaf 12

main
steak: sliced prime ny strip/shallots/soy-chile butter 29
pork: smoked and slow‘red’ cooked duroc pork/ginger/garlic 21
teriyaki: iron seared chicken/spicy long beans/tempura onions 18
beef: 5 spice short ribs/charred onion/chinese mustard mashed potatoes 22
chicken: crispy chicken breast/sesame caramel/dried red chilies 18
shrimp: wok seared prawns/chile-garlic paste/pepper and salt 26
fish: suzuki sea bass/wok flashed vegetables/sizzling hot oil 22
big fish: crispy whole fish/black bean nam pla sauce/stir fried yu choy 26

sides
tofu: 5 spice/garlic chives/xo sauce 8
greens: wok tossed/ginger/crispy shallots 7
beans: long beans/garlic/chinese black bean sauce 7
peppers: charred shisito peppers/preserved lemon/coarse sea salt 7

sweet sticky things
cookies: aja oreos/double dark chocolate cookies/white chocolate mousse/organic milk 9
bubbles: shaved ice slushie/vanilla tapioca bubbles/ coconut-taro cream 9
chocolate: white & dark chocolate sauce hot pot/cookies/cakes/bars/fruits 9
ice cream: vanilla, chocolate, coffee gelato/shiny fudge sauce/cherries/marcona almond-sea salt praline/whipped cream 9
cake: lemon drop cake/brandy-brown sugar syrup/eggnog chantilly 9
apple: free-style spiced apple tart/lemongrass caramel/vanilla gelato 9

What To Eat At Aja, Opening Thursday Where Ajasteak Used To Be