As the head chef of The Sea Grill, Yuhi Fujinaga spends his day cooking up carefully plated renditions of everything from lobster carpaccio to Montauk striped bass atop edamame purée. So when he's home in Long Island City, where's lived the past year with his wife and daughter, he likes to keep it very simple.
"Compared to the food I'm cooking, I like to eat something that's simpler—it doesn't have to be fancy," he says. Here are some of his favorites in the neighborhood.
Pizza: Since I'm a seafood chef I like having meat on my days off. I'll get my pizza from Testaccio and always get the porchetta pizza. It's made in a wood-fired oven and has a super, super thin crust, so you get more of the toppings than the crust.
Diner: I only went once to M. Wells. It's more on the serious eats side of food. I thought it was a very interesting thing. It's not everyone for sure. My wife is like, "It's okay, but I'm not going there again." It's not food you want to eat every day. But it's worth the visit. For me, again, because the kind of work I do, I cook all day, all night, I just like having something that's more comforting.
Burger: There's a place called Petey's Burger. I have a burger there that's very straightforward with lettuce, tomato and onion on a potato bun. I get it medium rare. There's no secret sauce and it's just very tasty.
Coffee: Sweetleaf has fancy espresso machines with all the fancy gauges. They bring in exotic coffees from around the world. In the morning I get the Red Eye, but I drink my shot of espresso first and then get my iced coffee to go.
Brunch: For brunch there's Alobar. They have a nice, good comfort food-style brunch. It's kind of like a gastropub, and they make some of their own charcuterie. If you can, order eggs Benedict or something with duck confit.
Sandwich: Cyclo sells some pretty good banh mi. Sometimes they have one with Peking duck, but usually I'll get the chicken one. The bread is pretty good and crusty on the outside but still soft inside.
Bars: There's Alewife for beer. They probably one of the biggest collections—bottles and on draft. For cocktails, I go to Sweetleaf. At night it's a cocktail lounge. They usually give me a good gin and seltzer mix.
Date: Shi is an Asian restaurant. It's right along the water. It's very nice, chic, and you get a romantic view. Growing up Japanese, I have to say their sushi is very good for not being a Japanese restaurant. It's an Asian restaurant. I don't know who the sushi chef is but the manager says he used to work at Nobu.
Ice Cream: We like taking my daughter to Uncle Louie G. It's one of those places where they have over 30 flavors.