Today is Tanabata!
Dreaming of a trip to Japan to celebrate the annual Japanese summer festival of Tanabata on July 7? Unfortunately, Japan’s borders are still closed for most of us, but the Japanese restaurant Ootoya offers a traditional celebration, but a whole lot closer!
Tanabata, also known as the Star Festival, celebrates the meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi. According to Japanese legend, the Milky Way separates these lovers, who are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month. This year, Ootoya has been celebrating Tanabata all week, and today, Wednesday, July 7, is your last chance to join in the fun.
Ootoya’s festivities start once people walk in the restaurant and see a display of decorated bamboo. Following the Japanese custom, diners can write a wish on a strip of paper and place it on the tree.
People wearing a Yukata, a popular summer attire, will receive a refreshing sparkling Tanabata Cocktail ($10) for free. Made with fresh watermelon granité, Calpico, and Cava, the drink also is available in a non-alcoholic version ($6) with soda instead of Cava.
While enjoying this pleasantly sweet cocktail, people can order some of Ootoya’s signature Japanese comfort dishes such as the breaded and fried silky pork Tonkatsu or the charcoal-grilled Shima Hokke (atka mackerel). The staff recommends you enjoy it as a Teishoku—a set meal that comes with rice, soup, and salad, with a choice of an entree.
Visit one of Ootoya’s three locations in NYC today!
41 E. 11th Street (between University Place and Broadway)
8 W. 18th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues)
141 W. 41st Street (between Broadway and 6th Avenue)
For more information and to make reservations, please visit Ootoya’s website.