Get it while you can …
• Bright bites, big city. Firefly squid, or Hotaru Ika, shine like stars in more ways than one. In spring in Japan, these mini bio-luminescent mollusks glow in the dark sea, creating their own blue light show in in bays in the Hokuriku region.
At Okuda (458 W. 17th St.) the tender and briny one-bite wonders, are served with hamaguri (Asian hard clam) and spring greens as one of the appetizers on chef Toru Okuda’s nine-course kaiseki spring tasting menu ($195).
A culinary art form, kaiseki celebrates nature through rare, ephemeral ingredients. Like firefly squid, which, by the way, don’t glow when they’re prepared. They fly off the menu at the end of March.
New to the scene …
• At Akrotiri (29-20 30th Ave.), the new Greek restaurant opening Thursday in Astoria, Queens, seafood runs deep. The fishy focus fits, since the restaurant is named after an ancient city on the island of Santorini in the Aegean. Beyond the raw bar and whole fish options, you can dive into the menu cooked up by owner Chris Kouvaros and chef Nicholas Poulmentis, which features octopus croquettes with lemon dill aioli ($12); black caviar spread made with herring roe, truffles and squid ink ($10); perch cooked in parchment paper and seasonal vegetables ($20) and linguini with fresh tomato sauce and lobster (market price). The wine list? It’s mostly Greek to you.
Meanwhile, Latin and Asian flavors are the name of the game at Harlem Taco and Bowl Co. (2288 Frederick Douglass Blvd., 123rd St.), a just-opened casual spot from the brains behind Good Enough To Eat, Zen Taco and AG Kitchen. Diners can build their own taco, buns or bowls by incorporating an array of items. Mexican or Jasmine rice? Tofu or shrimp filling? Mole or Korean BBQ sauce? You choose. Or pick from house specialties like Miss Piggy ($9), which features pork, orange ginger, asian slaw, ponzu and sesame seeds.
New menu …
• Spring arrives Tuesday and it’s all about cocktail conversation and sipping pretty. Ask Elena Talevska, general manager at the cozy Cibo e Vino (2418 Broadway, at 89th St.), where the fruity new specialty cocktail menu is the stuff that spring flings are made of.
Like Riding Dragons ($14) a name borrowed from a book about spirituality, which marries white rum and pear puree. “It has a freshness that’s evocative of spring,” says Talevska.
Spring is also top-of-mind at Jimmy , the snazzy rooftop bar at the James Hotel in SoHo (15 Thompson St.). Co-owner and mixologist Johnny Swet debuts a seasonal fleet of cocktails and unique nonalcoholic mocktails on March 21. On deck: The refreshing South Side ($14), which blends Seedlip Garden #105 lime juice, agave, cucumber, mint and lime.
And at Max Brenner (841 Broadway), the place of choice for chocoholics, spring-fling libations include the Strawberry Dream ($13.50). It’s pretty in pink, with kicks from vodka, fruit, vanilla and white chocolate.
On the horizon …
• Eater up! Major League Baseball will feature ballpark menus at its inaugural FoodFest near Bryant Park in Manhattan on April 21-22. Tickets are $25 for food only or $40 for food and beer, and all tickets come with the chance to sample one highlighted menu item from all 30 MLB parks.
Food from all 30 big league ballparks will be sold. That includes the Yankees’ Adobo Bao, a sandwich debuting during the 2018 season, and the Mets’ classic NY deli pastrami sandwich. Take me out to the food fest.