Katsu-Hama is a calm oasis in midtown. The menu features panko-breaded fried pork or chicken cutlets. They offer a number of lunch specials for all appetites, including a seafood katsu option.
The decibel reading for our visit was higher than we would have guessed, because we found the place to be very comfortable, even relaxing. Although we were seated in the front where parties of one or two are placed, we believe the reading fairly reflects the entire space as we checked out the back dining area and found it to be consistent with our experience up front.
Calm is the word that best describes Katsu-Hama. Instrumental jazz played very softly in the background. Nearby diners chatted, in person or, sigh, on their phones, but it wasn’t bad–no screamers. We did pick up some kitchen sounds, but they weren’t jarring or pingy. The space is not live, and the low lighting and soft music really make for a relaxing experience. We highly recommend a visit to Katsu-Hama.
Monday through Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Sunday: 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
11 E. 47th Street (betw. 5th and Madison Avenues), New York, NY 10017
Underline Coffee is located by the 20th Street entrance to the High Line in West Chelsea. The attractive space was busy during our early afternoon visit. While the crowd was mostly quiet, once again we were assaulted by music that was too loud. There were the usual coffee-making sounds, but they weren’t that bad. No, it was just the music. Had the volume been lowered one or two notches, the space could have been comfortable.
Still, there aren’t many other options in the immediate location, and the coffee was good, so you could do worse. With luck, perhaps whoever is working that day may show some restraint. The noise level wasn’t awful, but that shouldn’t be the measure. Underline Coffee is tolerable, but it could be far more.
Monday through Saturday: 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (close at 6:00 p.m. in winter)
Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
511 W. 20th Street (betw. 10th and 11th Avenues), New York, NY 10011