Despite citywide restrictions on indoor dining still very much in place, one Manhattan restaurant opened for dinner and looked to host some guests inside Wednesday night.
So NBC New York tried reserving a table — and was successful.
The social media page for Sushi By Bou states it very plainly: "Following court ruling, governor Cuomo has announced orange zones can open for indoor dining. We are thrilled to announce the re-re-opening of our Nomad location for indoor dining starting tomorrow."
Their post said they would invite guests back starting Wednesday, even though multiple users repeatedly challenged how that was possible, given that indoor dining was still not allowed in the city. But one user, Michael Sinensky, whose LinkedIn page lists him as a managing partner for the restaurant, insisted that those claims were inaccurate, and that the court order allowed them to be open.
While it is true that indoor dining is allowed in orange zones throughout the state, and that was due to a court ruling against Gov. Andrew Cuomo's restrictions. However, the city told NBC New York that "indoor dining in NYC is currently prohibited."
When reached by phone, the restaurant said it was operating on a "text only" basis. In a text conversation, the establishment said it offered indoor dining every day starting at 5 p.m. After more questions, they replied that they were "open for indoor dining because it is classified as room service. Sushi By Bou Nomad - Based on a recent court order, we were advised that we are within our rights in NYS to open at 50% occupancy."
The restaurant went on to say that they would adhere to all CDC and state COVID guidelines "as well as our own strict cleanliness and disinfecting regiment" they have always maintained as a business that handles raw fish.
Within five minutes of talking, NBC New York was able to secure a reservation for two at 8 p.m. Once inside, a photographer for News 4 was served freshly prepared sushi at a bar with two other couples.
The issue of indoor dining has been a lightning rod for struggling restaurants across the city, with growing calls to bring it back. Some, like a restaurant and bar on Staten Island, had refused to comply with the order — and were promptly shut down by the city.
For now, with COVID numbers still at greatly elevated levels, there is no sign that a return to sanctioned indoor dining is on the horizon.