Offbeat eateries -- Ninja New York

Tired of the same old Applebee's and Cracker Barrel fare? Well, fortunately, you're living in the 21st century, where choice reigns. We've pulled together some suggestions for places that offer novel dining experiences.

There are few traditions too sacred to transform into theme eateries. As an example, I might point to Ninja New York. This restaurant, built to emulate feudal Japan with numerous small chambers and stone walls, employs the mighty Ninja warrior class as waiters.

Don't blame Americans for trivializing the tradition, though; Ninja began in Japan and was brought to New York by the same owners. As you can imagine, the Ninja waiters are dressed as warriors complete with cutlery, prone to shout out 'hai!' at the drop of a napkin, and occasionally scuffle for the entertainment of the Gaijin. When one of the ninja transgresses, he might even be taken to the torture chamber for an old-fashioned, highly entertaining whipping. No waterboarding, though.

The food is prepared with the typical Japanese love of presentation and elegance, something I doubt any real Ninja enjoyed in his combat environment.

If you want to experience a real Ninja life, I suggest you slice your arm open with a sharp blade, sleep in the snow and live on an occasional ball of rice. Or you could settle for this version of Ninja, authenticity be damned.