Octopus frites (Image: Courtesy of MIFUNE New York)

Mifune, overseen by disciples of Michelin-starred restaurants in France, brings back bittersweet memories for me. Sweet because the dishes I sampled there in March — which included a quail egg in a dense tangle of matchstick potatoes and a sweet and delicate confit of monkfish balanced by an assertive puree of eggplant and anchovy — were indeed something to write home about. (I did, in my review here.) Bitter because Mifune was my experience au restaurant before the dreaded coronavirus condemned me to a year of solitude in my Manhattan apartment.

The good (well, better) news for foodies suffering the same fate as mine is that Mifune is back, if not all the way. For now, the restaurant has reopened for al fresco dining on its outdoor patio and is offering a special menu to mark the occasion.

Among the first-course enticements you will find a black angus beef tataki as well as lengths of fried octopus, served beneath a green bean salad moistened with a Japanese onion dressing. Main courses feature squid ink seafood bouillabaisse rice (shades of the powerfully fragrant bouillabaisse-like soupe de poisson I savored on my last visit). The dish is thick with shrimp, octopus, and clams, and speckled with dollops of creamy lobster aïoli.

For those not yet venturing out, the restaurant offers delivery and takeout, which doesn’t mean you can’t dine with flair. A “Friday Only” menu available exclusively through Mifune’s website or on Seated delivers to your door an 18-course tasting menu that serves 2 or 3 people for $120.

Mifune, 245 E 44th Street (bet Second and Third Aves.), 212-986-2800.