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Feb 25, 2006 11:18 PM

New York Izakaya and Sake Bar

  • m

going to New York - looking for a great Izakaya and/or Sake bar with good food in manhattan.

Any recommendations will be much appreciated.

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  1. Sakagura is top of the line in that category. For food, look first at the daily specials. For sake, check the seasonal specials (often pricey, usually worth it).

    211 E 43rd St (2nd/3rd Aves), 212-953-7253



    4 Replies
    1. re: squid-kun

      Agree with Squid Kun - Sakagura is fantastic so too Aburiya Kinnosuke both in the Japanese enclave north east of Grand Central. There are some great namas (seasonal sakes) available at the moment in Sakagura - try one called Harushika Shiboribana from Nara prefecture (a very reasonable $60 for a 720ml bottle, also available for $34 from Landmark wines on 23rd St if you fancy taking some home).

      Went to another new and highly rated izakaya called Chiyono (East 6th St) last week - charming and graceful Japanese female staff but in truth not a patch on either of the two places above and they were having major service issues on the evening we were there. Quite a lot cheaper mind if budget is an issue.


      1. re: Oonth

        Agreed Sakagura has a really really great sake list...though I don't think their food is as good as some other Izakaya (it's good though I wouldn't clasify as great), but they do have some great desserts (their pastry chef is excellent)

        1. re: Oonth

          Many thanks - went to Sakagura - I had the spring deer nama sake from nara. Fantastic - floral, pure, fresh and clean.

          Highly, highly recommend the Tori Karaage - wow. crispy on the outside - juicy on the inside. delicious. I ordered a second portion for dessert.

          arigato gozaimasu.

          1. re: Oonth

            I went to Aburiya last night and loved it. I did Shichirin Yaki and though it was fun, we coudn't cook as good as we wanted to. "Leave the cooking to the chefs," we were saying afterwards. Anago Shirayaki was grilled perfectly. Thanks, guys, for recommendation. I also vote for Sakagura. For more reasonable options (which means East Vill.), I'm voting for Decibel. For Yakitori, Totto for $$$ and Taisho for $.

        2. Was back in New York today and went back to Sakagura.

          The experience starts with a culinary version of the ropes/trust exercise. Your fellow diners anxiously glance at each other as you pass the security guard in the office building, and proceed down not just one, but two flights of steel stairs to the basement of 211 East 43rd street.

          Their trust in you is repayed over and over as you are nestled into the warm atmosphere of an authentic Izakaya and Sake bar. Service is knowledgeable about the many sake (fresh, seasonal) - our waitress asked us our preferences and then gave us a customized tasting menu including a wonderful seasonal sake from Hyogo prefecture called Kasumitsuru.

          Our party of four devoured a major meal with the following stand out dishes:

          Tatemiwashi - dried sardine crackers with a spicy mayonaise dip.

          Uzaku - unagi (but cold) with cucumbers and wakame. refreshingly different from the usual presentation of unagi.

          Jidori Shioyaki - roast chicken with sea salt and a citrus (yuzu) pepper tampenade.

          and my personal favorite that the colonel would die for: tori karaage - fried chicken cubes served so hot that they almost burn your mouth, but the inside is so tender and moist that the juice runs out. another please - we'll skip dessert and have some more chicken.

          We left satiated without eating any rice. (we later went to rai rai ken for some gyoza and a ramen). Japanese food is the best. hmmm.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Martin

            I have been to Sakagura many times with no anxiety or ropes-- not sure what you mean by 'ropes trust exercise' and 'your fellow diners anxiously glance at each other'--what? Yes, the restaurant is downstairs but the one time that was at all an issue was when my friend was on a bike and they were very considerate showing us a place to lock it up. 'Their trust in you is repayed over and over as you are nestled in the warm atmosphere of an authentic Izakaya' (sic)--what does that mean? I have not experienced anxiety on the part of guests or hosts and wonder what it means to 'repay' a restaurant's 'trust' 'over and over'-- provide an appropriate tip at each consecutive visit?

          2. We also really like Kasadela, on 11th Street and Avenue C. It's a great little izakaya with some excellent food. Be sure to get the black edamame.



            1 Reply
            1. re: Nosher

              I second the Kasadela vote. Very friendly staff, delicious food. Try the yu-dofu and the sake-tini.

            2. Donburi-ya on 47th between 3rd avenue and lexington is good; also, Typhoon on 9th and 1st avenue is good; Tai-Sho on st. mark's and 3rd avenue is good.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Dandel

                I don't care for any of those places. Any of the places in that area such as Village Yokocho, Yakitori Taisho, Typhoon, etc., can turn out a decent dish one night and then the next time you go have it be the worst thing you ever ate, although I'll put Kenka in a class of its own as downright bad. They're a lot of fun, but don't go expecting culinary miracles.

              2. i will ad EN JAPANESE BRASSERIE izakaya to this list. it's large & a beautiful space. great happy hour at the bar, you can eat there too. some nice dishes, like the freshly made tofu, if you pick carefully. note its pricey, items add up quick.