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Best tempura in NYC?

jennfuh Aug 2, 2006 03:47 AM

I recently had the absolute best tempura ever on a recent trip to Kyoto, Japan. Now that I am back home in NYC, I am craving it again. I want to find the best tempura NYC has to offer. Any suggestions/

  1. m
    maya_s Aug 4, 2006 01:10 AM

    I agree with most of the posts except I personally don't recommend cooking tempra at home (cooking perfect tempra requires some experience and cleaning kitchen afterwards is such a pain). I had very good tempra 2 weeks ago at Aburiya Kinnosuke. Nippon on E 52nd and Donguri on E 83rd are consistent restaurants...though I haven't been there last 2 months. Is the young chef who took over the kitchen a while ago still there at Donguri?

    1. k
      kenito799 Aug 3, 2006 12:33 PM

      Soba-ya has my favorite tempura item, chicken wrapped in shiso with green tea salt to dip...I agree that it used to be more consistently perfectly fried than it has been lately.

      Just ate at Naka Naka on 17th near 10th Ave and had really nice tempura of small white fish -- the name started with a k, about 4 inches long, butterflied, with tails on -- delicious. They have great hamachi sashimi and king crab too.

      1. r
        Ricky Aug 3, 2006 02:02 AM

        Soba Koh - very oily the last 2 times I went

        Sobaya - very good, but inconsistent

        Sapporo East - the last few times I've went I didn't see any Japanese chefs cooking in the kitchen, so I avoided the tempura. I think the last time I've ordered was like 3 years ago and it was great, very dark batter, typical tokyo style.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Ricky
          Fallon Aug 3, 2006 03:23 AM

          The batter at Sapporo East is lighter in color not that dark-been going there for past 6 years. But to be clear I am recommending the Boton Shrimp tempura appetizer (you get 3 shrimp) not the regular shrimp tempura entree from the menu.

          1. re: Fallon
            Ricky Aug 3, 2006 04:35 PM

            well I use to order the Ten Don, not exactly the same.

        2. s
          Simon Aug 2, 2006 08:36 PM

          Kyoto tempura and Edo (old school Tokyo) style tempura are very different...Kyoto tempura is lighter, w/ very fine batter...Edo tempura (like you find at the places near Asakusa and Ueno in Tokyo) has heavier, saltier batter, and makes for a nice guilty pleasure...

          In NYC, i haven't had anything as good as in Japan, and the tempura, regardless of quality, usually falls somewhere in between the two styles (or it's is just plain bad)...that said:

          -- Honmura An: the huge Hokkaido shrimp are good...

          -- Soba Koh: this place is wonderful, new, and needs your business: delicious soba, Hokkaido specialties, and anago tempura...(and a cute, quiet space too)...5th St, between 2nd/1st Ave...

          -- Hasaki: i'm not crazy about the sushi here: it think it's overrated and overpriced...but their a la carte tempura is delicious (and on the light side) and they have many choices.

          -- Sapporo East: i haven't been there in a while, and i was surprised to hear the raves for their tempura, as i thought their kaki fari was very poor (but i've always liked their cheap-yet-fresh sashimi specials)...i'll get some tempura next time i go and check it out...

          3 Replies
          1. re: Simon
            Silverjay Aug 2, 2006 09:13 PM

            Also, the oils are important. The combination and the tempurature. I was at some place in NY a long time ago and remember ordering tempura and watching how they cook just poured in a large amount of typical vegetable oil into the same vat they cooked other fried things from and cooked the tempura in that. At the Inagiku home branch I went to in Tokyo, they had the oil combination posted on a sign. Thought that was interesting.

            1. re: Simon
              keith Aug 2, 2006 11:47 PM

              I would second Soba Koh. The best I've had in New York, and valiantly approximating, if not achieving, the version in Japan

              1. re: Simon
                Fallon Aug 3, 2006 03:17 AM

                Be sure you order the Boton Shrimp tempura appetizer & not the regular shrimp tempura entree. 2 very different experiences...

              2. guttergourmet Aug 2, 2006 07:46 PM

                Last night I had tempura at Honmura An and it was as good as any I'd had in Tokyo.

                1 Reply
                1. re: guttergourmet
                  Muffin Aug 2, 2006 08:20 PM

                  You're right, they should have good tempura...

                2. c
                  Cousin Larry Aug 2, 2006 07:43 PM

                  The sweet corn tempura at Donguri

                  1. f
                    Fallon Aug 2, 2006 07:30 PM

                    Mom's Japanese, she still lives there. The best I've had is the Boton Sweet Shrimp Tempura Appetizer at Sapporo East at 1st Ave & 10th Street. You get 3 of the sweetest shrimp for $7.50 or $8.00. I usually get 2 orders & my favorite japanese comfort dish of chicken katsucurry w/side of Oshitoshi to spread out over the rice. The prices can't be beat as the curry entree is $8.50 or $9.00 & the portions are huge. But I digress. They also have regular shrimp tempura which somewhat resembles what Mom used to make growing up but the Boton Shrimp appetizer is fantastic...

                    1. E Eto Aug 2, 2006 05:44 PM

                      I haven't been, but I know some Japanese salespeople who have had the omakase tempura at Restaurant Nippon on 52nd St (on the client's expense). They've remarked that it's probably the best version of tempura in NYC, but still not a real match for the quality places in Japan. Not cheap either.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: E Eto
                        E Eto Aug 2, 2006 07:50 PM

                        Here's a post I remembered from Aki with a remark about a tempura master at Sapporo East. I'm not sure if it's still relevant after all this time, but if it is, I'd certainly like to know.

                      2. Silverjay Aug 2, 2006 05:33 PM

                        I've never been to the branch here in NYC, but Inagiku is well known as a tempura destination in Tokyo. The local branch is in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

                        1. k
                          kvn Aug 2, 2006 05:03 PM

                          I agree with Muffin. The best tempura I've had in NYC is homemade..

                          1. m
                            Muffin Aug 2, 2006 04:57 PM

                            I am from Japan, and while you can get pretty decent sushi here in NY,
                            I have not had any good tempuras yet in NYC - not even a 'soso' one...
                            I don't think you will find anything that's even close to what you had in Kyoto,
                            but if anyone knows of any places that serve good tempuras, I would love to hear it as well!

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