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Nov 29, 2006 09:25 PM

Best all around Japanese in NYC?

What are the best all around Japanese restaurants in NYC? I know that Aburiya Kinnosuke and Toraya are excellent. Any other ideas?

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    1. re: rachael333

      You are obviously a person of superb taste and discernment. Correct name is Blue Ribbon Sushi (Sullivan St. near Prince in SOHO). It's twin is on 5th Ave. in Park Slope.

      1. re: rachael333

        I used to be a huge fan of BRS, but recently the food has gone downhill; went to Sasabune and had a great meal; would definitely recommend

        1. re: joneze

          Totally agree. For years I ate at BRS at least once a week! Sad to say I don't go anymore. The definitely lost something...

        1. Unfortunately I don't think there is one well rounded Japanese restaurant in the traditional sense. Most people associate sushi only as Japanese, and that an americanized version.

          Overall I have to go Masa (I was treated there once by a very nice friend).

          More affordable versions, I prefer Hasaki.

          1. LOVE Sakagura - I'm Japanese American and I am very picky about authentic Japanese food. They have an incredible sake list (not a sake drinker thou) and great variety of foods - all wonderfully presented. It's located in an office building and the walk down the steps and down the rickety hallway is not attractive, but you will be PLEASED with the restaurant. We take our Japanese executives there too. Located on 43rd between 2nd and 3rd ave.

            9 Replies
            1. re: KeikoT

              That's good to know! I'm SUPER picky about it, too, so I've got to try this out when I go home.

              1. re: KeikoT

                i'll second Sakagura. i like the unassuming hallway/stairs. it was such a nice surprise my first time there and i see the same reaction when i bring guests there. the menu is varied. the pork belly is a must!

                1. re: censorone

                  i used to go to Sakagura all the time...but i thought it went into a steep decline about two years ago...the staff changed dramatically and for the worse: sweet helpful waitresses replaced by very snide waiters...they were particularly rude to Japanese female friends whom i brought there (sort of giving an attitude that only wanted to serve businessmen)...i haven't been back in over a year...any thoughts on the current service there?

                  1. re: Simon

                    i dressed down with 3 friends last month. i have never worn business attire. staff has always been helpful, especially the sake experts.

                    but i don't blame anyone for not returning due to poor service.

                    1. re: censorone

                      maybe it's changed back for the better...i'll stop again sometime for a glass of shochu and see if it works for me...*smiles*

                2. re: KeikoT

                  OK, if you're picky, I have a request. I had some amazing ocha zuke (tea rice) in Tokyo. Not just broth, rice and a little garnish, but a real spread with pickles and sashimi on the side, plus what I think were deep fried tapioca pearls on the rice. I've found ocha zuke in the city at such places as Village Yokocho and Aburiya Kinnosuke, but it's always been a pretty plain dish. Anyone encountered a good rendition?

                  1. re: bloor

                    Ochazuke is a tough one. It's meant to be such a simple dish. Something the normal Japanese eat when they want something really simple, no frills - comfort food, like mac-n-cheese for Americans. It's going to be hard to find that here in the US, even NYC, b/c Japanese restaurants can't make a killing off of serving awesome ochazuke, and because only the Japanese would eat it. No Americans really know about and even if they tried it, they'd think the same: very bland, very boring. I eat ochazuke sometimes when i'm out because I crave some "home-cooking" - and eating tempura and teriyaki is far from "home-cooking" in my mind. But that is exciting that you had that kind of experience in Tokyo! Treasure it! By the way, maybe they would be able to do that at some places that serve Kaiseki - kaiseki is all about being simple, but elegant and detailed and flavorful. Perhaps they would specialize in ochazuke or something like it... I suggested Ito-en's Kai and Kitano Hotel below as possible Kaiseki places (have never been, though).

                    1. re: bloor

                      Totto and Torys makes a good solid ochazuke with fresh wasabi, and riingo kyuri on the side. Not the most innovative. I did see an old issue of japion with restaurants that have good ochazuke once.

                      1. re: Ricky

                        Ate at Sake Bar Hagi last night and had a good, satisfying ochazuke. Still not the equal of what I had in Tokyo, but better than I had at Aburiya Kinnosuke, Village Yokocho, or anywhere else. I realize, though that you can pretty much ask for ochazuke at any Japanese restaurant. They always have the basic ingredients on hand (rice, tea, nori, bonito, wasabi, etc.). Better yet, next time I pass a Japanese grocery, I'll just pick up the ingredients myself (plus some arare crackers for sprinkling).

                  2. There are two Toraya's. The tea room on the upper east side closed. The other Toraya is at 300 1/2 East 52nd Street. I have not been there in a few years, but it is a phenomenal very small restaurant. 212.838.4351 Check it out. No sushi served except maybe with a pre-ordained meal. They are always getting mixed up...maybe i mixed them up and this one closed and the other one is open.

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