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Apr 16, 2007 06:41 AM

Going to Aburiya Kinnosuke tomorrow!

So excited! I'm wondering what I should get. From looking around the boards I see the chicken meatball is a popular choice. Looking at the menu I see there are 3 sashimi sets. I'm wondering if I can just get a peice or 2 instead of a whole set? Anyone have any other recs?

Also is there a good place to meet up for drinks beforehand that is nearby? It's supposed to be raining again tomorrow night so I don't want to be walking around too much. Thanks

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  1. The "hon-maguro kama yaki" is very good and not something I've seen at other Japanese restaurants in NYC. It's an interesting spare rib-like piece of tuna from the jaw that is baked in an oven. Order it early as it takes a long time to cook. This would be one of my desert island foods.....AK also has a decent shochu selection, with a very informative menu describing each selection....You can usually order individual sashimi items rather than a set.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Silverjay

      Thank you! This is exactly the type of information I am looking for. Do you recommend me ordering it as soon as we sit down before perusing the menu?

      1. re: roze

        I don't think it matters. It's not a special item or anything, it just takes a long time to cook... Make sure they've got it first.

        1. re: Silverjay

          Actually I think "kama-yaki" (meaning grilled "head' or "neck" is quite common in izakaya or Japanese restaurants in NYC. I have had that at Kanoyama, Yakitoro Taisho, and Totto. It is a pretty standard dish in Japanese restaurants in the US, and it can be the neck of salmon (sake), tuna (maguro), or yellowtail (hamachi).

          At Aburiya, definitely try the shichirin grill. Most izakayas here have robata grill or yakitori, but not shichirin grill. Dried shark fin (fukahire) and smelt are quite common, though many foreigners may not enjoy the texture.

          Go for the specials that they have on that day. They usually have some special rice dishes (in a big pot) and omelette. You can also go with the sashimi special for that day.

          1. re: kobetobiko

            Hmm, well, it can't mean both "mouth" and "neck" and there's other words in Japanese for those parts. When I've asked chefs in Japan, they always point along their jawbone. But it's a word that doesn't translate directly into English...."Maguro kama yaki" is completely different than salmon or yellow tail and it's not a standard izakaya dish. It takes about 25 minutes to cook and is filled with several different layers of different types of meat, hidden away in the nooks and crannies of the bone. It looks like a huge spare rib when served and doesn't even resemble a part of a fish.

            Also, it's not shark fin but the dried fin of skate. In Japanese, it's called "ehire" (エイヒレ). It's a drinking snack, not really an entre item...I second the smelt rec.

            1. re: Silverjay

              Hi silverjay,

              I speak Japanese =) Kama is the part around the gill, right between the head and the body (that's why most of the time we prefer it as "neck" or "collar" in English). Yours is maguro, so of course it is not salmon or yellow, it is maguro (tuna). If it is "hamachi kama yaki", then it is yellow tail grilled collar, and if it is "sake kama yaki" then it is salmon grilled collar. It is that simple.

              I am not sure what your version of maguro kama yaki was, but in most izakayas they serve normally any fish kama shio-yaki, which is the collar meat of the fish simply grilled with salt. Your maguro kama yaki might have been cooked with sauce or broth, but the standard version is just grilled with salt.

              Also, as for the grilled fins, the ones that I had was indeed dried shark fin (fukahire) which was more expensive than ehire. I don't remember if that was a special at Aburiya when I had it, but in Japan dried fukahire can be found in a lot of izakayas.

              Your are right that it is a drinking snack, and almost all the items for shichirin grill are for snacks to go with the drinks. That's the whole point of izakaya - to have these small dishes to go with beers or sake and round up the meal with noodles or rich or onigiri (can be grilled too!) in the end!

              1. re: kobetobiko

                While both of you argue, I'll gladly take the whole head (kabuto-shioyaki - kabuto-ni)
                (tai, belatedly ( of course ), given season).
                I find the cheek meat (hoho niku) sweetest.

                To the OP: though most note the meat, make sure you check out the fish here ;-)

                1. re: kobetobiko

                  I think collar is the best way to describe it. Hon-maguro kama yaki is sometimes called "maguro spare rib" in Japan because it essentially looks like a huge beef rib. Yes, it's seasoned only with salt. It does not, in it's appearance, resemble fish or really a part of a fish. It's not like hamachi or salmon kama yaki, which are cheap, fairly crappy izakaya dishes. It doesn't sound as though you've had it as you would have picked up on what I'm talking about by now. I've never seen it at regular izakayas in Japan or New York. Only at more slightly upscale, bistro style places such as AK. A place like Kanoyama might have it. I didn't see it on the menu at Totto. It's usually cooked in an oven, not on a grill. I haven't been back to AK in a while, so they may not serve it any more....Fukahire is not common in izakayas in Japan- at least in Tokyo.....If I went back to AK, I'd skip the whole shichirin thing. I found it was sort of a gimic. But it might be fun as a novelty for a first timer.

                  1. re: Silverjay

                    Hi Silverjay,

                    I am not trying to argue with you but just to share with you what I know. I am half Japanese and have lived in Japan on and off all these years, so I will have to disagree with you for some of the information you stated. (again, I am not trying to argue, just to point out what I know as a Japanese). I have not had the speific version of maguro kama yaki dish at Aburiya, so you are correct that your description sounded unfamiliar to the kama yaki that I normally have in other izakaya in Japan or US alike. However, hamachi or salmon kama yaki is not anything considered as cheap dish or only served in "crappy izakaya" - this is simply not true. I have been to countless izakayas in different prefectures in Japanese and in different states in the US, and a lot of izakayas, expensive or not, serve them. You are correct that it is cooked in an oven.

                    Fukahire is available in many izakayas in both in Japan and in the US, probably served on special menu more than on regular, but not uncommon. I have had that numerous times in the West Coast, and at least one time at Aburiya.

                    As for shichirin grill, it is not for gimic. This is what we do all the time, in Japan. Most of the time only natives appreciate this cooking method as a lot of the foreigners do not enjoy the texture / taste of some of the regular shichirin grill food items (the different dried fish). I am recommending it to the OP because I want her to experience the more authentic izakaya style, quite opposite to what you said as a "fun" experience for first timer.

                    1. re: kobetobiko

                      No problem. I respect your experience and opinions and enjoy your posts here on CH.....I'm simply encouraging the OP to try the dish that I recommended. Although the names and preparation are similar, hon maguro kama yaki is very different from the other two that you mentioned. It's a little bit unusual, even in Japan, and it happened to be good at AK. It's not something you're going to find at many places- as you seemed to have grouped it with the other more common dishes that are probably more popularly found... It's my opinion that hamachi kama yaki is a crappy dish, not that it's found at crappy izakayas. It's boney, doesn't taste all that good, and is not condusive to sharing. Salmon dishes are uncommon at the izakayas and restaurants I've been to....I thought the shichirin grill at AK was awkward, out of place and unnecessary just based on the restaurant itself, not in principle. My Japanese dining companion felt the same, so go figure....Bottom line- try the dish that I'm talking about. It's a huge bone with 3-4 different types of meat.

                      1. re: Silverjay

                        I just got out of an all day meeting and now you all have completly confused me!!! Just kidding- thanks for all the recs. I feel very informed and now more excited than ever. I plan to try both things mentioned (if available). Thank you!

      2. yes, the chicken meatball is very good and the sashimi we had there was superb...i can't remember offhand which sashimi we got (maybe halibut?) but it was delicious...but while the sashimi excellent, i would recommend ordering only a small amount of it (maybe one or two different fishes) because you'll prob want to take advantage of the many harder--to-find-in-NY options on the menu...enjoy...

        1. Besides the meatballs and tuna/salmon kama, try the anago, unadorned sea eel and they serve the fried spine! So interesting and I've never seen it anywhere else. Also, the unagi casserole was yummy, as was the rich Berkshire pork. Enjoy! Ohh, I want to go back now!

          15 Replies
          1. re: jthefoodie

            So thank you to everyone who posted here. We had a GREAT meal last night.
            You all have been already so I won't do a full review but a few of the dished really blew us away. First of all the sushi. We got the bluefin tuna--omg- hands down the best sushi I have had in the city. It was melting before I even put it in my mouth!

            Other highlights were the crab salad and the pork in brown sugar and shochu. We goit the meatball and while it was good it didn't blow me away. Next time I would probably order more sushi instead.

            Unfortunately I was all excited for the amberjack kama-yaki when I saw it listed on the specials menu but when we went to order it they were all out! They only had the salmon kama-yaki which I am unfortunatly allergic to. But that being said it just gives me a reason to return sooner than later!!! Thanks again.

            1. re: roze

              Can you give a sense of price - hadn't read this thread and my interest is piqued. TIA

              1. re: MMRuth

                We had six main dishes: crab salad, bluefin tuna sashimi, black cod miso, chicken meatball (tsukune), Berkshire Pork in brown sugar soju (said shochu in my post by accident) and the grilled ribeye steak.

                We also had 2 desserts, 2 glasses of wine, a cocktail and a beer. The final bill was $166 not including the tip.

                1. re: roze

                  It is "shochu" in Japanese. "Soju" is Korean and is a bit different...And I think you mean "sashimi" and not "sushi". But glad to hear you enjoyed your meal. Unfortunately, I think they've raised prices. That's quite a bill for a Tuesday night izakaya meal, no matter how upscale.

                  1. re: Silverjay

                    Why do you assume roze had sashimi? Nigiri is still sushi...

                    1. re: Silverjay

             cocktail was tea and shochu and the pork was simmered in soju so I'm not sure what you're getting at but I'm pretty sure if they put it on the menu they are correct. Also where did I say sushi? I said I got the bluefin tuna sashimi?

                      1. re: roze

                        Ah I see- in my original post I wrote sushi. I stand corrected.

                        1. re: roze

                          You wrote: "We got the bluefin tuna--omg- hands down the best sushi I have had in the city."

                          ...I didn't realize it was printed as "soju" on the menu. The dish is a popular southern Japanese (Kyushu and Okinawa) preparation, where brown sugar shochu is a often used...As long as you enjoyed it...

                          1. re: Silverjay

                            I believe the dish was indeed simmered in soju (Korean). It is a slight variation from the very traditional Japanese cooking but it's very common these days. Shochu are not usually used in cooking and only for drinking purpose. Other versions are done with Japanese sake.

                            1. re: kobetobiko

                              Come on now, what are you talking about? I just came back from Kyushu and had this dish all over the place. Brown sugar shochu (黒糖焼酎) from the Amami Islands in Kagoshima prefecture is a common stewing ingredient in local cooking, as is awamori for Okinawan food. We've been talking about this off and on the Japan board all winter long.

                              1. re: Silverjay

                                Hi Silverjay,

                                I should have clarified clearly in my previous post. The brown sugar shochu is indeed used in Japan, but it is not usually used in cooking IN AMERICA (the part that i missed in my previous post) because it is more expensive than the Korean soju. Therefore the brown sugar shochu is generally substituted by Korean soju in cooking in the US (it is much cheaper). You are correct that they are used locally in Japan for cooking.

                                1. re: kobetobiko

                                  No, I don't buy that. I'll believe they use the Korean version of the liquor when I hear it directly from a Japanese chef and not on CH. In all likelihood, the menu just contains an alternative transliteration of the Japanese word. The premium they charge for the dish is plenty to cover the cost of more expensive ingredients. To my knowledge, brown sugar is not made into soju in Korea. The Amami islands actually have a special status for their product, so it's globally quite unique. ... There were several brown sugar shochu on the menu at AK, which I quite enjoyed on my visit. If someone is looking for a nice introduction to the spirit, I recommend "Jougo" which is soft, well-rounded and easy to drink straight.

                  2. re: roze

                    Hey roze, glad you enjoyed it! Out of curiousity, which preparation (teriyaki/egg or salt) for the tsukune did you have?

                    1. re: jthefoodie

                      We got the teriyaki preparation which we dipped in the egg. Is the salt version better?

                      1. re: roze

                        I'm not sure, I have only tasted the salt version, which seems less exotic than the egg, but is one of those dishes that's just delicious in its simplicity. You can taste the slight smokiness from the robata.

                2. Hi roze,

                  So glad to hear that you liked your meal at Aburiya! What time did you go? I am surprised that they ran out of the amberjack kama yaki! I would have taken any kama yaka on the menu - for it be salmon or hamachi or other fish. They have a salmon belly (they called it fatty salmon or something?) that was delicious! You mentioned that you are allergic to salmon, but if you go next time you can ask them if they have it in tuna or hamachi. They will be happy to accomodate your request!

                  I am going there soon as I am craving for their rice in pot! It is especially comforting to have it on a cold, rainy day!

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: kobetobiko

                    We had 7:00 pm resevations last night. What was weird was that the place was packed when we showed up but then as we were leaving around 8:30-9:00 it was relatively empty. They were on some kind of Florida "del Boca Vista" food time!

                    That's good to know I can do a special request for when we go back. I actually was wondering if it's worth it to try out the 2 sister restaurants as well. Do you have any thoughts on those places?

                    1. re: roze

                      That's the usual pattern in midtown Japanese restaurants that has a significant Japanese clientele. Japanese workers tend to go to dinner or for drinks after work with colleagues or friends, and especially for those (like many UN workers) who live in Westchester or NJ usually leave to go home after dinner. Many of the izakayas open late are crowded right around 6pm, then after 10pm.

                      1. re: E Eto

                        HI E Eto,

                        Just want to clarify, I did not direct my previous response to you. Your comments are much appreciated.

                      2. re: roze

                        Hi roze,

                        From now on I am just going to address your questions and ignore those know-it-alls. Anyway, I have only been to Totto and not Torys, and Totto definitely has more yakitori options and rich and noodle dishes, but not much grill items or sushi/sashimi. I like their yakitori much better than Taisho in East Village because they have a lot more rare items, and the meat is juicier. The rich dishes are good too, and I can eat their negi toridon (grilled chicken on rice with a raw egg and onion) like everyday!

                        Totto has a younger crowd and even the chefs are younger. So I will say if you want more fish (grilled or fresh) and hearty home-cooking, go to Aburiya Kinnosuke. If you prefer yakitoris or rich dishes, go to Totto. Either way, I enjoy my dinner everytime I go to any of these two places.

                          1. re: roze

                            Hi roze,

                            I just realize that I kept typing "rich" in the previous post when I meant to type "rice". So Totto is good for "rice" dishes, not "rich" dishes. Sorry for the typo.

                          2. re: kobetobiko

                            Here's the Totto menu- . I concur it's much better than Taisho and any of the St. Marks places for that matter. When your order skewers, at yakitori places in general, you're asked whether you want them "tare" or "shio" which is "sauce" or "salt". It's just a matter of personal preference, although some shops take pride in their own homemade sauces or take pride in their particular brand of salt. Personally, I like salt so you can taste each item more distinctly...At Totto, they take your order on these nifty little Palm Pilots just like they do in many places in Tokyo.

                      3. I love Aburiya, too! I went there (again) last Monday with bunch of collegues and we all enjoyed it. My favorites are: anago shirayaki (perfect fluffiness), "kurobuta" pork (shired outside and juicy inside), chicken meat ball, of course, fish cake...Shichirin-yaki is nice, though I get too intense not to overcook them...what else...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: maya_s

                          I am going for the first time with husband and father in law on Saturday. I hope to report back after the weekend as well.