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I'm disappointed and need some help in the UES

  • m

I'm in charge of planning date night with my SO tomorrow... thanks to some great recommendations from my post last week for a group sushi night last week I found out about UES sleeper Inase... (thanks MMRuth) and since have been planning to make this the place for a much-needed night out. I called up to make a reservation and the recording says they're closed until July 16th for holiday.

I'd rather wait till Inase is back in action to satiate my sushi craving, unless there's something else out there in the UES... Sasabune? I asked about it last week with few responses. But I thought I'd reach out to y'all again... I'm looking for some place in the UES, with good wine/sake, of course good food and probably most important where we can just relax and enjoy the night (i.e. not feel pressure from the staff to order, be upsold, etc). Also, somewhere where we could get out for $150, including a few glasses of wine; any cuisine is welcome. Are there any other sleeper restaurants in this area (i.e. fav places of yours that don't get much attention)?

After surviving a hellish past few weeks at work I'm in desperately need of a great night


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  1. it's not sushi but go to antonucci

    if you want sushi try gajurmayu (spelling???) on first between 86th and87th

    1. It's not Japanese, but how about a restaurant that MMRuth also likes -- Kurio? It's on 92nd between 1st and 2nd and it's just at your price range (most entrees are in the low 20s, but wine prices are fair). The vibe is very easygoing -- in fact, the kitchen is on the slow side as most items are made from scratch. Come to think of it, Kurio does have some Japanese appetizers, including green bean tempura and crunchy spicy tuna rolls. Kurio has just added a new summer menu but the menu here will give you some idea: http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

      I would ask China, the owner-bartender, for her ideas about wine -- she usually has fabulous reds by the glass.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Dave Feldman

        Kurio is a great idea. Really nice people, good date vibe. Great cocktails too.

        Inase definitely better than Sasabune, Tsuki and Gajyumaru. Wait until they re-open to get your UES sushi fix.

        1. re: gutsofsteel

          I'll chime in again on Kurio - I think it is a great idea - relaxing, wonderful (and strong) cocktails and interesting, well executed food. The tempura green beans are delicious and the kitchen does a great job with all fried food. I think my favorite appetizer is the spicy shrimp fritters. We usually get the beans to nibble on while we're figuring out what to order. The mini shrimp spring rolls are also good. I've enjoyed both the tilapia and the baccala, my husband likes the white bean, ham and chorizo stew and I think also the lamb shank. If you go, do make sure to try the bread they bring to the table - home made, always something a little different - sometimes with a hint of allspice. We usually make a reservation - but most often just before heading over.

          BTW - we did go to Poke this week after discovering that Inase was closed - I'm still looking for the receipt that I kept so that I could remember what we had and post a full review. The fried oyster roll - and other rolls - were quite good, as were the pan fried gyoza, but I found the sashimi lackluster to say the least, and quite expensive - I think it was $42 for the deluxe sashimi - much more expensive than other places, with neither the quality or quantity found elsewhere. I'd go back there for the rolls (which aren't a strength at Inase, IMHO). It's BYOB and cash only.

      2. I haven't been there for a while, and I can't say whether they have good sake, but we always enjoyed the sushi at Tsuki on First Ave. betw. 74th and 75th.

        1. Try Cafe d'Alsace, or Uva. both great and casual

          1 Reply
          1. re: NY Wine Guy

            If you are into olives and olive oil, try Fig & Olive -- a charming small walk-down that offers you a complimentary dish of 3 different olive oils (from Italy, Spain etc.) and bread to dip into it with while you wait for your dinner.
            Their food is delicious and healthful as well.

          2. Donguri is another sleeper Japanese hit, it's off 2nd Ave. in a quiet location, I think 84th or 85th.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Bugsey34

              I second Donguri, not only will they not rush you, they will treat you like royalty. The only problem is that I have a problem envisioning a large group seating over there, it’s a small place.

            2. how about Beyoglu on 3rd and 81st. It is a charming Turkish place with a nice outdoor patio, or romantic dark tables. You can make a nice intimite dinner with sharring some maze plates and wine. Well within your price range. (I loved the lightly fried eggplant, and the bread is great).

              1 Reply
              1. re: maxine

                i'm surprised no ones mentioned the superb wu liang ye on 86th street bet 2nd and 3rd ... the smoked duck is to die for, along with the twice cooked pork, the braised beef, the scungili, wow.

              2. If you want great sushi (a little expensive, but should be within $150), you should try Sushi Sen-nin on Third Ave. & E. 80th St. I've been a regular at their 33rd Street (formerly the 34th Street location), and I've dined at the uptown location which is equally excellent. Since I'm moving to the UES in a few weeks, I'll be frequenting the 80th St. location shortly.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ellenost

                  Can't speak to the E80th branch as I've never been but Sen-nin 33rd Street is not in the same league as Inase (or other UES options like Gajyumaru or Sasabune for that matter). There's no way I would qualify Sen-nin as great sushi.

                  1. re: oonth

                    I have to say, I've tried Sushi Sen-in on E. 80th once, and was disappointed - it's been a while, but I remember it being expensive and just not so interesting.