I am looking for a really traditional japanese restrant that serves a lot of the real japanese customs in Manhattan. I can't stress enought how really real japanize I want this place to be. Tatami rooms or private party rooms would also be nice (PLEASE) I also don't want the prices that high because I am feeding 11 people. Do any of you know a place like that?
Happy New Year!
It's a good point that the really traditional Japanese places tend to be on the high end(and sometimes off the end) of the price scale. And many places are also fairly small, making the number of people you need to feed tough to get in. To get the Japanese service, which I think is what you may be referring to by custom, is going to be tough. For an authentic Japanese experience for a group at reasonable rates, I'd go the izakaya food route. At least the food will be authentic, and frankly, loud/crowded places with cold Sapporo and some yakitori is super traditional. Just as much as women in kimonos bowing really.
I've never been to Japan so I may be way off base here, but EN Japanese Brasserie was not your typical NYC trendy Japanese/Sushi place. I don't recall the prices being too outrageous either.
To try really traditional (note: EN is Japanese, but definitely not considered as "traditional"), try Sugiyama for kaiseki. This is possible one of the most authentic and traditional Japanese restaurants that you can find in NYC and go enough to entertain guests. They serve kaiseki meals just like what you will get in Japan.
They have different prix-fixe kaiseki options as well as a pre-theater menu to choose from. Also, while izakaya is great to experience Japanese after-work casual dining, it will be very noisy and certainly hard to conduct conversation. The decor tends to be rustic. If you decide to go this route, I will suggest Aburiya Kinnosuke or Yakitori Totto. The food is traditional izakaya food and of much higher quality than those rather than those in East Village. However, since each dish is a small plate for sharing, the cost ends up quickly especially when you have a lot of beer or alchohol (which you will because that's part of the "tradition" of eating at izakaya)
Sushi places are going to be expensive so this may not work for you.
I love kaiseki. I have had many Kaiseki dinners in Kyoto, Japan. I was quite disappointed when I spent a fortune at Kai and it was fair. Then Upstairs at Bouley had some good kaiseki style dishes that are good. Still i couldnt find a good authentic kaiseki meal. Kyo ya is the closest thus far ive come to good kaiseki in NYC. I tried En for the first time this week,,, i expected a tiny place with simple uncreative dishes. I was pleasantly suprised with a few of the dishes. They attempt to emulate real kaiseki, but the waitstaff was a turnoff, very uninformed about japanese food in general. The eel sasamochi was good. I wish they had real sasamochi dessert. THe miso black cod was good as well. The Chawanmushi served cold with uni was refreshing. I havent had cold chawanmushi since Fukuda closed. In any case En was a pleasant suprise, but a far cry from real kaiseki. But i'll go back. Kyo ya so far is the best ive had here. I do know the chef came from Kitano hotel restaurant. Oh Rosanjin is not good, and you have to make reservation , no walkins allowed.