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Le Miu vs Kanoyama - Which should I choose

I am going to be going to the Comedy Cellar in a few weeks on a Saturday and decided I would start the evening off with a Sushi dinner for 2 before hand. I have narrowed my list of restaurants down to Le Miu or Kanoyama as both seem to fit in to my budget of $100-$150 - keeping in mind that we will not be spending too much on alcohol - in other words, no premium wine or Sake.

I would like people's feed back in terms of making a final selection.

1) Overall general question how does the Sushi and Sashimi compare between the 2?

2)Any strong recommendations as to what to order at each place, particularly from the sushi or sashimi side of things but also, is there anything from the Kitchen? I am looking for recommendations in terms of the not to be missed things on their menu!

Some questions about each place:

1) Kanoyama

They don't take reservations on Saturday according to the website but they claim there is not much waiting if we arrive before 7:30. So let's say I arrive between 6:15 and 6:45. Am I going to have to wait long for a dinner for 2?

2) Le Miu.

I read elsewhere on the board that they have declined and are not as good as they once were. What do people think. Is it still a great place? Is there any sense that it is riding on past reputations? I am particularly interested in the quality of their sushi and sashimi and the variety.

Cheers and thanks to everyone! Very much looking forward to this coming trip to Manhattan!

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  1. Kanoyama, period. No questions.

    1. Hi medicinejar,

      Since I responded in your previous post, I thought I will complete the mission and post my thoughts here:

      Kanoyama is really a tradional sushi restaurant that happens to serve cooked food (to appeal to wider audience), while Le Miu is a contemporary Japanese restaurant that also serve sushi and sashimi. With that in mind, I would not say in definite terms that one is better than the other, as they excel in different things. It is more about what appeals to you more.

      Going back to your questions:
      1) & 2) Given that Kanoyama is a sushi restaurant, the sushi and sashimi is higher in quality and better in variety than Le Miu. The sushi are served in traditional way (undorned), and both the fish and the rice are properly prepared by the skilled sushi chef. If you are truly into sushi and price isn't an issue, you should sit at the sushi bar and ask the chef for omakase. They also have a "omakase" sushi or sashimi on the menu, but it is more of a chef's choice sushi/sashimi platter. They don't compromise the quality even if the platter is only $35, but of course you are not going to get the very exquisite / special items (they will include otoro or chutoro in the platter though). One way to order is to order the platter and add some daily special items that appeal to you. I always order extra anago which is served in a whole piece (about 7"-8" long), and some extra orders tai (kinmedai, akashidai, etc.) or kinki as I am a sucker for those.

      Cooked dishes at Kanoyama are also carefully prepared, albeit a bit generic. The usual miso-glazed cod or hamachi kama shioyaki are delicious and are the safe bet. Worth noting is their tempura which is on par with Inagiku in midtown which specializes in tempura. If they have the anago tempura you must order it! It is served with the fried bone of the anago, and it is so decadent and meaty! If you have tried the anago tempura at Aburiya Kinnosuke you will immediately notice that this is a few notches better!

      As for Le Miu, cooked dishes is where they really excel. In my past visits, I have enjoyed their tartare, foie gras custard, white miso clam cappuccino. The best is the miso cod in phyllo jacket. The cod was very rich and sweet (from the miso), and the mushroom underneath absorbed all the flavors. The phyllo jacket was a nice touch! Something different from the common miso cod you see everywhere.
      If you go to Le Miu, you should try the new style sashimi as I think going there to have traditional sushi almost defends the whole purpose of going there.

      Another 1): Kanoyama is never too crowded before 7pm, so going there at around 6:30 should be no problem. I wouldn't risk 7pm as it starts getting crowded at that time, particularly during weekends.

      2) Never have a problem getting table there. And I haven't heard about the decline, so may be other hounds can chime in.

      Hope this help!

      1. Thanks so much to both of you for your responses and especially to you, kobetobiko, for your detailed suggestions. I am definitely now going to Kanoyama and will be ordering some of the items you suggested. Very much looking forward to it.


        1. I thinking about going to Kanoyama. How many pieces do you get in the rolls?

          1. can't do a comparison for you but, I was somewhat disappointed with my meal at le miu (about a year ago); we got the tasting of their new-style sushi, plus various pieces ordered a la carte, and maybe some other apps/starters/entrees and the experience was underwhelming; can't quite even remember what we had, to be honest, but expecting something very interesting and different stuff and while, it was different, not particularly tasty.

            2 Replies
            1. re: bigjeff

              Would anyone be able to tell me what is in the new-style sashimi? I'm looking to go to Le Miu (trying to tackle all the worthy places) and I'm told the regular sushi is not worth it, better to get the new style sashimi. Also, is the trio of tartares worth the $18 pricetag? It looks like 3 tiny mouthfuls...

              1. re: hamstrman

                New style sashimi = nontraditional stylings, including dressing, accompaniments, etc.

                For example, I have had:
                a sea scallop with cracked red peppercorns, served on a slice of lime
                a piece of yellowtail with jalapeno and salmon roe
                tuna carpaccio wrapped in a tiny piece of lettuce with a soy basalmic reduction and sprinkled with cheese

            2. I thought I would give a quick reply on my dinner at Kanoyama. I did not take notes so I can't give a full review. Oveall, I thought its very good and certainly worth the money. But, having said that. I was not blown away. If I lived in NYC and lived close by I would probably go back but as a visitor, I don't think I will be making a repeat visit. I went to Sushi Ann in 2006 and I thought it was clearly better - though it was also more expensive.

              I should also note that the server we had was very friendly and very good. There was a bit of a delay with some of the food but it was not unacceptably long, and it did occur in the rush.

              So overall, thought it was good value for money and a good experience but not a great experience.

              Cheers and thanks for all the help in choosing it.

              2 Replies
              1. re: medicinejar

                Would you mind telling us what you ordered and why you think it's not worth it? I am surprised to hear that Sushi Ann was better!

                1. re: kobetobiko

                  I will give some details below on what I ordered, but I can't remember everything. Let me be clear, I think the meal was was worth it. It was a good experience. The quality of the sushi and sashimi was good and very diverse (i.e. not the ordinary sushi and sashimi found in most japanese restaurants). I thought it was definitely good value for the money and I would not rule out going back, and if I lived in NYC and lived close by I would most definitely go back.

                  Having said all that, I did not leave with the same impression I had after eating lunch at Sushi Anne where it was clearly one of the top 5 sushi experiences I have had but, that was in January of 2006 so I am not sure if that would be the same today at Sushi Anne. But lets be clear - Sushi Anne was considerably more expensive in terms of what you got for your money.

                  I did take a print out of your recommendations with me (and thank-you for those again) and I believe I ordered the Omakase Sushi and the Omakase Sashimi. And, I am fairly certain I ordered tai, kinmedai, and akashidai but as I get older my memory has faded and I am unable to remember everything I had (I don't think I have the bill anymore but I will have a quick look tonight when I get home). Sadly, they did not have anago tempura that night - it was not on the menu and I asked and no such luck.

                  Again, not knocking the place at all and certainly don't regret going - I enjoyed it! Just not blown over by it.

                  I will add one other caveat to my "mini-review". The day before my gf and I had the 9 course meal at Per Se, so while its a different type of cuisine, its hard to compete with what Per Se offered (i.e. the best meal of my life!) and that might have coloured my perceptions of the meal I had at Kanoyama.


              2. Put simply, I thought the "non-traditional" sushi at Le Miu was spectacular. If you want to have the absolute pure experience of sashimi with nothing, it is still excellent fish, and while I did not have cooked dishes they seemed interesting. The pairings of flavors and textures in the new-school presentation left me with no desire to add wasabi, or soy or in fact any other flavors.

                With drinks, appetizers, and two large orders (including tax and tip) the meal was not overwhelmingly expensive for the special occasion we were there for...

                1. Kanoyama hands down. Le mIu is a big rip off. The food is mediocre at best. They do some claypot dishes that are OK. I went once and will never return. Kanoyama has possibly the largest assortment of fish from Japan in this city,. It was the restaurant of choice last year for the Japanese officials who came in to the US for Japan week. The omikase from Nobu-san is the way to go.. If you are adventurous you can try the blue fin ribs , or once in a while he has blue fin eye ( eyeball and socket). This is an understated great sushi place, with good cooked food. '
                  Another newcomer sushi resturant, reasonable , no fancy dishes but the fish is fresh is Nori. St. Marks and 2nd. a small nice sushi place that I'd rather go to over le Miu and its half the price