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Gajyumaru Report (UES)

MMRuth Oct 27, 2008 12:40 PM

On Saturday morning I was looking for a good place to have sushi for lunch with our visiting brother-in-law and, while my recent favorite Tokubei 86 is not open, I found various recommendations for Gajyumaru, which is. I'm so glad we tried it, as both the cooked dishes and the sushi were excellent, and reasonably priced.

We had:

Sake Tataki - lightly seared scottish salmon with ponzu sauce.
Kani & Sake Shumai - Steamed homemade crabmeat and salmon shumai - 3 of each
Onigiri Ikura - Salmon Roe rice ball (had never had one before)
Gindara Kasuzuke - Broiled marinated sablefish in Saikyo miso and sake lees (?) - amazing dish - so rich.
Sashimi Entree - two pieces each of seven kinds of fish, very fresh and beautifully cut
Rolls - Shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, eel and avocado
Nigiri sushi - eel (2), uni, salmon, Spanish mackerel

Pretty much everything we had was excellent, though I thought the rolls were a bit sloppy, as some pieces fell apart a bit. The rice in the nigiri sushi was, I thought, particularly good. The bill, before tip, with two beers, two glasses of white wine, and two generic hot sakes was $150, which I thought was quite reasonable. The room is simple but lovely, classical music, all Japanese clientele except us - for those who care, and the wine much better than what I usually get at inexpensive Japanese restaurants. Much as I like Tokubei 86, I think I like this place better, both for the quality of the food, as well as for the service and the ambiance.

  1. r
    reninj Dec 29, 2008 04:51 AM

    Thank you so much MMRuth.
    We don't go into the city that much, but ventured in yesterday, and made it a point to go here for dinner, at around 5.45pm. It was a small place, but what a wonderful experience.

    The service was impeccable, prompt, polite and friendly. The food - starting from the salad to green tea to all the dishes were amazing. The sushi was expensive and very small pieces and good but not great. But the crab shumai was delicious. And the simmered port cutlets and egg over rice was unbelievable.

    I wouldn't try the sushi there (I wouldn't thing the Rolls would be different either). But I would try out the cooked dishes. Not that the sushi was bad, just that the cooked dishes seem to so unbelievable.

    6 Replies
    1. re: reninj
      MMRuth Feb 12, 2009 11:10 AM

      I agree - some of the cooked dishes are just terrific. We've probably gone back once a week or so since we first went, and have enjoyed every meal.

      1. re: reninj
        l
        live2eatNYC Aug 12, 2009 02:42 PM

        That is so funny - I eat there at least 3x a month and the sushi puts me into a state of total ecstasy! I never get around to trying the delicious sounding cooked dishes - of which there are many. Reninj, I am going to have to take the plunge and broaden my experiences there. I adore their eel avocado, shrimp tempura, kampyo avocado rolls!

        1. re: live2eatNYC
          MMRuth Aug 12, 2009 03:15 PM

          Definitely have the marinated sablefish!

          1. re: MMRuth
            s
            sohjyu Aug 13, 2009 06:57 PM

            Is this the place with the fresh homemade tofu?

            1. re: sohjyu
              MMRuth Aug 14, 2009 10:23 AM

              I believe so, though I've not tried it.

              1. re: sohjyu
                j
                jcd Aug 17, 2009 11:29 AM

                yes, they do make fresh tofu. just so you know, it is made with peanuts, not soy, so it has a rich and distinctive flavor.

        2. MMRuth Oct 30, 2008 04:05 PM

          Adding place, since I was looking for the phone number:

          -----
          Gajyumaru
          1659 1st Ave, New York, NY 10028

          1. Deenso Oct 28, 2008 07:15 AM

            So glad you enjoyed Gajyumaru. This has become our go-to neighborhood lunch spot on weekends. My favorite dish is a grilled burger - of all things! - served with a wonderful, tart, ponzu-type sauce, that's only available for lunch, not dinner. (No bun, by the way.) I also love their grated salad dressing, which is totally unlike the generic ginger dressing you get in most other Japanese restaurants.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Deenso
              Deenso Aug 12, 2009 05:43 PM

              I have to amend my statement above, about the "hamburg" only being served at lunch. It turns out they serve it at dinner, too. I know, 'cause we went this evening. Terrific, as usual.

            2. ellenost Oct 27, 2008 02:31 PM

              Thanks for your review. I tried Tokubei 86 on your recommendation, so I will definitely have to go back to Gajyumaru. I had tried it last year, and thought it was "okay", but after your review, I'll try it again. BTW, I passed Tokubei 86 this weekend, and they had a hand-written sign that they're open for lunch.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ellenost
                MMRuth Oct 27, 2008 02:40 PM

                You know, I had thought they were open for lunch, but called, and searched on the internet, with no luck that morning. Will be interested to read what you think of Gajyumaru.

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