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Romantic Japanese / Sushi?

  • g

I will be visiting NY at the end of the month for my girlfriend's birthday and am looking for a romantic sushi restaurant to have dinner before we meet up with friends for birthday drinks. As usual, a few restrictions apply: Ambience is quite significant, the more intimate (I'm sorry I can't define it more specifically!), the better. Location would preferably be Midtown East or further south of that, but I'm open to other suggestions a well. Price is of secondary importance.

One big restriction is that I would prefer if there were also a few other things on the menu apart from sushi (e.g. kobe beef?) as I do not eat fish or seafood (I know, I know, but I've tried it several times, it just doesn't agree with me, mostly due to bad childhood experiences...). Why sushi then, I hear you ask? Well, she loves it and I feel bad depriving her of it, so I occasionally bite the bullet to indulge her, and her birthday would definitely be one such occasion! If this restricts options too much, I guess I can always have cucumber or avocado rolls too, what's more important is that she enjoys it!

I apologize for the slightly weird request, any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. I would say that the most romantic may be 15 East, though you may have some issues in regards to the menu. She'll be elated, but you may walk hungry. Check it out: http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

    www.thelunchbelle.com

    1. Maybe Sushi Azabu? The restaurant is downstairs from Greenwich Grill in Tribeca and is very intimate. Maybe they'll let you order the food from Greenwich Grill :)

      2 Replies
      1. re: lanadai

        Thanks for the suggestions! I had come across 15 East previously, but Azabu also looks interesting (though I doubt I'll have any luck getting dishes from upstairs :-D ). Right now I'm leaning more towards 15 East both due to location and menu -they seem to have a Kobe-style beef entree, so I hope I won't starve!

        Thank you very much for the responses, any other suggestions are of course welcome!

        1. re: gcp

          You will be disappointed with the menu at both 15 east and sushi azabu, since you dont eat fish. Also they sushi isnt anything you might try as they dont make things like california rolls at either... Your better bet is Megu, they have great lamb chops, and lots of kobe beef, and skewered items as well as sushi. For sushi afficienados they would prefer the classic style of sushi at 15 east,,but Megu is far more beautiful and romantic than 15 east or Azabu. A 7 or 8 million dollar renovation job, you will be happier there , she will enjoy it also. It will cost the same as 15
          Greenwich Grill which as mentioned by other posters is upstairs from Azabu, they offer Italianish-Frenchish dishes with a japanese flair. You would enjoy that for sure. They will let you order some sushi from Azabu, none of the cooked dishes but they negiri sushi they will allow. Azabu would not let me order anything from Greenwich Grill. The Greenwich Grill is romantic. Azabu is very small and sitting at a sushi bar isnt romantic. I think they have 4 tables.

      2. I would second sushi Azabu, also because they have a few non-sushi non-fish items on the menu as well as daily specials (last time I was there they even had shirako which given your anti-fish proclivities is definitely not for you - but they have interesting things). And as lanadai mentioned they may let you order from Greenwich Grill upstairs. You could just try calling and see if they would accommodate that.

        http://greenwichgrill.com/sushiazabu/...

        1. while not intimate,a s the room is large, if you find modern stylish romantic ( I do, i know many do not) matsuri is an excellent place for nonsushi japanese

          1 Reply
          1. re: thew

            Matsuri is a great choice.
            Kanoyama is too crowded and noisy, great sushi though

            1. Wow, thank you all for the great suggestions!

              I have just checked out both Megu and Matsuri online and they look a lot like what I had in mind. However there seem to be several really bad reviews concerning service in Megu (delays in seating, staff attitude et al). Any experiences?

              Given the above, I am currently leaning more towards Matsuri. Still, in case I switch back to Megu, would there be any significant reasons to choose between the Downtown and the Midtown location?

              1 Reply
              1. re: gcp

                go with matsuri

                order the anago tempura

                be happy

              2. I still think 15 East would work best.

                1. I would say that Japonais is a great impressive place for a romantic dinner - their service CAN be a little slow but the food and sushi are really good. I have gone here several times on dates. I would also say Morimoto's although that's out of the way - they have an amazing Omikase which is like 12 courses of really interesting sushi and dishes. good Luck!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: GirlFoodieNYC

                    Japanois and Morimoto both have great scenes, but the sushi doesn't compare to the other spots mentioned.

                    1. re: kathryn

                      Sure I would agree however it looks like he wants ambiance over quality (not to say that Japonais and Morimoto's doesn't have phenomenal sushi) - plus Japonais has a ton of other great stuff besides sushi

                  2. NAKA NAKA is a very romantic, small, initimate japanese restaurant that i would highly recommend for this occasion. it's a very traditional izakaya atmosphere that your girlfriend will love (well, my spouse sure loves it). they have a fairly limited menu and will have some sushi/sashmi, yet also a wide selection of other dishes. it varies somewhat nightly. here's an old nytimes link & menupages:
                    http://events.nytimes.com/2006/05/03/...
                    http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

                    1. First of all I would like to thank you all very much for your suggestions! I have to say, I may be a little more confused now with all the possibilities that are unfolding before me, but I'm sure I'll decide over the next few days! Just as a note, I am indeed very interested about the ambience. However sushi quality is also very important as I want her to really enjoy the food and it is something that I -unfortunately- cannot judge.

                      Again, thank you for all the help!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: gcp

                        Personally, I really enjoyed the sushi and the cooked dishes at Morimoto. Also, the atmosphere is quite impressive.

                        I have not been to 15 East, but others say that the sushi is probably a bit better than at Morimoto, and they seem to have plenty of things you will enjoy.

                        1. re: ian9139

                          The sushi at 15 East is a lot better than Morimoto.

                          1. re: kobetobiko

                            I have never been to 15 East, but would love to try it.
                            I actually had an amazing meal at Morimoto, thinking about it, I realize it was almost two years ago. I thought the sushi then was very good. The selection was not exceptional, but I still remember the uni, golden big eye snapper, and waygu. I might have enjoyed it less if I was paying. I was treated, and we ordered almost 75 pp worth of sushi on top of shared appetizers and entrees.

                            So I think the op will enjoy Morimoto, but two years since my last meal there, and having not tried 15 east, I would probably encourage them to follow the recommendations to go there. The op might enjoy the soba at 15 east, which (I seem to remember reading) is made by the ex-chef of honmura ann.

                      2. Okay, so it looks like 15 East is going to be it! As a final question, we will be catching a show earlier that night, so it looks like it's going to be a late dinner. Would a 10:30 reservation at 15 East mean that by the time we're done they'll be waiting for us to leave to close up? It's happened to us before with a post-Met dinner at a very upscale establishment which shall remain unnamed -though admittedly with an even later reservation- and would prefer to avoid having the maitre d' hovering above us with no-one else in the restaurant!

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: gcp

                          Oooops... Just checked on OpenTable and the last slot for 15 East is at 10pm which is going to be extremely tight... So it looks like it's going to have to be either Matsuri or Morimoto (?) which both have later slots available. So, to narrow things down a bit, which of the two would you suggest? As a reminder, main considerations include ambience and sushi quality.

                          I apologise for the added constraint but my gf only told me about the show yesterday!

                            1. re: thew

                              should this come up again - consider kyo ya on 7th st and av A i think. it's so lovely, fabulous food, not just sushi (it's a kaiseki place) and beautiful atmosphere.

                              1. re: djk

                                Kyo Ya does not have sushi as most people think of as "sushi" -- they have pressed box sushi and sashimi, but no maki (rolls) or nigiri.

                                1. re: kathryn

                                  and they usually only have one or two types of pressed sushi at a time, so if the birthday girl is into sushi, kyo ya is not the place to go.