What should I order at Aburiya Kinnosuke?
Ha.. my post might be too late but I will go ahead and share my experiences there with you anyway...
I agree with the other folks that their bamboo basket tofu is good. I remember having their chicken wings and they were good. The grilled chicken thighs were good too (I had the "plain" with salt, not the Teriyaki version). In addition, I have ordered Kinnosuke Chef's Salad that's pretty decent. There were a lot of ingredients and the dressing was light but flavorful.
However, do not order the Skirt Steak (I think it might have been the "daily special" when I visited last time). It was really tough and it was very expensive for the amount and the quality of meat you get! Also, the "Sauteed Noodle in a Hot Stone Pot" was not too good either. The one I ordered and split with my friends was overheated and a lot of the noodles were burnt. The noodles were kind of mushy at the same time because of the sauce they used. I wouldn't order that one again.
Please let us know of your dinner!
I definitely thought the tofu was amazing, too. And it amazed us that we could think tofu was amazing. I went for the set dinner because I wasn't feeling so hot and couldn't make a decision, and it was very, very good and a great value. It was a while back so I can't remember clearly what was on the menu that night but I do recall that their ground chicken specialty didn't really do it for me either. I would certainly do the full dinner again, and with the sake pairing this time.
From the regular menu, the zaru-dofu (bamboo basket tofu) is good. I'm not sure about amazing, but it's solid. The sashimi sets are usually decent as well, although the price has increased over the last couple of years so they are not quite the value they once were. The tskune (grilled minced chicken) gets some acclaim, but I don't think it's that great a rendition and they are almost $10 each- kind of pricey. But you wouldn't need to be adventurous to eat it or any of the other robata items- none of which are really standouts, but they are decent. You might want to try the grilled miso codfish, which is a standard Japanese dish and is, at AK, fairly priced. I haven't had anything else from the regular menu that really stands out, so I recommend ordering based on the appeal of the description. There are a couple of southern Japanese dishes that might be nice- the satsuma-age (kind of fish cake) and the brown sugar shochu simmered pork belly. There's also a mountain style houba miso grilled thing that might be nice. This is all from the regular menu posted online. They will also have a seasonal specials page that I would recommend picking most of your dishes off of. If they have it on that menu, the hon-maguro kama yaki (grilled tuna "spare rib") is great and not a common dish in NYC. You might want to ask for it whether you see it or not.
Try not to order a lot of meat and fried stuff as we often hear from people reporting back from Japanese restaurants whose meals sound like TGI.Friday's happy hour plans. They usually have a selection of steamed, simmered, or grilled vegetable dishes that are really closer to Japanese dining sensibility. They also have a decent, albet overpriced, shochu selection.
I've only been to Aburiya Kinnosuke once. Me and my brother shared about 15 dishes and we both thought they were really incredible. we especially liked the tsukune and I haven't had it anywhere else in NYC near as good.
You don't seem to be too high up on Aburiya Kinnosuke. I'm wondering what Japanese restaurants in NYC do you think are much better than Aburiya Kinnosuke?
I like AK. I recommend it as a good, authentic Japanese restaurant. I go sometimes. It's better than anything in St.Mark's for sure. After price/tax/tip though, it can get kind of expensive for what it is- a decent upscale izakaya chain restaurant.
It's not cheaper by any means, but Sakagura is some notches above AK. And I hear Tori Shin does grilled items very well. The recently opened NYC branch of Inakaya has a similar menu to AK and more expensive prices, so I suppose one could presume the quality is better. So if you're blown away by AK, perhaps you can level up at Inakaya...