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Looking for authentic Japanese restaurant to take visiting Japanese ex-pat

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colfaxBee May 3, 2010 06:47 AM

Looking for a "real" (not fusion-y), affordable Japanese restaurant to impress a Japanese friend who now lives in Italy. Other requirements are that it can accommodate a group of about 8 including a well behaved toddler and must have good sushi. Midtown would be ideal, but further downtown is also ok

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  1. Spiritchaser RE: colfaxBee May 3, 2010 09:08 AM

    You could check out Sakagura, see if it's meets your needs, "affordable" means different things to different people but see what you think.

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    Sakagura
    211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017

    2 Replies
    1. re: Spiritchaser
      c
      colfaxBee RE: Spiritchaser May 3, 2010 02:15 PM

      I liked Sakagura's menu, but it seems like they don't have a lot of sushi options. Other places I'm considering are Sushiden and Aoki. Thoughts?

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      Sakagura
      211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017

      Sushiden
      19 E 49th St, New York, NY 10017

      Aoki
      234 W 48th St, New York, NY 10036

      1. re: colfaxBee
        Spiritchaser RE: colfaxBee May 3, 2010 04:23 PM

        I'm not familiar with the two you mentioned, and it looks like yebo knows that Aoki is closed.

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        Aoki
        234 W 48th St, New York, NY 10036

    2. y
      yebo RE: colfaxBee May 3, 2010 02:59 PM

      Aoki is closed; there is a different restaurant there.
      Also, have you checked with your friend that he/she would like Japnese-in-NYC? Lots of times people from elsewhere would prefer to eat food of the locale or exotic, finding that the restaurants of their nationality fall short of their memories.

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      Aoki
      234 W 48th St, New York, NY 10036

      5 Replies
      1. re: yebo
        Quine RE: yebo May 3, 2010 06:13 PM

        I would have to +1 this. Are you assuming your friend wants this, or maybe they are wow, we get a chance at....american steakhouse, What ever.?

        I've been on the wrong, but all SO and I do know this; SO WELL MEANT idea of what I want to eat in a place I am visiting. A Brazilian grill maybe what they might want...or maybe Mexican in a country that is actually close to Mexico?
        Did your friends say they want Japanese especially sushi or is that what you think they are missing?

        1. re: Quine
          c
          colfaxBee RE: Quine May 4, 2010 11:58 AM

          I agree it doesn't always make sense to take someone from another country to that type of restaurant in the US. But in this case, our friend no longer lives in Japan, hasn't had sushi in a few years and is specifically craving it.

          1. re: colfaxBee
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            uwsister RE: colfaxBee May 7, 2010 01:28 PM

            If your friend is specifically craving sushi, go to Sushi Yasuda or 15 East. 15 East has cooked food as well, so that might be a good choice. Neither is cheap, but not crazy-expensive either. A real Japanese restaurant has a specialty, whether it be sushi, yakitori, ramen, etc. Similar to how there's no "American restaurant" that serves hamburgers, steaks, or whatever, other than crappy diners. Both Sakagura and Aburiya Kinnosuke are authentic and serve some raw fish, but they are not sushi restaurants.

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            15 East
            15 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

            Sushi Yasuda
            204 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017

            Aburiya Kinnosuke
            213 E 45th St, New York, NY 10017

            Sakagura
            211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017

            1. re: uwsister
              r
              RGR RE: uwsister May 7, 2010 05:08 PM

              Yasuda and 15 East are not appropriate places to bring a toddler.

              1. re: RGR
                u
                uwsister RE: RGR May 7, 2010 06:00 PM

                Maybe at one of the tables for Yasuda? But then again, I don't think Sakagura, Yakitori Totto, or Aburiya Kinnosuke is any more toddler-friendly.

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                Yakitori Totto
                251 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

                Aburiya Kinnosuke
                213 E 45th St, New York, NY 10017

                Sakagura
                211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017

      2. c
        cubeoccupant RE: colfaxBee May 3, 2010 05:29 PM

        Few that I can think of:

        Totto or Tory's (prefer Totto)
        No sushi on the menu, but the food/service is authentic Japanese, and really good. You can reserve the private table section, Totto takes resevervation up to 7PM - which is a reasonable time for a toddler to start eating dinner anyway.

        Sushiden
        decent sushi, and you can reserve the ozashiki (private room upstairs), so you don't have to worry about a 'well behaved' toddler not behaving poorly all of a sudden. may not fit the bill of affordable.

        Riki
        Reserve the private box, sushi is an option although not great, but the izakaya style food is good, and it's casual and pretty rowdy so you don't have to worry about the toddler.

        Kanoyama
        Downtown, but decent sushi, not stuffy like some of the more prominent midtown sushi establishments, it gets loud enough so toddler shouldn't be that much of an issue.

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        Kanoyama
        175 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

        Sushiden
        19 E 49th St, New York, NY 10017

        1 Reply
        1. re: cubeoccupant
          k
          kathryn RE: cubeoccupant May 6, 2010 07:59 AM

          Note that Kanoyama doesn't take reservations on Fridays and Saturdays. It's walk-in only.

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          Kanoyama
          175 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

        2. e
          ExFlexitarian RE: colfaxBee May 4, 2010 12:26 PM

          I've been told by some Japanese friends that Aburiya Kinnosuke is *very* authentic.

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          Aburiya Kinnosuke
          213 E 45th St, New York, NY 10017

          1. k
            klb3129 RE: colfaxBee May 4, 2010 08:12 PM

            Omen in Soho is great - the only have a bit of sashimi - it's country Japanese and very authentic. Sushi Sen-nin on 33rd is EXCELLENT. The ambiance leaves a bit to be desired but the fish is off the charts. They also have private tatami rooms. A bit of a hidden gem and truly o-toro that makes you shudder. They also serve fresh wasabi upon request. Of course Sushi Yasuda is very pure and straightforward but not sure if they do large groups.

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            Sushi Yasuda
            204 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017

            Sushi Sen-nin
            30 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016

            1. s
              silverlainy RE: colfaxBee May 6, 2010 06:53 AM

              I would recommend Yasuda if they can take the larger group and you can afford it. Otherwise as mentioned, Kanoyama downtown is a little cheaper but the seating is cramped. Sakagura and Aburiya are supposed to be very good, as is Yakatori Totto/Soba Totto but all of these are more limited in sushi options. Sakagura does have some raw plates though.
              I did not know Aoki closed but I'm pretty sure it was Chinese-run...decent for rolls but nothing special.

              -----
              Sakagura
              211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017

              Kanoyama
              175 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

              Aoki
              234 W 48th St, New York, NY 10036

              1. a
                alley RE: colfaxBee May 6, 2010 08:42 AM

                I second the recommendation for Sakagura: if you are careful with the sake selection, you don't have to spend too much and it is authentic.

                I would also recommend Kyo Ya in the East Village: authentic, not too expensive, kaiseki-style.

                Both places have great atmosphere.

                Neither of these places have a wide selection of sushi/sashimi, but the selection that they do offer is interesting and high quality.

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                Sakagura
                211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017

                Kyo Ya
                94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                2 Replies
                1. re: alley
                  r
                  RGR RE: alley May 7, 2010 05:10 PM

                  We were just at Kyo Ya. I don't think it's an appropriate place to bring a toddler.

                  1. re: RGR
                    k
                    kathryn RE: RGR May 8, 2010 09:35 AM

                    They have an enclosed private room in the back -- that's the only place I can think would work for Kyo Ya.

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                    Kyo Ya
                    94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                2. c
                  chowbie RE: colfaxBee May 6, 2010 02:55 PM

                  I eat at Sakagura and Aburiya Kinnosake (both are in Midtown) often with Japanese colleagues and they do say they are both very authentic. Shouldn't be a problem with a kid in AK's tatami rooms. You should check with the friend if s/he'd prefer a grill place (AK) or a sake bar (then I'd second Sakagura's authenticity, though it is likely less kid-friendly). Both are not too expensive, and have limited but good yummy sushi/sashimi choices.

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                  Sakagura
                  211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017

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