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Japanese on UES

I'm looking for a Japanese restaurant for a second dinner on UES (planning to have chinese for the first dinner from suggestions found here earlier) next Friday. I'm looking for a low to moderately priced place ($20-25 per person without drinks or dessert) Preferably in the 60th/70th area. Thank you.

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  1. I would recommend that you choose a non-Japanese alternative for that budget.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      Yes, unfortunately, I think it's going to be hard to eat at a Japanese restaurant on the UES for that price.

      Edit: Though a bit north of where you want, you might be able to do that if you order carefully at Tokubei 86, which I like:

      http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/...

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      Tokubei 86
      314 E 86th St, New York, NY 10028

    2. don't despair! inase has top-notch sushi at your price range (or close enough)

      5 Replies
      1. re: mow mow

        I agree that Inase is very good -- but I was never any good at gettting out of there without spending at least $100 for two of us, often quite a bit more.

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        Inase
        1586 1st Ave, New York, NY 10028

        1. re: MMRuth

          Same here. I see on their menu that they have a $27 sushi entree option, but I've never ordered that way and I don't know how it is...

          1. re: gutsofsteel

            The $27 option is good, it has some interesting pieces on it and you can choose your roll. That said the time I ordered it I also got other pieces that were not included driving the price up. However I suppose this depends on one's appetite. I have also gotten the $100 omakase there too so you can end up spending a lot especially with some nice sake.

            However their sushi lunch special is one of the better deals in town.

          2. re: MMRuth

            same here. but these folks are planning to go there for 2nd dinner. i assume they mean 2nd dinner in the same night, so they're gonna eat less? the entree is quite ok.

            sometimes i wonder: why don't we go to these top-notch places and order what we normally order at the neighborhood takeout? e.g. go to yasuda and order a sushi set at the bar... i never do that myself, but always feel that one day i should

            1. re: mow mow

              Totoya on 63rd and 1st is a good choice in the price range.

        2. I have started going back to Tokubei for diner.
          This restaurant has been around since the mid 1970's when the only sushi restaurants in NY were Robata and Nippon.
          It fell out of favor with the advent of all the new high end sushi bars.
          We were there again last night. It's a really homey place with a salt of the earth, Japanese bar tender. No masters of the universe and no one from the burbs. The crowd is strictly Yorkville and very down home. The neighborhood characters hang out at the bar. The tables are covered in tacky oil cloth and the menus have cigarette burns from bygone years. The owner tends the sushi bar.
          The sushi and sashimi was very good. We had Monkfish liver, a very good bonito tataki and superb toro. I loved my oshitashi.
          My sashimi was very fresh. The chef used real assortments of seaweed, not the shredded radish that one gets at Korean owned "Japanese" sushi bars which have now populated the UES.
          No, this is not Yasuda. My sea urchin was not from Santa Barbara and the salmon was a bit bland. Sake selections are very limited. But it was a quiet haven with a neighborhood feel without the wait and the attitude.
          Make sure to ask for the specials of the night and you will get a very good dinner.

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          Tokubei 86
          314 E 86th St, New York, NY 10028

          6 Replies
          1. re: pups224

            Thanks for your report. Definitely need to return to Tokubei soon.

            1. re: ellenost

              I've been to Tokubei many times, but really there are better options in the neighborhood: Inase, Gayjyumaru...

              Tokubei is a friendly neighborhood place but the fish is usually not very good.

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              Inase
              1586 1st Ave, New York, NY 10028

              Gajyumaru
              1659 1st Ave, New York, NY 10028

              1. re: gutsofsteel

                I disagree about Gayjyumaru. When it first opened it was very good. Now it has a major attitude and the fish is just okay. Not worth it to me. Plus it is a very uncomfortable space.
                I need to try Inase.
                At Tokubei, the specials are very good and the lack of any attitude or pretense is even better.

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                Inase
                1586 1st Ave, New York, NY 10028

                1. re: pups224

                  I have never experienced anything but a pleasant attitude from the wait staff at Gayjyumaru. By the way I think they have changed names....

                  Of course there is Gari, and Tsuki a bit further south, and Seki...

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                  Tsuki
                  1410 1st Ave, New York, NY 10021

                  1. re: gutsofsteel

                    I also prefer Gayjyumaru to Tokubei - went to the latter a month or two ago on a Monday when the former was closed, and we really regretted it. Service was really, really slow even though the place was less than half full, and the sashimi was generally warm and mushy. I find the servers at G. to be very sweet and friendly.

                    1. re: gutsofsteel

                      Unfortunately, Tsuki has closed.

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                      Tsuki
                      1410 1st Ave, New York, NY 10021

            2. tatany 72 on 2nd ave between 72 & 73 st. this is not a destination place, it's a solid neighborhood joint, with homestyle japanese food. the sushi is ok, the cooked foods are excellent

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              Tatany 72
              1400 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10021