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Where to find great umami taste?

I tried shittake mushroom in several Japanese places but unsatisfied. Can someone please recommend some places to taste? Don't want to have anything to do with MSG but just blissful umami taste from nature. Any style anywhere in Manhattan is fine. Thanks!

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  1. Nabeyaki Udon, Takiawase nimono, Kamo nanban at Restaurant Nippon in midtown. Not a place for sushi! Soup and Soba is why you go. But the udon and nimono is also very good.
    Soba-ya in the east village for similar dishes in a more crowded and casual enviornment.

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    Soba-ya
    229 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

    9 Replies
    1. re: AdamD

      Had sushi in Restaurant Nippon before and was not particularly impressed. Will try Soba as suggested. Thanks.

      1. re: ny2beijing

        Its not a place to go for sushi even though its acceptable. You go for the noodles! Hand made from buckwheat grown on their private farm. And they make a true konbu-dashi broth that screams umami!
        But Soba-ya also makes very good noodles and broth.
        Enjoy!

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        Soba-ya
        229 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

        1. re: AdamD

          Soba-Ya has a different name now, which I don't remember, though it's still a Soba specialist, I do believe.

            1. re: AdamD

              Yeah, really. Have you walked past recently? There's a different name on the outside of the restaurant. Unless they changed it back in the last few weeks.

              1. re: Pan

                Unfortunately, I have not. Kind of strange.

                1. re: Pan

                  weird... not sure what happened the the last couple years and not surprised if they did change management. used to be my favorite "reasonably priced" soba place in the city, but it really started slipping the last couple years.

                  1. re: FattyDumplin

                    Yeah I was there about three months ago and noticed that the prices seemed high.

                    1. re: AdamD

                      for me, the beginning of the end was a noticeable drop in quality in their lunchtime bentos. used to be an amazing deal... $15 for a hot / cold udon / soba with a bento of yummy sides like grilled salmon, tempura, and the city's best futomaki. then, the futomaki got replaced with this terrible stewed root vegetables dish and i rarely went back after that as other items didn't seem to get exetdued as well as they had been.

      2. Omen restaurant used to do a wonderful mushroom and leeks in foil (with other mysterious ingredients that I surmise were sake, soy, and possibly maybe just a teeny tiny touch of parmesan).
        I don't know if they still have it, but you could call and see if they do.
        Also they have had a shiitake mushroom rice that is wonderful.

        One of the better umami experiences I've had was at Blue Ribbon Sushi where I once had an uni ocha zuke. Again, check that they have before going. I bet they'd put out a good mushroom as well.

        Matsuhisa in Los Angeles had a wonderful broiled mushroom dish that I order when I go there; it may be that Nobu in Manhattan has the same. But I'm kind of anti-nobu ever since I called about an omakase meal and they made it clear to me I would only be able to have the table for 2 hours. I have not returned since that phone call.

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        Blue Ribbon Sushi
        119 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

        Nobu
        105 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013

        1. Spaghetti carbonara is one of the greatest umami vehicles. Try it at Lupa or Crispo. It might be a little late, but if you can find a good porcini risotto, that's another great way to enjoy umami.

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          Lupa
          170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

          Crispo
          240 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011

          1 Reply
          1. re: E Eto

            Crispo is close to where I live. Do you know what ingredients make their Spaghetti carbonara special?

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            Crispo
            240 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011