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Looking for great Japanese food, not sushi

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  • vvv03 Feb 7, 2011 01:50 PM
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I have just recently discovered the joys of really good Japanese food that is not sushi or teryaki. Mainly for me this means tofu based dishes, but I am beginning to understand that there is a world of Japanese deliciousness out there that I have yet to discover. Would love some recs of places that do Japanese cooking really well (tofu in particular, as I'm really loving Japanese versions of tofu these days) and please feel free to also recommend favorite dishes, as I'm in the learning phase of my new cuisine obsession.


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  1. Kyo-Ya for some traditional dishes and kaiseiki (must be ordered in advance ) - also Sugiyama does the latter well as well

    Sakagura for some delicious small bites (I believe they have some tofu based "apps" on the menu ....En Japanese Brasserie has some nice options as well (incl Tofu)

    Kajitsu, however, is the best fit for what you specifically asked for, though a bit pricey. Got 2 Michelin Stars as well which says a lot considering the Shojin cuisine served...

    211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017

    251 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

    414 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10009

    1 Reply
    1. re: gwh912

      I love Taro, but please try Brasserie En, Yakitori Totto, Kajitsu, Sakagura, or Aburiya Kinnosuke, too. I am in Japan 3x a year...


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

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

      211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017

      414 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10009

    2. If you're willing to travel to Park Slope, and if a gentleman named Nakamachi is still in charge of the kitchen, go to Taro Sushi. Ask to speak to Sano, the owner, or Mayumi, the head waiteress, or Nakamachi himself. Tell them that you wish to have Japanese style dishes outside of the gyoza and shumai. I've had melt in your mouth pork belly, fried tofu in agedashi sauce, grilled yellowtail collar, fried eel bones, renkon-age and so on. It's really delicious stuff. Otherwise, since I see your post is on the Manhattan board, Hagi, is a great Japanese grill. They're on 152 W. 49th Street. I'd also lik to recommend Ise on W.56th Street, but I haven't been there in a few years. And when I went the while the sushi was average I thought their kitchen food, like bacon wrapped sea scallops and beef tongue yakitori was pretty good. So if anyone has been there recently, I'd be interested to know if the kitchen food is still good.

      58 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

      1 Reply
      1. re: bigmackdaddy

        I actually live in Park Slope and order sushi from Taro all the time! For some reason I've been ordering alternate Japanese things from JPan on 5th avenue but it's hit or miss. I suspect some nights they have a decent chef/cook and other nights not so much. Thanks for the direction!

      2. I agree with you wholeheartedly. Japanese food is my favorite - so delicate and flavorful.

        I second Kyo Ya and make sure to get their yuba and uni dish (tofu and sea urchin). It's amazing.

        I'd also recommend hagi sake bar (try the wasabi dumplings and bonito sashimi) as a great izakaya (Japanese pub food) and En Japanese Brasserie for higher end Japanese food.

        And I could go on and on about ramen, sushi, and robatayas.



        En Japanese Brasserie
        435 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014

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