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Taisho and Sakagura alternatives

marblebag Sep 18, 2012 06:11 PM

I have 3 lunches and 3 dinners left in NYC this week yet I just want to return to Taisho and Sagakura. It's probably because the Japanese selection in Montreal is so terrible that I 'love' these two.

Where else should I go for Japanese? I am not a raw fish eater. I am thinking of trying a kaseiki (Kyo Ya, Sugiyama, Brushstroke) and ramen (Minca, Setagaya, Rai Rai Ken).

I have a reservation at Ko for Saturday lunch.

I,ve already been to Momofuku Noodle, Mentui Kei, Mechanko and Ippudo.


  1. p
    pravit Sep 18, 2012 07:08 PM

    Ootoya does a great teishoku (set meal) - you get a main dish as well as rice, soup, various pickles and veggies, and steamed eggs. The mackerel and pork tonkatsu are my favorites there but everything I've had is good.

    I'd also try the cha-kago set or lunch special at Cha-An, another place for set meals I really like.

    If you like soba try Soba Koh or Cocoron.

    EN Japanese is also a nice place for teishoku meals.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pravit
      marblebag Jul 1, 2013 11:55 AM

      I've been to Cocoron twice. The first time was in April 2013 and I had a cold soba, not knowing too much what to get. Yesterday I returned with my brother and we had the dip soba. They are very tasty and a new way to eat soba. I will try to recreate at home.

    2. f
      foodwhisperer Sep 18, 2012 07:53 PM

      Kyo Ya or Kajitsu or Brushstroke are on a much higher level cuisine than the others mentioned.
      En is a good option and less expensive in a nice setting, the fresh tofu is really good there.
      I agree also with Pravit on Soba Koh as something different than the others mentioned and it is better than Soba Ya.
      Robataya would be a terrific choice for you , the grilled fish, meat and veggies are superb and the rice dishes are among the best.
      I would cross Setagaya off your list and since you have been to Ippudo already perhaps Misoya would be good for some Hokkaido style ramen.
      An interesting alternative might be either Greenwich Grill or Basta Pasta both with Japanese chefs but not Japanese cuisine, just Japanese inspired.
      Since you mentioned some Korean owned places above, perhaps you would want to try an amazing meal of small dishes at Jungsik

      1. k
        kathryn Sep 18, 2012 08:18 PM

        Don't forget Takashi (yakiniku).

        What about Soto? They are known also for their cooked & non-sushi dishes in addition to their sushi/raw fish.

        If it's for this week, I'd make a reservation ASAP for Kyo Ya's kaiseki, if you want to dine there. I know they also have a walk-ins only chef counter, but I'm not sure if you can get the kaiseki without arranging it beforehand.

        9 Replies
        1. re: kathryn
          foodwhisperer Sep 18, 2012 09:55 PM

          Kyo Ya is tough these days for walk-ins, even at the bar or chef counter. You can;t get the kaiseki menu without pre-arranging it, but you can put together your own a la carte kaiseki dinner. I actually prefer that.

          1. re: foodwhisperer
            marblebag Jul 1, 2013 11:58 AM

            I brought my mother to Kyo Ya in April. She doesn't eat a lot at her age and she thinks Japanese food is tempura and sushi. We ordered a la carte. Everything is good to me but I didn't get it. She didn't like it.

            Last X-mas we went to Gyu Kaku in California and she enjoyed it.

            What should I get at Kyo Ya next time?

            1. re: marblebag
              foodwhisperer Jul 2, 2013 02:48 AM

              It's a tough question to answer. I think you need to go on menu pages and read the menu to her and see what sounds good. They have pressed sushi, sashimi, grilled and fried fish. Meat dishes like pork belly. I like their ebi shinjo and their croquettes. But your mother's tastes are something you're not going to change. See if anything stands out , otherwise try a different restaurant. Kyo Ya is expensive and if the food won't make your mom happy, eat the type of food she wants.
              I tried to go to Kyo Ya last night and they were closed for renovation. They will be closed July 4 too. When they first opened there was no sign that said Kyo Ya, we called it Open, because that was the only sign. Now they have 2 signs, both say No Bicycles , so that's its new name to me.

              1. re: foodwhisperer
                kosmose7 Jul 2, 2013 05:05 AM


                1. re: foodwhisperer
                  foodlovergeneral Nov 8, 2013 06:44 PM

                  I appreciate your reviews. Keep it up. I want to hear more about the best of sushi from you as of late. I know there are other strings, but what's your faves? I know I saw another string, but let's hear it updated for Nov. 2013. Nagazawa?

                  As for Sakagura, I started going there some time in the 1990s I think. Just Japanese crowd, food was much more down to earth and then.

                  1. re: foodlovergeneral
                    Lau Nov 8, 2013 07:11 PM

                    wow has it been there that long?

                    i guess ive been going there a while just didnt realize it had been there that long

                    1. re: Lau
                      foodwhisperer Nov 8, 2013 09:45 PM

                      it started in 1996

                      1. re: foodwhisperer
                        foodlovergeneral Nov 9, 2013 06:14 PM

                        I think we first went a couple of years into it.

                        Same thing with Tsukushi. I loved that place back then. Returned recently after many years. Dour service. We got a different meal than our neighbors-Japanese. Were we the "gaijin" special meal? Are they sick of New York "foodies" or "hipsters" wanting their Peruvian style sushi? We used to go and there was no menu at all. Now there is. Price is much higher.

                        1. re: foodlovergeneral
                          foodwhisperer Nov 16, 2013 07:21 AM

                          That price increase thing is happening all over. All the mostly Japanese places are now getting filled with 'foodies" ( hey , that's us lol) and hipsters. Robataya for example,used to be much less expensive. In the past two years prices rose dramatically. The clientele changed too.

          2. b
            Bkeats Sep 19, 2012 12:12 PM

            Its not in Manhattan, but an interesting place to check out would be Zenkichi in Williamburg.

            1. r
              Ricky Sep 19, 2012 12:54 PM

              Tori Shin is a huge step up over Taisho.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Ricky
                kosmose7 Sep 19, 2012 02:37 PM

                +1 Torishin. Hands down the best yakitori in New York.

                1. re: kosmose7
                  marblebag Jul 1, 2013 12:00 PM

                  I did go to Torishin in this September 2012 trip and I liked it a lot. It's a keeper.

                  1. re: marblebag
                    kosmose7 Jul 1, 2013 12:32 PM

                    Grad you tried Torishin! :)

              2. m
                marblebag Sep 20, 2012 04:05 PM

                I tried Soba Koh and I like it as much as Sagakura's but I don't know why one would be better. I had the Toroniku Ramen with 'basic pork' broth at Minca and it was really good. I will be back to try the chicken n pork broth. Robataya was surprisingly good especially the buttery cod fillet.

                Thank you for all the suggestions.

                4 Replies
                1. re: marblebag
                  foodwhisperer Jul 2, 2013 02:51 AM

                  I went to Soba Koh last night. The duck was horrible. I've had it before and it was good. It was very "livery" tasting. The tempura greasy and not very good. Cold appetizer assortment was good.
                  The soba was ok. Also not as good as usual. I had the soba ikura. If I compare this visit to Soba Koh with my last visit to Soba Ya. Soba Ya had better soba.

                  1. re: foodwhisperer
                    Lau Jul 2, 2013 07:05 PM

                    really? weird, i normally find soba koh very consistent and definitely better than soba ya, but sounds like a off night?

                    1. re: Lau
                      foodwhisperer Jul 4, 2013 08:53 AM

                      I hadn't been to soba koh for awhile, maybe it was an off night , ,but i was totally disappointed. I had real good soba at a party where the chef of Soba Totto did a soba demonstration preparing it right in front of you. It was excellent, and served with tuna. I was thrilled last night with what I ate at Rockmeisha though. Although, it wasn't soba, it was Japanese and awesome. The mental potato salad, the pig's feet, the mental ebi gyoza all fantastic.

                      1. re: foodwhisperer
                        Lau Jul 4, 2013 09:01 AM

                        yah you should give it another try, ive never had an issue with the consistency of the food at soba koh and i eat there fairly regularly

                        i do like rockmeisha, i used to eat there alot when i lived in the west village. they are known for their pig's feet and i always liked their gyoza. they do a decent ramen as well

                2. f
                  foodlovergeneral Dec 10, 2013 09:18 PM

                  Kyo Ya has great kaiseki. Did you try it when you were in NYC? Montreal Japanese food is very dissapointing. Juni is not bad for sushi at the sushi bar. Good skilled chef. Best kaiseki may be Kajitsu; vegeterrean though. Amazingly elegant and precise. Great tea. Which kaiseki did you finally try?

                  1. kokoro Dec 11, 2013 09:19 AM

                    It seems like you're looking for izakayas?

                    Why not try Sakamai in the LES or Fukurou in Greenwich Village? I've heard good things about Shigure in TriBeCa as well. Excellent small plates and a solid selection of sake as well.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: kokoro
                      foodwhisperer Dec 11, 2013 11:40 AM

                      Shigure;s food offerings do not compare to the selection at Sakagura. It may compare somewhat to Decibel

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