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Taisho and Sakagura alternatives

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.


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  1. 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

      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. 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. 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

          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

            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

              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

                  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

                    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: foodwhisperer

                        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

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

            1. Tori Shin is a huge step up over Taisho.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Ricky

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

                1. re: kosmose7

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

              2. 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

                  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

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

                    1. re: Lau

                      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

                        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. 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. 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

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