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BEST IZAKAYA IN NEW YORK

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foodlovergeneral Feb 21, 2013 02:41 PM

I know this may seem old, but things are changing quickly. What is the best Izakayas now? My friends love Izakayas and are visiting New York in March.

  1. c
    cfulton99 Feb 24, 2014 02:59 PM

    Ok, almost a year late for this conversation, any idea which are good now? Rockmeisha is listed as closed now.

    6 Replies
    1. re: cfulton99
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      PatientWolf Feb 24, 2014 03:23 PM

      Personally I think Sakamai is still quite good - I may be a bit biased, as I live in the area, but it hits all the right notes for me: dishes strike a reasonable balance between experimentation and comfort, the list of sake is extensive, and the service and ambiance are sublime. Aburiya is too often less than satisfying, for me at least.

      1. re: cfulton99
        l
        Lau Feb 24, 2014 05:33 PM

        where does it say its closed?
        http://www.yelp.com/biz/rockmeisha-ne...

        1. re: cfulton99
          Ttrockwood Feb 24, 2014 06:07 PM

          I've always enjoyed yakitori totto...

          1. re: cfulton99
            f
            foodwhisperer Feb 25, 2014 01:22 AM

            I passed by Rockmeisha 2weeks ago and it was still open.
            However, the last time I was there, the owner was doing everything. Apparently his grill guy left.
            Lau's yelp link doesn't show Rockmeisha as closed, neither does Menu Pages.
            I really like Rockmeisha. Especially Tonsoku, potato salad, shumai, mackerel..... I guess i like everything. I hope it didn't close.

            1. re: foodwhisperer
              l
              Lau Feb 25, 2014 05:54 AM

              yah it doesnt look like its closed?

              1. re: Lau
                f
                foodwhisperer Feb 25, 2014 01:45 PM

                i may try to go tonite. I'll report back

          2. g
            gaucho25 Mar 5, 2013 02:15 AM

            I also like Aburiya. But closer to home, I'm at Rockmeisha in the Village a couple of times a month. Casual, comforting, good food, some quirks, and the price is right. I went to Fukurou on Sunday and I wish I had stuck with my usual Rockmeisha Sunday meal. There were some good dishes such as the avocado tofu and the chicken wings, but otherwise I thought it was overpriced and service was indifferent

            1. s
              Scott O Mar 1, 2013 06:06 AM

              I haven't been at enough Izakaya in NYC to say this one's the best, but my wife & I had an amazing meal at Aburiya Kinnosuke, 213 E 45th St.

              Blue fin tuna tartare, Robata Chicken, slow-simmered Berkshire pork, house-made tofu with three salts and a delectable Ankake Yakisoba. We got there at 10:30pm close to closing and the meal knocked our socks off. I'm curious to hear what others think...

              1 Reply
              1. re: Scott O
                strangemd Mar 1, 2013 06:21 AM

                Aburiya Kinnosuke is well known to many on this board. I love the place, have been going at least once a month for years. Great place to get together with a group of friends and order almost everything on the menu.

              2. p
                plf515 Feb 23, 2013 04:39 AM

                What are your opinions of Sun Chan on Broadway and 103rd?

                I quite like it, but I am no expert on izakaya food. Is it in the same league as the places mentioned here?

                2 Replies
                1. re: plf515
                  t
                  TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis Mar 10, 2013 05:04 PM

                  what, no response?
                  fo'get 'bout it ... This is straight up twee.

                  1. re: plf515
                    Peter Cuce Mar 10, 2013 08:49 PM

                    Sorry, not remotely in the league of any mentioned spots. It's not really an izakaya either, more of a general homestyle Japanese restaurant. I went a couple of times last year and found it tolerable at best. Sorry, can't remember details except that some fish we got was old. Suffice it to say, I don't plan to return. I had fond memories of the place from when it used to be called Jo Ann or something like that years ago, but I wish I had left them as memories.

                  2. lsclark Feb 22, 2013 09:19 PM

                    If your in the East Village, Uminoie at 86 E 3rd St (between !st and 2nd) is a pretty solid choice.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: lsclark
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                      Pan Feb 23, 2013 01:04 AM

                      What in particular have you enjoyed there?

                    2. w
                      winemonkey Feb 21, 2013 04:40 PM

                      Does Bohemian count? +1 for Yakitori Totto but maybe not casual enough? Yoparai looks interesting but I need to try that Sake Bar Hagi (thx Silverjay!) as I love cheap good Japanese. Have you tried Sake Bar Decibel? Haven't been there in ages so not sure if it's what you're looking for. What about Yakitori Taisho? Try the Sochu Sampler for like $8 and get bascially three full glasses of Sochu! Gotta thank my foodie friend for that find!

                      1. kosmose7 Feb 21, 2013 04:25 PM

                        Recently opened Sakamai is pretty solid with contemporary Japanese dishes. I love their egg on egg on egg, which is sea urchin and caviar on egg custard.

                        I like Momokawa for more traditional dishes. They have sukiyaki and many other otsumami, but I particularly like their chicken karaage.
                        http://blog.naver.com/kosmose7/901585...

                         
                         
                         
                         
                         
                         
                        3 Replies
                        1. re: kosmose7
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                          Lau Feb 22, 2013 06:48 AM

                          agreed on sakamai, i like the dishes you recommended there

                          1. re: kosmose7
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                            foodlovergeneral Feb 22, 2013 07:55 AM

                            It looks like sakamai has a very small menu at least on their website. Do they offer a number of specials there?

                            1. re: kosmose7
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                              foodlovergeneral Feb 22, 2013 08:21 AM

                              Can you say a bit more about Sakamai? WHere was that beautiful K-Town restaurant that you tood a picture of (meal with your parents)? Looked like a great spot visually. Great view.

                            2. Silverjay Feb 21, 2013 03:20 PM

                              There's no killer izakaya here and there is nothing really new from the last time you requested this a few months ago. Sakagura for sake, Yakitori Totto for yakitori, Sake Bar Hagi is cheap. Hakata Tonton is basically an izakaya. Have you looked into Yopparai (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/856331) ? That opened last year.

                              28 Replies
                              1. re: Silverjay
                                Silverjay Feb 21, 2013 03:22 PM

                                ...Uminoie for shochu and so-so food or counter at Donburiya after 10pm if you like chatting with the girls on staff...

                                1. re: Silverjay
                                  f
                                  foodlovergeneral Feb 21, 2013 03:32 PM

                                  Have you tried Rockmeisha or Bugs? How about Fukurou (opened recently I heard). How is Yopparai?

                                  1. re: foodlovergeneral
                                    f
                                    foodwhisperer Feb 21, 2013 09:08 PM

                                    Silverjay: thanks for the link and review of Yopparai.
                                    Foodlovergeneral: you ask how is Yopparai, I think you should read the link Silverjay sent you.
                                    Yopparai sounds like a place I need to check out.
                                    Rockmeisha I really like a lot, the food is great, the crowd in general is not to my liking but if you sit at the chef counter its more to my liking. The crowd mostly is drunk , loud, non-japanese. The juke box has 50's and 60's songs.
                                    Bugs: is homemade food in a small quiet place. They didn't have their liquor license last time i was there.
                                    Fukurou: is small, some dishes are good ( fried baby aji). most dishes are not so good.
                                    Decibel might be interesting if you haven't been there. It's they have some good Izakaya dishes and reasonably priced sake and shochu and beer.
                                    Kosmose: thanks for mentioning Sakamai. I've passed by there but never checked it out. Now I surely will

                                    1. re: foodwhisperer
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                                      foodlovergeneral Feb 22, 2013 07:52 AM

                                      Thanks for your great input on all the izakayas. Very helpful. Can you bring your own liquor to bugs since they have no license? Is that legal in NYC? Anyone?

                                      1. re: foodlovergeneral
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                                        foodwhisperer Feb 22, 2013 10:10 AM

                                        They may have their liquor license now, i'm not sure. When they didn't , they did not allow you to byob. They had non-alcohol beer

                                        1. re: foodwhisperer
                                          p
                                          PatientWolf Feb 28, 2013 11:38 AM

                                          When I went to Bugs relatively recently (two months ago?) she still did not have a liquor license.

                                          Rockmeisha's food can be quite good, but I agree about the comments wrt the crowd. They aren't always there, or necessarily perpetually obnoxious, but it can get irritating.

                                          Decibel and Hagi are similar, and both fairly reliable, but Decibel is a little rougher around the edges.

                                          Re: Silverjay's Yopparai write up, I liked it as well, but I guess I felt the sticker shock a bit more. The bill really can get out of hand.

                                          1. re: PatientWolf
                                            Silverjay Feb 28, 2013 06:16 PM

                                            Unfortunately, sake is about double the price here vs. Japan, so a few drinks can really add up. I did suggest in the write-up that it's probably better for a second or third stop in the evening- maybe for a drink or two with a dish or two, as opposed to a full blowout meal.

                                            1. re: Silverjay
                                              p
                                              PatientWolf Feb 28, 2013 06:24 PM

                                              That's very good advice, Silverjay, I'm sorry I missed it in your write-up. Also, as an addendum to my earlier statement, Bugs is applying for a liquor license, and may very well get it before your visit in March, OP.

                                              1. re: PatientWolf
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                                                foodwhisperer Feb 28, 2013 06:51 PM

                                                Bugs applied for the liquor license when they first opened. It sure is taking a long time. On another note, and probably better for a discussion board, with sake so popular and good sake pretty expensive, has any US spirit or wine maker, tried to make and market any sake. If not, why not?

                                                1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                  Silverjay Feb 28, 2013 06:59 PM

                                                  I don't know how popular it really is here, but anyway, there are some producers in California and Oregon.

                                                  1. re: Silverjay
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                                                    foodwhisperer Feb 28, 2013 07:20 PM

                                                    Thanks for the response, I'll have to research and try the West Coast sake. I haven't seen any. I guess I think sake is more popular these days, is because I see more sake bars, and more sake choices in sushi restaurants than years ago.

                                                    1. re: foodwhisperer
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                                                      PatientWolf Feb 28, 2013 07:25 PM

                                                      And if the dudebros dining across from my date and I at Zenkichi last night were any indication of a norm, I'd have to agree with foodwhisperer: sake is getting more popular, and not solely among the crowds you'd expect.

                                                      1. re: PatientWolf
                                                        Silverjay Feb 28, 2013 07:53 PM

                                                        Well sake consumption in Japan continues to decrease despite improving quality product. So hopefully US can pick up the slack.

                                                        1. re: Silverjay
                                                          l
                                                          Lau Mar 1, 2013 06:37 AM

                                                          interesting, why is sake consumption declining? less popular with young people?

                                                          1. re: Lau
                                                            Silverjay Mar 1, 2013 07:01 AM

                                                            Yes. Shochu, beer, and wine are more popular. And sake has a reputation for causing bad hangovers. It's all too bad as the sake brewers these days make so many excellent products.

                                                            1. re: Silverjay
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                                                              Lau Mar 1, 2013 07:05 AM

                                                              ahh ok that makes sense...although sake giving a worse hangover than shochu? haha

                                                              1. re: Lau
                                                                Silverjay Mar 1, 2013 07:09 AM

                                                                Shochu is a distilled spirit and is relatively clean and also, often mixed with oolong tea or something, so you get some hydration when you drink. So actually, it's quite true.

                                                                1. re: Silverjay
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                                                                  Lau Mar 1, 2013 07:24 AM

                                                                  haha i dont know, all of these things give me a bad hangover except beer

                                                                  1. re: Lau
                                                                    Silverjay Mar 1, 2013 07:28 AM

                                                                    Well if you just eat a bowl of ramen at 3am, you'll feel fine the next day no matter what you drink. lol.

                                                                  2. re: Silverjay
                                                                    p
                                                                    plf515 Mar 1, 2013 03:52 PM

                                                                    Since oolong tea has caffeine, it won't hydrate you; quite the reverse.

                                                                    1. re: plf515
                                                                      Silverjay Mar 1, 2013 03:59 PM

                                                                      Most of the tea and the ice it is served on is water. It hydrates you.

                                                  2. re: PatientWolf
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                                                    Simon Feb 28, 2013 10:14 PM

                                                    i went to Bugs for the first time a few days ago: they are serving beer, wine, and sake...

                                                    1. re: Simon
                                                      p
                                                      PatientWolf Mar 1, 2013 12:08 AM

                                                      Awesome. Their application must be about extending the hours they can serve, then.

                                                      1. re: Simon
                                                        f
                                                        foodwhisperer Mar 1, 2013 05:14 AM

                                                        That's good news, that they finally got their liquor license. Did you enjoy the food?

                                              2. re: foodlovergeneral
                                                Ttrockwood Feb 24, 2014 06:04 PM

                                                Bugs was BYO when i went a few months ago (nov?)call to confirm before going...

                                                1. re: Ttrockwood
                                                  y
                                                  Yaxpac Feb 25, 2014 06:07 AM

                                                  i had drinks there last month...

                                            2. re: foodlovergeneral
                                              l
                                              Lau Feb 22, 2013 06:48 AM

                                              i like the gyoza and grilled tonsoku at Rockmeisha

                                              their ramen is alright as well

                                            3. re: Silverjay
                                              t
                                              TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis Mar 3, 2013 01:58 PM

                                              Your recent rec for oden was solid.
                                              "izakaya", hmmm
                                              ink dries quickly ... http://neojaponisme.com/2011/11/28/th...

                                            4. f
                                              foodwhisperer Feb 21, 2013 03:06 PM

                                              Sakagura is my favorite. Blue Ribbon Izakaya is good but I don't really think it is a true Izakaya

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: foodwhisperer
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                                                foodlovergeneral Feb 21, 2013 03:12 PM

                                                Sakagura is great. I love it. I have been going there for 7 or 8 years now. It's a bit pricey now though, and less homey than it used to be.

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