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BEST IZAKAYA IN NEW YORK

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.

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  1. 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

      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.

    2. 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

        ...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

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

          1. re: foodlovergeneral

            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

              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

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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

                        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

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

                          1. re: Silverjay

                            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

                              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

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

                                1. re: Silverjay

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

                                  1. re: Lau

                                    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

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

                                      1. re: Lau

                                        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

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

                                          1. re: Lau

                                            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

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

                                            1. re: plf515

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

                          2. re: PatientWolf

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

                            1. re: Simon

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

                              1. re: Simon

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

                      2. re: foodlovergeneral

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

                    2. re: foodlovergeneral

                      i like the gyoza and grilled tonsoku at Rockmeisha

                      their ramen is alright as well

                    3. 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

                        agreed on sakamai, i like the dishes you recommended there

                        1. re: kosmose7

                          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

                            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. 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!

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