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Where to take sushi loving teenager in midtown?

3rd trip to New York for my 16 year old son. He loves Sushi and Italian. We are staying in midtown, but willing to subway it. Where can I blow his mind?

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  1. Yasuda, tanoshi for sushi. Italian- so many...lupa (need to travel)- delicious and inexpensive.

    1 Reply
    1. What's your budget per person before tax and tip (and alcohol for you)?

      When is this trip? Dates and days of the week? Is this for lunch or dinner? Are you planning to make some reservations soon? If less than a month away, many of the famous places will be booked up.

      Where did you eat at in NYC previously and what did you think?

      2 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        We're in town at the end of this month (23-25) and are looking for dinner on a Sunday and/or Tuesday and lunch on Tuesday.

        On previous trips, we tended to just go in to a place as we walked by. Ate Sushi at a place on 48th between 8th and 9th Ave, I think. It was OK. Mostly convenient for pre theatre.

        1. re: Michelle1201

          When you say he likes sushi do you mean maki rolls or so you mean nigiri sushi (and sushi omakase like in Jiro Dreams of Sushi)?

          Quite a few high quality sushi places are closed Sundays.

          What's your budget? It really matters for sushi, as it can cost quite a lot.

      2. Blue Ribbon izakaya in the 50's. The head chef from the one downtown is now there. Get the omakase, sit at the sushi bar.

        3 Replies
        1. re: foodwhisperer

          Where is there a Blue Ribbon Izakaya in the 50's? I want to go!

          1. re: lexismore

            Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill. Located near Columbus Circle. Different menu from the Izakaya on the LES.

        2. How much are you willing to spend on sushi? If all your son has ever had is the sushi that is served by a generic japanese place you happen to walk by, the cost differential between that and quality sushi is significant. Mind blowing can be budget blowing.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Bkeats

            I'm also thinking a 16yr old boy may be able to take down a considerable amount of sushi in one meal....

            1. re: Ttrockwood

              Ain't that the truth. My son could put me in the poor house the way he eats sushi.

            2. re: Bkeats

              Yea, my son can slam down 3 rolls all by himself. Sometimes he let's me share ;-)

              1. re: Michelle1201

                If he likes rolls then it makes no sense to take him to the top tier places like Yasuda. He hasn't graduated to that level yet. Go to one of the Blue Ribbon Sushi places, get the Kyuri Special roll.

                1. re: kathryn

                  Blue Ribbon sushi bar and grill W.58th Street ( i said izakaya earlier post) is the Blue Ribbon Mid or uptown. and I agree that is a good place for the teen to go.
                  I also think Sushi of Gari ( 43rd St) he would like a lot.The creative type sushi would surely excite a teenager starting out in the sushi world.
                  Nobu has some dishes like jalapeno yellowtail, or Wagyu beef on hot rock, that might be interesting also.
                  If it were downtown I'd recommend Takahachi. They have about 20 rolls named after movies i.e. Bee Movie.
                  Passage to India.... I like the Passage to India roll that comes with a curry sauce.
                  I don't think, yasuda, 15 East, Ushiwakamaru, and other top tier places are the right choice.

                  1. re: kathryn

                    I'm quoting a physicist here, but if you want to understand something, you need to encounter it in its highest form. There is a way in which children get socialized and processed by grade level and graduation which really has nothing to do with education. Just makes it easier for teachers to instill conformity. By the time they are allowed to "graduate" it is only because they are parroting this is higher and that is lower. They may not have learned anything.

                    There is also less segregation and categorization of people by age in other advanced countries. I don't know why this has become such a mania in a few places. I think if you talk down, condescend or shortchange young people, they can sense no matter how you try to disguise it.

                    That's a long way of saying if you can afford it, give a young person the best in as many varieties as you can. Young people have a natural aptitude for learning and outstripping their would-be teachers. A lot of what is held up to be "teaching" often just gets in the way.

              2. Sushi Zen at W. 44 & Sixth Ave is one of my favorites, and I have seen it turn up on "most underrated restaurant lists" for NYC and they recently won an award. I have never had trouble getting a reservation and I tend to book last minute or walk in. However, it is in the theatre district so it is easier to get seated if you are not dining right before curtain times. (They are closed Sundays)

                You can look at lunch and dinner menus online and see the prices.


                For Italian, take a look at the menu of Maialino, which is not midtown but at Gramercy Park. It is top quality Italian -- very close to what one might eat in Rome -- and service is quite nice. You might need to make a reservation immediately


                The Italian food is not "mind blowing" at Mercato in the high W. 30s near 9th Av, but the menu has a lot of traditional and tasty Southern Italian dishes that your son wouldn't otherwise have a chance to try. Best of all, prices are very friendly and the rustic atmosphere is casual and cheery. Take a look at the menu:


                2 Replies
                1. A few non-mainstream thoughts here. If you are willing to forgo "quality" for "average" (but nothing dangerous), and the price adjustment that goes with it, your son might find appealing, kaiten (conveyer belt) sushi. It is more novelty (if he has never done it before) than anything else but it is fun and you can eat a lot without breaking the bank. Prices are based on the color of the plate (and the fish that goes with it). They also have a vast menu with other Japanese/Asian foods. Has been there forever and there is a karaoke lounge upstairs. You just want to go during a normal busy time so there is good turnover. Also, the chefs will make anything you want if you ask for it, meaning you don't have take what is only on the belt. We take our two young boys there at least once a month. Restaurant is East on 3rd Avenue between 26 and 27th Street.. http://www.yelp.com/biz/east-japanese...

                  There are also the all-you-can eat places but the only one I know is on the upper east side, called Yuka. 2nd Avenue at 81st Street. It is nothing like a Yasuda nor Blue Ribbon but it is totally fine. Truly a bargain and they have interesting rules like you must eat all the rice (you get the idea). http://www.yelp.com/biz/yuka-japanese...

                  Finally, there is Hagi Sake Bar - really an izakaya - an eclectic variety of Japanese food but will likely have some sushi. Just a fun, busy place. Young crowd - http://www.yelp.com/biz/sake-bar-hagi....


                  3 Replies
                  1. re: olympusnyc

                    Thanks, I like the kaiten idea. Lots for him and just enough for me.

                    1. re: Michelle1201

                      I strongly recommend against the kaiten idea. If you were in Tokyo with your son I'd recommend it. At East , the fish quality is poor.
                      Blue Ribbon Sushi ( W 58th), Sushi of Gari ( look at their omakase menu) they have things like foie gras sushi, salmon with cream cheese tomato, many other creations.

                      1. re: foodwhisperer

                        As written in my note, foodwhisper, I highlighted novelty over quality. However, I beg to differ with you on calling their quality poor. I would go with average. Plenty of Japanese families eat there so I think calling it poor quality is exaggerated.

                  2. for Italian, consider the casual and lovely and cash-only Bar Pitti...it's Tuscan food, not Italian-American...the owner Giovanni is a great guy...and as a bonus for your 16-yr-old son, the place is often packed w/ models, who enjoy the casual Euro vibe and fresh food...a nice choice in late afternoon...6th Ave near Bleecker...

                    Also, i recommend ordering off the chalkboard of specials: that's where most of the good stuff is...it's in Italian and waiters will translate...

                    re: sushi, i agree w/ the other posters that a full pricey omakase might be overkill at this stage...however, perhaps sitting at a table at Ushiwakamaru and getting a sushi set would be a nice hint at his sushi future...

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Simon

                      +1 to Gio being a great guy. He's gotten me out of more than a couple jams

                      1. re: Simon

                        I love Bar Pitti except when the weather gets nicer and the lines to get in are crazy. I'd also recommend next door , Da Silvano, which even has more celebs and models and also not Italian American but Tuscan food.

                      2. I love the sushi at Shimizu. I've had some of the best omakase of my life there but I've also had more casual sushi meals where I enjoyed a couple rolls and a few pieces. If you go, ask to sit at the bar. I find it to be the most comfortable and one of the least pretentious sushi places of that caliber in the city. Have a great trip!