Japanese Dining in New York

This journal will be your guide to Japanese dining in NYC!


Japanese Dining in New York

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by xine on January 11, 2001

Whether you're looking for yakisoba, sushi, sashimi, yakitori or green tea ice cream, New York City will not disappoint you!

This journal will be a guide to all the Japanese restaurants I have tried in NY. I'll keep adding on as I try more so revisit my journal if you want to keep updated on my latest Japanese finds.

My favorite sushi place is Yama - it offers very fresh fish at a great value. Tomoe Sushi is a close second, followed by Haru.

In addition to the places I cover, I have heard great things about Nobu, Blue Ribbon Sushi and Sushisay-- all pricey, but highly recommended. ${QuickSuggestions} If you're undecisive, check and see if the restaurant offers a bento box. Bento boxes usually come with salad/soup, sushi, tempura, gyoza, grilled fish, yakitori/yakiniku, pickled vegetables and rice.${BestWay} The subway is the most convenient way to get around NY.


Yama (Houston St.)

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by xine on January 11, 2001

I had the sushi deluxe here which included 6 pieces of California roll and an assortment of sushi, including tuna, salmon, yellowtail, shrimp, and a few other pieces. The portion was quite large -- I was not able to finish it. The fish was very fresh and the meal was a great value.

Of the three branches of Yama, I like this one the best (probably because I have some great memories from there more than anything else). It's the most casual of the three, but the food is just as tasty and fresh as the original Yama on Irving Place.

The service here is rather rushed since they're so busy. You'll almost always have to wait for a table unless you go early. Not much decor here, but with the crowds here, you won't have too time to linger.

Yama Houston
92 W. Houston St.
New York, New York, 10012
(212) 674-0935

Yakitori-Taisho

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by xine on January 15, 2001

If you're looking for authentic Japanese yakiniku, look no further than this cramped and bustling yakiniku joint on St. Mark's Place. Judging from all the Japanese who eat here, this place is the REAL thing. For those who don't like raw fish, this is the place for you since no sushi or sashimi is served here.

You can order by the skewer or order one of the combinations on the menu. Choose from skewers of chicken, beef, pork, gizzards, liver, heart, etc. which will be grilled to perfection. If you're not in the mood for grilled meat, there are plenty of other options-- soup noodles, soba, yakisoba, potato croquettes (delicious!) among others. Wash it down with a mug of the Japanese yogurt drink, Calpice, or with Japanese beer.

Lines are long, space is tight and the air is smoky, but the food is very inexpensive and truly outstanding. You'll feel like you're back in Japan again. Natsukashii!!

Yakitori Taisho
5 Saint Marks Place
New York, New York, 10003
(212) 228-5086

Nobu, Next Door

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by xine on January 15, 2001

Reservations are hard to come by at Nobu, but you can still experience the culinary delights of the Iron Chef at Nobu, Next Door which does not take reservations. Although Nobu, Next Door opens at 5, there will already be a line if you arrive at 5 so go early if you want to be seated when doors open. We arrived around 5:30 and had to wait about 45 minutes to get seated, but every minute of waitng was well worth it.

Nobu, Next Door has a deal worked out with Layla's, a Middle-Eastern restaurant across the street, where you can go for drinks while you wait. Nobu, Next Door will call Layla's when it's your turn to be seated. Word of warning: no matter how hungry you are or how tempting the appetizers are at Layla's, stick to drinks and don't spoil you're dinner.

First-timers should definitely try the tasting menu which begins at $70 per person. While this is expensive, I assure you, your money is being well-spent. The tasting menu allows you to try a wider variety of exquisite dishes. The waiter will ask you what you do and do not eat so that the chef can tailor the tasting menu to your preferences. EVERYTHING I had was absolutely divine! Each course was brought out separately and the waiter would describe what each dish was. One of my favorites was the rock shrimp (a meal in itself!) which was served in a creamy sauce-- my mouth is still watering from the taste!

This is not your typical Japanese restaurant so each dish is a combination of ingredients you have most likely never tasted before, but is oh-so-pleasing to the palate. Since portions are large, be sure to pace yourself, and be prepared to be overstuffed, but don't forget to save room for dessert!

If you don't do try the tasting menu, but want the Nobu experience, be adventurous and try some of the atypical Japanese appetizers and entrees on the menu. This is not the place to order your ordinary sushi combo.

Nobu
105 Hudson St
New York, New York, 10013
+1 212 219 0500

Yama (Carmine St.)

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by xine on January 15, 2001

This branch of Yama has the nicest decor and the best service, but the sushi here, while tasty is not quite as good as the other two branches. Although the fish is fresh, my main complaint is that the sushi rice falls apart. The first time I visited this Yama was when it first opened. My date and I both noticed the sushi rice breaking in half for almost every piece of sushi we picked up. The second time I ate there -- a year and half later -- the sushi still fell apart!

Crumbling sushi rice aside, the taste and quality of the food is excellent and a very good value. The first time I went, I ordered the sushi combination which came with miso soup. The second time, I had the bento dinner which came with grilled hamachi-kama (yellowtail neck), tempura, 3 pieces of sushi (tuna, yellowtail, salmon), 6 piece of California roll, yakitori, shumai, salad, miso soup, rice, and pickled vegetables -- all for less than $20. I could only finish half my dinner, but packed it up and had the leftovers for lunch the next day. What a bargain!

Yama Carmine
38-40 Carmine Street
New York, New York, 10014
(212) 989-9330

Yama (Irving Pl.)

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by xine on January 15, 2001

Yama Irving Pl. is the site of the original Yama. Go early or be prepared to wait in line -- no reservations taken at this branch.

When I went to Yama, we ordered a la carte for three people which turned out to be incredibly expensive. I ended up spending $50, but you could have a great meal for $20 if you order from the menu. The slices of fish were large and very fresh.

Although the service here is minimal and rushed, it's worth putting up with it for the best sushi in town!

Yama 17
122 East 17th Street
New York, New York, 10003
(212) 475-0969

Haru

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by xine on January 15, 2001

Portions here are quite large so you will definitely be satisfied. The fish here is very fresh and tasty.

Order the edamame and seaweed salad as appetizers. One of my dinner companions was a vegetarian and made a meal out of a salad, agedashi tofu, and tempura which she found quite tasty. Haru also offers vegetarian sushi combos which are presented in an aesthetically pleasing manner and look very appetizing, but I have never tried them. For someone who can't decide what to eat, I'd recommend the chirashi sushi-- slices of tuna, salmon, yellowtail, eel, whitefish, tamago (and others) -- on a bed of rice w/ seaweed. Very filling and satisfying!

The wooden interior of Haru is nice, but the space is small so make reservations if you don't want to wait. For those on the Upper East Side, there is also a branch at 1329 Third Ave, (76th St.).

Haru
433 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, New York, 10024
(212) 579-5655

Ozu

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by xine on March 15, 2001

This no frills Japanese hole-in-the-wall is a welcome break to the pricey Upper West Side establishments. With dishes made of whole grains and organic vegetables, this is not your typical Japanese restaurant. I had the salmon croquettes which were lightly friend to perfection and served with a light but creamy soy-based dipping sauce. The entree was accompanied by a small green salad with carrot-miso dressing. My friend, who is a vegetarian, had a grilled vegetable and tofu pita which was also very tasty. Order edamame to munch on while you wait for the rest of your meal. Portions are large and very reasonably priced-- I had enough leftovers for lunch the next day! The food is so wholesome and healthy, you won't feel guilty even if you clean your plate!

This is a vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurant!

Ozu
566 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, New York
(212) 787-8316

Monster Sushi

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by xine on March 15, 2001

I have to admit I was a bit skeptical when I heard the name "Monster Sushi". While the decor of the restaurant is nothing to brag about, the sushi was surprisingly good. We had the squid and eel roll which was absolutely divine! In fact, after devouring one roll, we ordered another. Unlike most of the rolls, this one is served warm (it takes about 20 minutes to make but is well worth the wait!) and with a sweet yet salty brown sauce. The spicey tuna rolls definitely had that extra spicey kick to them!

We got there at 6:00 right after work, but an hour later, there was a line out the door so I recommend making reservations.

Get over the name of the restaurant and give the place a try!

Monster Sushi
158 West 23rd Street
New York, New York, 10011
(212) 620-9131

Iso

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by xine on May 17, 2001

This East Village sushi joint always has a line, but is worth the wait. The decor is sleek and modern, although the dining area is on the smaller side.

I've been here twice. Once I had the maki combination which was delicious. The rolls weren't too big or too small, and the rice was just the right texture and consistency. Another time, I had the chicken teriyaki which was served with a bowl of rice, and made for a very filling meal.

Perhaps not the best sushi in Manhattan, but the food is fresh, tasty and won't disappoint. Plus, you're right in the heart of the East Village so there are plenty of places to get dessert and coffee or a drink afterwards!

Iso
1 Irving Place
New York, New York, 10003
(212) 777-0361

Fujiyama Mama

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by xine on May 17, 2001

Sushi and disco. This is what this place is all about. Listen to 80s music while dining. There's a silver disco ball and strobe lights-- I kid you not, but no dance floor. A bit on the cheesy side for my liking, but it's a fun although loud place to get some decent Japanese food.

The spider rolls were good, but the sushi rice was a bit too soft and sticky for my taste. Highly recommend getting the unagi entree though. The eel was fantastic-- just the right tenderness and sweetness, and the portion was so large we took home the leftovers for lunch the next day.

A bit on the pricey side, but a good place to start off the evening if you're planning on going out (i.e. frat hopping) on the Upper West Side.

Fujiyama Mama
467 Columbus Ave (between 82nd And 83rd Streets)
New York, New York, 10024

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