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Manhattan & NJ (Bergen County) Restaurant Reviews

Ian Hunter's Guide to Manhattan and Bergen County, NJ's Best Restaurants, Bars, and Gourmet Markets

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JAPANESE
 
Kouzan: Japanese. 685 Amsterdam @ 93rd; 20/20/$35; 280-8099; Gorgeous interior including a waterfall; Reasonable prices and attentive service as well… try it! While not the best sushi in Manhattan, it is the best this far north; Menu is huge with dozens of cooked items to select; The special rolls are all $12-$14;  With this much to choose from, you won’t go home hungry.  Menu is gigantic.
 
Momoya: Japanese. 427 Amsterdam @ 80-81st; 23/20/$41; 580-0007; Simple, spacious setting; Unreal-fresh sushi; Extremely unique, tasty rolls; Menu features many cooked dishes and boxes as well; Great deal for the quality; Inventive & high quality all in one. Tons of sake available; This place is under the radar and one of the best mid-priced options in the genre. Generous portions. Large menu – and it’s amazing.
 
Gari: Japanese. 370 Columbus @ 77-8th; 27/15/$75; 362-4816; Melt in your mouth fresh sushi; Absolutely straight from the sea; Unique combos; Order ‘off-menu’; Omakase- $~75. Sushi is served as works of art; Can order a la carte as well. Meticulously presented sushi, exquisitely plated, and of the highest freshness and quality. Teriyaki, tempura and noodle dishes available as well.  Closed Monday.  For $55 you can have Tuna of Gari – 8 pieces of Tuna sushi & a Tuna Roll.
 

Sushi Yasaka: Japanese. 251 W 72nd @ BWay-West End; 23/20/$47; 496-8460; Large menu of appetizers, sushi, sashimi and rolls;  Best bet is to get the Chef’s Omakase where you get 12 pieces of sushi and 1 maki roll for a dirt cheap $45.  Very inexpensive lunch specials as well for $12.  Great bang for the buck.  Pleasant environment; Large portions. Go-to local spot. Noodles are great as well.

 
Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill: Japanese. 308 W 58th @ 8th-9th Av; 25/20/$64; 397-0404; Combining many elements of Blue Ribbon Sushi and Blue Ribbon (other Bromberg brother owned restaurants), this open-late mecca serves the highest quality sushi, rolls, steaks and fish;  Also have various combo platters; Breakfast available; Top notch service; Expensive and perfect for a special occasion.  Very classy inside.  Oxtail fried rice. 
 

Nobu 57: Japanese. 40 W 57th @ 5-6th Av; 27/24/$82; 757-3000; Celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa owned; Peruvian influence; Off the chart good. Ridiculously fresh sushi and fish/ seafood dishes; Fancy & Trendy; Celeb Hot Spot; Larger than Soho version and more comfort – same quality. All locations, now all over the world, provide that over the top experience, now sponsored by Robert DeNiro. Comfortable and not overly pretentious.  

 
Yakitori Totto: Japanese. 251 W 55th St @ BWay-8th Av; 26/16/$46; 245-4555; www.tottonyc.com;  Various forms and styles of Chicken on a stick. See website; This is a particular type of Japanese cooking and it is the best in the city. Try something original- it is gourmet!  About 30 different types of Yakitori and also noodles, soups and a few entrees now; Sit at the chef’s counter or a table.  Tokyo style cuisine.  Lunch - $10 gets you a gourmet meal. Inexpensive and a lot of fun. 

 

Torishin: Japanese. 362 W 53rd @ 9th Ave; 25/19/$84; 757-0108; Chicken heaven at this yakitori house; Amazing skewers – absolutely mouthwatering; Fun to sit at the bar and have saki with them; Website is excellent with great photos; Order a la carte or try a 10 skewer set with 7 meats and 3 vegetables for $65/ person.    Have pork and duck as well. Try this experience once at least.  1 Michelin star!

 

Natsumi: Japanese/ Italian. 226 W 50th @ B-Way-8th; 24/19/$45; 258-2988; Japanese-Italian fusion but it works; King Crab dumplings; Fun scene at the bar/ lounge; Attentive service; Great date spot due to the scene; Spicy seafood soup; Tuna tartar martini; Crispy Calamari; Rock shrimp tempura; Full sushi bar with a huge number of selections; About 30+ types of rolls including special rolls; Cooked dishes;

 
Sushiden: Japanese. 123 W 49th @ 6th-7th Av; 25/17/$61; 398-2800; Endless menu of fresh sushi and cooked meals; Miso Soup with Lobster; Kind of a corporate setting; I love the large number and variety of sushi/ sashimi combinations; The better experience is for lunch; Only thing missing is lack of Special rolls – which I

love; Fairly priced as well.

 

Sushi of Gari: Japanese. 347 W 46th @ 8-9th; 27/15/$75; 957-0046; Melt in your mouth fresh sushi; Absolutely straight from the sea; Unique combos; Order ‘off-menu’; Omakase- $~75. Sushi is served as works of art; Can order a la carte as well. Meticulously presented sushi, exquisitely plated, and of the highest freshness and quality. Teriyaki, tempura and noodle dishes available as well.
 
Momoya: Japanese. 185 7th Av @ 21st; 22/20/$41; 989-4466; Simple, spacious setting; Unreal-fresh sushi; Extremely unique, tasty rolls; Menu features many cooked dishes and boxes as well; Great deal for the quality; Inventive & high quality all in one. Tons of sake available; This place is under the radar and one of the best mid-priced options in the genre.
 

Morimoto: Japanese. 88 10th Av @ 15-16th; 24/26/$75;  989-8883; Hot Sushi place; Trendy; Great décor; Date spot; Iron Chef’s Morimoto!! Much more expensive if you let chef choose (omakase). Just a cool scene all the way around. Has prepared dishes as well. High tech bathrooms; Rock shrimp tempura amazing; Just a cool, trendy spot to impress a date or out-of-towners. Enjoy the ride.

 

Sushi Samba: Japanese. 87 7th Av @ Barrow; 21/20/$46; 691-7885; Fancy, cool & trendy; Date Spot; Great food; Party atmosphere; Brazil inspired sushi joint; High energy; Fancy drinks; Great for groups. Bachelorette parties; You pay for the scene as much as the food. Food has gone down hill a bit but its still a fun weekend date spot. Rooftop in the summer.

 

 

Blue Ribbon Sushi: Japanese. 119 Sullivan @ Prince-Spring; 26/19/$58; 343-0404; Fresh Sushi, known for possibly the best Sashimi in Manhattan; Works of art; Mind blowingly good; So very fresh your order may swim to you. Cooked dishes outstanding as well. Make-it-yourself Miso soup. Only real downside is the cost, which is fairly substantial; Special rolls or Sushi/Sashimi Platters are way to go.
 
Tomoe Sushi: Japanese. 172 Thompson @ Bleecker-Houston; 26/8/$41; 777-9346; Affordable; Monster-sized, perfect sushi; Shoebox sized place, always with lines; Just off the boat fresh; Wondrous quality; Go off-peak hours. Tokyo feel; Quality rolls; Specialty- Sashimi – melts in your mouth. They do a wonderful job with the presentation of their food.
 
Sushi Azabu: Japanese. 428 Greenwich @ Laight; 25/21/$60; 274-0428; What a sleeper; On the ground floor is Japanese-Mediterranean fusion and downstairs is fresh from the Ocean sushi; They employ an attentive staff and the decor is relaxing and pleasant; Try the ‘Koi Course” with 10 pieces of sashimi to sample. Limited number of rolls; Better suited for those willing to try Omakase.
 
EN Japanese Brasserie: Japanese. 435 Hudson @ Leroy; 24/25/$59; 647-9196; Gorgeous interior- large and spacious; Tapas like small plates; Décor is outstanding and transporting- recreation of a Japanese home & pond; Sushi & more. Tons of Sake on menu; Extremely popular and great for big groups; Love the Sashimi small plates: 5 pieces for $22-25 and 15 for $39; Menu has a large mix of selections.
 
Nobu: Japanese. 105 Hudson @ Franklin; 27/23/$83; 219-0500; Celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa owned; Peruvian influence; Off the chart good. Ridiculously fresh sushi and fish/ seafood dishes; Fancy & Trendy; Celeb Hot Spot; Go to Nobu, Next Door for slightly cheaper / same food at same address. All locations, now all over the world, provide that over the top experience, sponsored by Robert DeNiro.
 
Bond Street: Japanese. 6 Bond (2nd St) @ Lafayette (NoHo); 25/23/$61; 777-2500; Stylish, sexy set-up; Trendy, unique sushi selections; Hip and popular; Cool downstairs lounge and this place features all-star level people watching; Impress a date; Not extremely roomy so reserve; Japanese small plates as well. Food wise, besides Sushi, the Chilean sea bass is outstanding as are the spicy crispy shrimps.
 
Jewel Bako: Japanese. 239 E 5th @ 2-3rd Av; 26/22/$55; 979-1012; Sushi so fresh it seems alive; Omakase is $52 or $95. A la carte – affordable. Considered the #1 sushi place downtown; Gorgeous bamboo setting; Epic good quality. Michelin 1-star; Chic setting lined with bamboo- though small; I suggest getting the Makimono Omakase (1 of each of the 9 large rolls) and the Selection of Sushi or Sashimi if you are a party of two- about $80 in total. Start with Miso!
 
Kyo Ya: Japanese. 94 E 7th St @ 1st Av – Av A; 27/24/$79; 982-4140; Undiscovered genius; Multi-course set meals; Sweet potato tempura; Every dish prepared with care; Features “Bozushi” – hand pressed sushi; Japanese small plates is the style; King Crab appetizer. 10 course tasting “kaiseki” menu ($120); Chilean Sea Bass perfect; Order a la carte and you can afford it; Perfect for a date.
 

Robataya: Japanese. 231 9th St @ 2nd-3rd Av; 23/24/$48; 979-9674; Popular, lively East Village hotspot; Food beautifully presented; Try sitting at the counter here & watch the chefs gril up your dinner; Mostly a small-plate format (small portions); Not a sushi restaurant; Grilled Long Island Duck; New Zealand lamb; There is a $48 Omakasa that is the way to go. Extremely unique place.

 
Soba-ya: Japanese. 229 E 9th @ 2-3rd Av; 23/17/$26; 533-6966; Soba noodle specialist; Array of broths; Relaxing atmosphere; Very inexpensive; The broth- the veggie stock is delicious. Soba isn’t my usual thing but this place is the best in the city for it. Also have Udon noodles and amazing Japanese ice cream. How about their 4 course $18 early bird Prix Fixe! 
 
Hasaki: Japanese. 210 9th @ 2-3rd; 23/14/$41; 473-3327; Has wonderful classic Japanese selections & sushi as well. Large menu; Tempura is great; No reservations. Focus is on the swimmingly fresh fish. Try the sushi and sashimi combo for two for $54- comes with their distinctive Miso soup and salad; Even have some Korean items on the menu; Yummy Shabu-Shabu.
 
Kajitsu: Japanese/Vegetarian. 414 E 9th St @ Av A – 1st Av; 27/24/$88; 228-4873; Michelin 2-star rated; They have a $55 5-course option and a $70 7-course option; Impeccable service; This is a vegetarian restaurant however, that carnivores love; Shojin cooking at its best; If you try vegetarian, go here.
 
Ippudo: Japanese. 65 4th Av @ 9-10th St; 25/21/$26; 388-0088; Home of perfect ramen noodles done many ways; Noodle heaven; Best not to venture from this menu item; Tranquil, serene setting; Cool décor. Long waits as it is extremely popular; Inexpensive goodness; 2,717 reviews on Yelp – most I’ve ever seen and 90% are 4 or 5 stars;
 
Momofuku Noodle Bar: Japanese. 171 1st Av @ 10-11th St; 24/15/$34; 777-7773; David Chang’s most affordable place (of his 4 restaurants); Always packed – the master does his genius on noodle soups & hall of fame pork buns. Small & hectic and the usual spartan décor; Cool date spot (if your back isn’t hurting);Enjoy a pork or shrimp bun – amazing; Also has Fried Chicken of all things on menu.
 
Kanoyama: Japanese. 175 2nd Av @ 11th St; 26/17/$53; 777-5266; Sushi lovers come here; Fresh amazing fish; Incredible bargain for a ‘26’; Friendly servers; Sushi served straight from the Japan Sea it seems; Bluefin Toro is notable. Rare varieties available; Cool sake bar recently added; Wildly popular with East Village hipsters; Go for the omakase; Massive menu – endless appetizers.

 

Japonica: Japanese. 100 University Pl (near 4th Av) @ 12th St; 24/16/$45; 243-7752; Excellent Sushi- crazy fresh & giant in size; Japanese classic dishes – tempura, dumplings. Favorite of NYU students. Fans rave over the sashimi; Energetic chefs and you will never walk out hungry. No Rez during peak hours; Been around since 1978 and going strong.

 

Momofuku Ssam Bar: Japanese. 207 2nd Av @ 13th St; 25/16/$48; 254-3500; www.momofuku.com; David Chang’s 3 star NY Times rated eatery; Awe inspiring pork buns and an incredible hog feast; Rotisserie duck for lunch M-F; Assorted country hams on menu; Kimchi, Sirloin steak, roasted lamb; Odd mix to the menu; Setting wise – very uncomfortable back-less wood benches. Country Hams, Grilled Mackeral. Duck dumplings.

 

15 East: Japanese. 15 E 15th @ 5th Av- Union Sq; 25/22/$79; 647-0015;Extremely high-end Japanese; Pricy but considered one of the top new places of 2008. Fresh beyond belief. Sushi/ Sashimi is outstanding; Try the exquisite Omakase; Also hot selections available; Very date friendly establishment; Authentic- closely reminding those in the know of Tokyo style sushi.

 

Mizu: Japanese. 29 E. 20th @ B-Way-Park; 23/16/$363; 505-6688; Incredible sushi; Young, hip; Creative menu featuring both classic rolls and unique combos; Younger crowd enjoying saki. Best thing I like about this place is they have about the largest list of sushi rolls/ special rolls (all affordable) I’ve seen; Also have cooked items, Teriyakki etc. Just a huge selection which I appreciate.

 

Mishima: Japanese. 164 Lex @ 30-31st; 23/13/$36; 532-9596; Sushi awesome here; Equally good cooked items; Peaceful, tranquil; Eat upstairs; Affordable costs close the deal. They have a huge menu though only about 10 special rolls; Try a dinner box: Miso soup & salad with 3 items of your choice and you choose from sushi, sashimi, tempura, rolls, teriyaki etc

 

Sushi Sen-nin: Japanese. 30 E 33rd @ Madison-Park; 24/19/$54; 889-2208; Fresh Fish, known for gorgeously prepared Special Rolls; Perfect for those preferring a la carte. Creative rolls that are delicious. Has a sushi bar, Yakitori bar; Make your own rolls options; Fairly priced overall. Critics say it’s hit or miss; I love the endless menu and overall fresh quality.
 
Koi: Japanese. Bryant Park Hotel. 40 W 40th @ 5-6th Av; 23/24/$65; 921-3330; The draw here is the sexy scene where celebs and fashionistas mingle; Glamorous feel – date friendly; Food wise: try the rock shrimp, crispy rice or spicy tuna; The large open space makes dinner so much fun; Locations in Vegas and LA; Very impressive cocktails; Only issue – quite expensive. I’d go for light, early ‘nibble’ fare.
 
Sakagura: Japanese. 211 E 43rd @ 2-3rd; 26/22/$54; 953-7253; Highly rated Sake Bar/Rest with 200+ kinds of Sake; Spacious and welcoming; Quality rivals Tokyo; Authentic Cuisine; Japanese small plates are the specialty, similar to Tapas; Just wildly popular and highly rated; Hard to find basement location in an office building; About 60 items on the menu including sushi/ sashimi selections. Unique in all ways.
 
Sushi Yasuda: Japanese. 204 E 43rd @ 2-3rd; 28/22/$78; 972-1001; Top 3 in Zagats for Sushi; Unique menu every day. Fish so fresh you’ll feel like you are dining under water; The best. Period. NY Times 3 stars; For $24 for lunch- sushi combo and you can choose the fish; Attentive service; Impeccable quality. Wildly popular on Yelp; Closed Sundays; Have some great prix fixe options.
 
Aburiya Kinnosuke: Japanese. 213 E 45th @ 2-3rd; 25/20/$50; 867-5454;Japanese Grill; Like being in Tokyo; Open Kitchen. Sushi-free dining. Meticulous attention to detail. Refreshing to have traditional grilled Japanese selections. Discount lunch specials; Eclectic Japanese. Well prepared plates; If you love tofu – best in the city. Seafood is top notch.
 
Hatsuhana: Japanese. 17 E 48th St @ 5thAv – Mad; 25/16/$54; 355-3345; One of the original sushi houses in NYC – 3 decades old; 9 section Bento Box of ‘Dreams’. Freshest sushi, sashimi and rolls. The menu is to die for: Boiled King Crab appetizer; Spicy Tempura; Lobster Tempura; About 30+ delicious appetizers in all; For dinner – the “Pick 10” for $37 where you pick 10 pieces of Sushi and 1 roll. Teriyaki dinners available; Largest overall menu of mouthwatering selections in the city.
 
SushiAnn: Japanese. 38 E 51st @ Madison-Park; 24/17/$63; 755-1780; Welcoming a mostly business crowd & great for lunch or after work on weekdays; High quality sushi and cooked dishes; Excellent service. Mostly traditional selections. Sashimi selections stand out – ultra fresh; Omakase and combination platters are worth the money.
 
Sushi Seki: Japanese. 1143 1st @ 62nd; 26/13/$65; 371-0238; Exceptional; High quality, ultra fresh sushi. Omakase much more $$ - about $100 a person; Local favorite. Nobody dislikes this place; Open til 3am; Off the chart quality. However – no website, very tight quarters, and portion size driven by your wallet at times; I suggest trying the sushi or sashimi deluxe.
 
Sushi of Gari: Japanese. 402 E 78th @ 1st-York; 27/15/$75; 517-5340; Melt in your mouth fresh sushi; Absolutely straight from the sea; Unique combos; Order ‘off-menu’; Omakase- $~75. Sushi is served as works of art; Can order a la carte as well. Meticulously presented sushi, exquisitely plated, and of the highest freshness and quality. Teriyaki, tempura and noodle dishes available as well.
 
Donguri: Japanese. 309 E 83rd @ 1-2nd; 27/15/$65; 737-5656; Small location (24 seats) but amazing food; No sushi, repeat, no sushi except for a sashimi platter; Japanese prepared meals. Service top notch; Specialize in soba and udon noodles. Melt in your mouth quality. Open Tues-Sunday for dinner;  Reservations highly suggested. Treat yourself to something different. Prepared Japanese food. Chilean Sea Bass.