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Category: Japanese

East Japanese

Multiple locations throughout the city; a conveyor belt sushi outpost also exists at the Palisades Mall in Nyack.

What We Had

We have visited the conveyor belt sushi spot in Nyack, the karaoke/conveyor belt spot on 3rd, and the Shabu location in Midtown.

The sushi is always good. Nicely seasoned rice with a solid array of nigiri options. This is my DH’s favorite mid-priced no-fuss place to go for sushi – and if you hit a conveyor belt place, the novelty makes it fun.

The Shabu location is tasty – it’s fondue-style service, so everything is cook-your-own. Makes for a fun night out.

Décor

Generally tastefully done. The conveyor belt sushi location in a mall is bright and white, the Shabu location is sedate and wood-toned.

Service

Always adequate.

Overall Impressions

We frequent East Japanese – most often the sushi locations. If we’re in a neighborhood with unfamiliar food options that also happens to hold an East, we choose East, because thus far it has always been a good bet.

Rating

4 out of 5 for an always good time and always tasty food.

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Shabu Shabu

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Conveyor belt sushi.

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Yamato

Sushi in Park Slope.

What We Had

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Amuse of a sweet and nutty black seaweed salad and rich spicy tuna

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Omikase sushi – 12 pc. sushi + a roll – really good sushi – a nice mix of fatty vs lean fishes and a standout salmony roll. The rice was well seasoned but got gluey as the meal progressed. I did find a pinbone in my salmon, but it was still very good.

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Pan fried pork potstickers – not bad. Nutty, with some effort at seasoning.

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Lobster & spinach dumplings – really great flavor, nicely cooked lobster.

Decor

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Minimal with clean lines and nice fixtures.

Service

Ok.

Overall Impressions

A nice little dinner spot, despite the small bony misstep.

Rating

4 for great food in a nice atmosphere.

Kiku Japanese Bistro

Sushi & other fare in Park Slope.

What We Had

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We both ordered the Sushi Dinner – 9 pieces of assorted sushi with a tuna avocado roll

Nicely seasoned if a bit stiff rice,
good quality fish on the sushi, and the tuna boat looking piece had nice little crunchies for a change of pace. The roll was simple but good with sesame seeds for an extra pop.

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As always, we had to get dumplings. Pork Gyoza was the dumpling of choice – The gyoza had vice seasoning, with a melt in your mouth wrapper and just a touch of crunch.

Somehow, we also ended up with vanilla ice cream and oranges at the end if the meal. Fabulous, and a welcome treat we didn’t even know we wanted.

Decor

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Clean, modern, and low lit.

Service

Stellar. Attentive and efficient.

Overall Impressions

A nice little sushi spot and a great option for dinner in the neighborhood.

Rating

4.5 out of 5 for solid sushi and a pleasant atmosphere (minus the smooth jazz. They almost lost a quarter of a point for that).

Ten Japanese Cuisine

Sushi and dishes in Park Slope.

What We Had

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Sushi & Sashimi For Two

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Wasabi Pork Shumai – These were sinus clearing but tasty.

The sushi was really fresh, good quality, good variety and a nice roll. The raw shrimp sushi was on the challenging side.

Decor

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Modern black & white with pops of red.

Service

Not bad. Efficient.

Overall Impressions

Ako in Williamsburg is better, but this is closer. We base this not on the fish quality, which is superb at both places, but on the rice temperature and seasoning. Ako’s is better, therefore has to be our more favorite sushi spot.

Rating

DH says 3.5 out of 5 because the rice was nothing special, but I’m bumping it up to 3.75 because there was nothing wrong with the food and we will go there again.

Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ

Japanese cook-your-own BBQ joint off of 44th st. near Times Square.

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What We Had

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We split an order of the Fried Shrimp Dumplings, which were nice, with a solid general Chinese dumpling flavor profile freshened up a bit. A little grease hit, but with 4 to an order, not to an unpleasant degree.

We then went for some ala carte items. Gyu-Kaku has a number of lunch and dinner pre-selected combo items, which all looked great, but we wanted a little from this combo & a little from that and decided to go it alone.

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All items were a few ounces each of wafer thin meat and all cooking was done on the grill in the middle of our table.

Bistro Harami Hanger Steak – A pleasant teriyaki steak

Gyu-tan Beef Tongue – Not unpleasantly chewy and incredibly beefy – it felt like we were eating much more than a few slices because of the texture and deep flavor

Yakishabu – This was another teriyaki dish

Toro Beef – Fatty and delicious; almost like cow belly

Rosu – My DH and I can’t decide if this or the Kalbi was our favorite. The Rosu was tender, steak-y, and hearty

Chuck Kalbi – After consideration, my DH is leaning toward this being our favorite. This dish was also tender and beefy, but with just a little more somethin’ somethin’

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We both added the lunch set (soup, salad & rice) for $3.

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Great little salad – nice greens, interesting dressing with shoyu base

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One of the best examples of miso soup either of us have ever had – The broth had an excellent balance with minimal grit; the tofu was silky and the scallions were plentiful.

Decor

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Modern, clean lines.

Service

Friendly.

Overall Impressions

A great place to take a date or group of friends. A fun and tasty dining experience.

Rating

4 out of 5. If you’re near Times Square, this is a solid choice for lunch or dinner.

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Ippudo

Ramen hot spot near NYU

What We Had

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I had the Kasane Black – Authentic Kasane Tonkotsu (pork) noodles topped w pork loin chashu, cabbage, sesame kikurage mushrooms, red pickled ginger, naruto, scallions & fragrant black garlic oil. I added Nitamago (seasoned salt boiled egg). This dish was fabulous. The taste was delicate, deep, and robust all at the same time. I ate every bit, drank all the broth, and was sad I had no more room for Kae-dama (a second helping of noodles). My egg was a nice touch, and no added spice was needed – the black garlic was too interesting a flavor to risk drowning it. Get anything on the menu with the sesame kikurage mushrooms – they are lovely little flavor bombs.

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My DH had the Miso Ramen –
Soy bean paste flavored noodles in the original “Tonkotsu” (pork) based soup with pork chashu, cabbage, menma, ginger, and scallions. He also added Nitamago (seasoned salt boiled egg) and Bakudan (Ippudo original spicy paste). This dish was also fabulous. Rich, deep, complex & wholly satisfying. The spice was a nice addition here – that paste is really a standout in the world of spice additions.

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We split the Hirata Buns (pork) – Steamed buns with pork & spicy mayo bun sauce. A great way to start the meal, but Momofuku’s are just a bit better.

Overall our meal was near perfect – not a note missed or a taste out of whack. Words are falling short when describing just how good the broth here is. Pure comfort – rich, deeply complex, delicately balanced – a balm for the soul. For the expertise used in preparing your food, the price is beyond fair. ($15-$16 per bowl + $2-$4 per addition). Sure, you can get a decent bowl of noodles for half the price, but this is something better. Whole. Other. Level.

Décor

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Ippudo has a great vibe – young, boisterous, open – and the Beasties (among other great bands) in the sound system.

Seating is at large communal tables – not the place to bring small children or strollers. The decor is modern and minimal, yet layered and very interesting.

Service

Friendly & efficient.

Overall Impressions

This place is hands down better than Republic, and might even edge out Momofuku Noodle Bar in the pantheon of noodle houses. (ok, it does, but just by a little)

If we lived next door, my DH would happily let it make us fat (and I don’t think I could put up much of a fight).

Rating

DH is calling this his best NY meal ever. This includes WD~50, local & seasonal up the wazoo, celebrity chef vehicles, Beard Award winners and noodles from culinary luminaries.

I would say for noodles it is the best – I just can’t put it over WD~50s Eggs Benedict — I dreamed of that dish for over a year and half and planned a vacation around it before we lived here (it lived up to expectations and then some — unfortunately, WD~50 has overhauled their menu since — understandable, but sad).

Ippudo can’t help but be a 5 out of 5. Run, don’t walk. Wait in a ridiculously long line if you have to (and you might – lines are often crazy, though we lucked into a 15 minute wait on a Sunday late afternoon)- it is worth it.

Fuji Hana

Glatt kosher Japanese restaurant serving things like rack of lamb teriyaki, ribeye steak and burgers alongside Japanese and Chinese dishes on Avenue U in Gravesend (blocks from the F).

 

What We Had


My DH and I split the Fancy Roll (pepper kinda cooked tuna and cucumber with spicy tuna, large globes of salmon roe and ikura crunchies on top). This wrap was so-so. Not horrible, not great, and not terribly memorable. Not particularly expertly rolled, either.

 

My DH had a whopping huge cauldron of Chicken Ramen (chicken, vegetables and yellow ramen in chicken broth). This dish was bland, and boiled chicken is better served to sick pooches, but according to my DH it was not the worst thing he’d ever eaten. This dish could have been great, too. Some depth to the broth from kombu or bonito would have put it over the edge. Also, some spice and egg yolk (and non-boiled chicken!).

 

I had a huge plate of Chicken Yakiudon (sautéed flat noodles with chicken and vegetables). Yay. My favorite. Boiled chicken. What? does being Kosher preclude one from using seasoning? This dish was also very bland, but the noodles at least weren’t covered in goopy sauce. They also had that pleasant taste only achievable with a burning hot wok. With a little work and some depth, this dish could also have been great. A little miso, a little acid, spice, and all would have been delicious. I could have maybe (maybe) even forgiven the rubbery, joyless chicken.

Both meals came with a house iceberg lettuce salad with carrot slivers, a slice of cucumber and a few nice grape tomatoes. The dressings were interesting – a light ginger dressing with almost a mango chutney taste in the background and a green herby dressing that tasted almost exactly like the mint chutney served at Indian restaurants in salad dressing form.

 

Decor

Kind of like a place time forgot back in the 70s or 80s. Lots of formica, long white tablecloths, pink, and some very interesting wall coverings.

 

Service

Terrible. our server sucked and was much more interested in checking his phone than waiting on us. I think he gave up after we received our meals; other servers checked on us, got the to-go boxes and brought the check. Meanwhile, our server was sucked into the depths of the Internet.

 

Overall Impressions

I think this place stays in business since it is Kosher and the only place to have a sit-down dinner for blocks in the middle of a residential area. Prices were about $20 per entree and $15 per “fancy” roll; portions were easily large enough to serve 2, especially of the ramen. That was seriously served in some sort of small-ish cooking vessel. This was a blind pick out of convenience, and in hindsight not the best choice for the first sit-down meal in our new neighborhood.
Rating

2 1/2 out of 5 – we won’t be in a hurry to go back. We prefer taste in our food.