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Japanese Cuisines

Morimoto Has Officially Entered the Ramen-Ya Fray

Neighborhood: , , | Featured in Ethnic Eats, First Bite, Restaurant

The owners of Chuko — considered by many to be Brooklyn’s best ramen restaurant — are quick to credit their mentor, Matsaharu Morimoto, for their expert noodle soups. But though ramen has remained a staple at every one of his eateries, scattered all across the country, the Iron Chef has never run a dedicated ramen-ya. Until now, that is…

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TEISUI Serves NYC’s First Yakitori Omakase

Neighborhood: , , | Featured in First Bite, Restaurant, Restaurant Spotting, Reviews

New York has its share of both posh and pricey omakase restaurants, as well as cool & casual Japanese izakayas, and they both tend to exist as totally disparate concepts. But Tempura Matsui blurred the borders last year, when it designed a $200 per person progression around fried and battered meats and veggies, and now TEISUI has done the same, making the grilled and skewered chicken known as yakitori…

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Bar Goto is a Lower East Side Go-To

Neighborhood: , | Featured in Drink Spotting, Restaurant

Kenta Goto is the latest star-tender to emerge from the Pegu Club, following in the footsteps of Phil Ward (Death & Co.), St. John Frizell (Fort Defiance), Del Pedro (Tooker Alley), and Jim Kearns (The Happiest Hour), to open his very own industry-approved speakeasy. Called Bar Goto, the Lower East Side spot hones in on his Japanese heritage with cocktails made with sake, shochu, alongside extensive selection of izakaya fare.

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A New Start for Neta

Neighborhood: , | Featured in First Bite, Restaurant Spotting

Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau helped make Neta a star in the city’s already stacked sushi circuit, bringing their staggeringly high-end restaurant experience (at Masa and Bar Masa, respectively) to bear. But when the pair departed last year, to open their own, equally elite kaiseki spot, Shuko, it left Neta in a potentially awkward position — should they stay the course with $50 morsels of caviar-dotted toro, without the firepower of their two sushi celebrities, or find a way to set themselves apart?

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O-Ya – Review

Neighborhood: , | Featured in First Bite, Hottest Newcomers, Reviews, RG's Favorites

I’ll be honest: I thought I would hate O-Ya. It gave me anxiety right from the start. I mean, it’s not everyday that you have to put a credit card down for a mere two-top reservation. (Not to mention the $100 per person fee if you cancel within 24 hours.) In fact, the cheapest ticket to entry at O-Ya is $185 for an 18-piece “sushi” omakase. And if you’re really hungry or a glutton, you can splurge on a 23-course meal for a whopping $245 per person…

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Inside Ramen Lab’s New Business Incubator

Neighborhood: , | Featured in Ethnic Eats, Gourmet Gossip, Sneak Peek

Instead of simply running a standard noodle-slurping counter, Sun Noodle recently decided to use their Ramen Lab space as a small business incubator as well. They’ve invited ramen chefs and fledgling restaurants from across the U.S., and even Japan, to take over the tiny kitchen for three weeks at a time, to refine their concepts, tweak their broths, and…

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Shuko – Review

Neighborhood: | Featured in Hottest Newcomers, Restaurant, Reviews, RG's Favorites

The thing about Shuko is that it’s strangely not easy to find online. If you google this new, sushi joint in the East Village, a fashion site by the name of Shuku New York comes up for the bulk of the first page, which makes you wonder exactly how it ever became the hottest restaurant in town. And the fact that they have just 20 precious seats along the sushi bar (and a few tables for two) doesn’t help matters much…

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Korean Stew Meets Japanese Ramen at Chelsea Market’s Mokbar

Neighborhood: | Featured in Ethnic Eats, Restaurant Spotting

Lately, Korean cuisine seems poised and ready to jockey ramen for culinary supremacy, with newer spots, like Hanjan and Piora, exposing diners to creative, beyond K-Town fare. At Chelsea Market’s Mokbar, chef-owner Esther Choi has managed to brilliantly straddle both trends —using springy Sun Noodles as a canvas, to showcase otherwise traditional Korean flavors and dishes. Choi’s clever fusion starts with…

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Zuma – First Bite

Neighborhood: | Featured in First Bite, Hottest Newcomers, Restaurant, Reviews

New York is an intimidating place to open a restaurant… to say the least. Even the most celebrated chefs in the world hesitate before dropping a restaurant in Manhattan. And many never dare. So it’s a big deal when a successful chain decides to open up shop on New York turf. Such is the case with Zuma, which just opened its ninth outpost on Madison Avenue near 38th Street…

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Restaurant Spotting: Bara

Neighborhood: | Featured in First Bite, First Bite, Hottest Newcomers, Restaurant, Reviews

The East Village is arguably New York’s top dining destination right now, with more than its share of noteworthy newcomers (Tuome, Huertas, King Bee, GG’s, Bowery Meat Company, Root and Bone, & Empellon al Pastor), and just as many seminal institutions, like Russ & Daughters, Prune, & Momofuku Noodle Bar. But the restaurant we’re most excited about hasn’t made anyone’s “hot” list yet, which means you can actually still snag a prime time table…

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More than Just Noodles at Ivan Ramen

Neighborhood: | Featured in Dish Spotting, Hottest Newcomers, Restaurant Spotting

There may be more ramen restaurants than you can shake a chopstick at in New York nowadays, but that didn’t keep residents from eagerly anticipating the heralded debut of Ivan Ramen on the Lower East Side, which finally opened in May. Owned by native New Yorker, who catapulted to fame in Tokyo after opening two wildly successful and respected ramen-yas (an unprecedented accomplishment for a foreigner), Ivan Ramen launched his first stand-alone venture back in the States…

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Aida

Neighborhood: , | Featured in City Guides, Restaurant

Sick of eating French food in France? Hey, it happens.  Though it’s an exemplary cuisine, it’s also a decadent one, and sometimes you just need a break, which is what compelled my husband and I to take a night off and eat Japanese.  Before you get too excited, I should warn you that most Japanese in Paris aren’t great.   In fact, the sushi is downright mediocre.  But there are a few, fantastic exceptions and Aida is most definitely one of them.  (Thus, all the Japanese guests in the dining room.) That’s because the chef and owner, Koji Aida, came to Paris straight from the countryside of Japan.  And after an hour inside this serene oasis in the 7th arrondissement, you may forget your in France entirely.  Both the food and the space is traditional teppanyaki with only chef...

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Kiss Sushi

Neighborhood: | Featured in City Guides

There are only twelve seats at this jewel box of a sushi spot in San Francisco.   If you’re a purist about your sushi, you’ll love Kiss Seafood.  (If you’re not and you love inventive sauces or creative combinations, eat elsewhere.) It’s run by a husband-and-wife team and open only four days a week, which further makes it feel like you’ve just been invited into their notably zen dining room for dinner. There’s a solid sake selection and some seriously fresh fish.  The chef specializes in a series of cooked dishes, like fish ball soup or steamed sea urchin with tofu sauce, sashimi, sushi, and various levels of omakase.  I recommend the chef’s omakase, which includes a mix of cooked dishes, sashimi and sushi.   On the night we were there, the omakase included a trio of raw fish preparations,...

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New York Sushi Ko – Reviewed

Neighborhood: | Featured in Hottest Newcomers, Restaurant, Reviews

By now, you’ve probably heard about New York Sushi Ko. (Or not.) It’s part of the new order of sushi joints popping up around New York City (hurray!). And by new order, I mean hip, laidback, and excellent. Let’s face it: Most sushi temples (the great ones anyway) evoke solemn dining experiences, like eating in church, speaking in hushed whispers, careful not to disturb or annoy the chef behind the sushi counter. And I won’t even get into it that Los Angeles has always trumped New York in the sushi department…

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Q & A with New York Sushi Ko’s John Daley

Neighborhood: | Featured in Chef Q&A

New York Sushi Ko’s John Daley doesn’t exactly fit the expected mold of Sushi Chef. His bare arms are covered by a riot of tattoos, with the words “FISH” and “RICE” emblazoned across his knuckles. He plays reggae music over the restaurant’s sound system, and is known for muttering expletives (sometimes playfully, sometimes not) at his sous chefs. Oh, and he’s caucasian.

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Zenkichi

Neighborhood: | Featured in Best Of

There’s nothing that adds more to the romance of Valentine’s Day than a sexy atmosphere.  While it might be just a restaurant, dining at Zenkichi, a sexy izakaya in Brooklyn, is a Bond-like experience.   You’ll happen on a corner with an unmarked building in Williamsburg.  Slip inside and down the stairs and suddenly you’re in Japan (well almost).  There’s rocks on the floor, bamboo trim, and trickling water in the background to set the mood.  Oh, and each booth has a privacy curtains. Every time the server enters they have to ring a bell. Sound sexy? Damn right.   Start with a seasonal sake from their impressive selection and an order of  the Salmon with its own Roe, Lamb Chop Tataki with ginger onion soy sauce and Sweet Duck Salad with soft egg and baby greens.  For dessert,...

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Ippudo’s Spicy Pork Ramen

Neighborhood: | Featured in Best Of

In Japan,Ippudo is a dime a dozen. But in New York, this Japanese brasserie is a rare gem. It boasts some of the most innovative ramen dishes in the city, with a dinner menu featuring six different types of ramen bowls with seven varieties of toppings. With lines out the door almost every night, it’s no surprise that their ramen is some of the best in all of Manhattan.

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What I’m Loving – Yopparai

Neighborhood: | Featured in First Bite, Reviews

It’s not easy to surprise me with a great, new restaurant that’s not really new at all.  It makes me feel like I’ve failed as a food writer and restaurant chaser.  How did I miss the memo about Yopparai?  Seriously. I suggested we go for Japanese to a friend who responded, “I just went to a great spot on the Lower East Side.”   When I neared the entrance, I realized I’d been to the same address for sushi just a year before when it was Sushi Uo, an oddball sushi spot that sadly didn’t last long.  I buzzed the same mysterious buzzer, then passed through a door into a railroad-style apartment building where the restaurant occupies a long, narrow space on the ground floor.  There’s a long wood sushi bar with cozy, cushioned seating, several two-tops along the wall,...

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What I’m Loving – Ootoya

Neighborhood: | Featured in Reviews

I had nearly given up on eating at the new Japanese izakaya Ootoya in Gramercy.  Every time I tried to stop in for dinner I’d stumble into a fleet of hopeful diners surrounding the hostess stand and come up against an hour or two wait for a table.  Having become very impatient in my old age, I’d sulk near the bar for ten minutes, then head to nearby 15 East or another Japanese joint.  I’d all but given up, but I thought I’d do one last drive-by on the evening of the recent Noreaster.  The room was still buzzing and the eating counter packed, but the snowfall had scared off a few diners, so there was one two-top left in the house.  The counter seats and main dining room were all taken, but I was happy to be indoors, gifted a cup of...

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Morimoto

Neighborhood: | Featured in Best Of

There’s tuna tartare and then there’s Morimoto’s version. Considering his love for luxury ingredients, we should’ve expected something decadent, but this Toro Tuna Tartare takes the cake. It’s extravagant, expensive, and worth every penny.

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