a couple of Japanese spots…
Haven’t written in a while, so I have a bit of backlog to catch up on…
175 2nd Ave (at 11th)
We arrived for dinner on a Friday at quarter to eight. The wait was about 20 min or so. Place was quite packed, but we found little alcove to duck into and preview the menu. I liked what they had done with the interior, with a huge tree-like centerpiece in the middle of the room. We ended up taking a pair of seats at the sushi bar and ordering the mini-tasting appetizer. It was served on a bed of crushed ice with thinly sliced key limes: oyster, tuna sashimi, and sweet shrimp. Very tasty. I had actually never had sweet shrimp before (and it turns out they actually are sweet…) I was quite impressed with the presentation. When it came to the main course (we ordered the sushi for two), the plating was a bit less exciting, but still decent looking. I found the fish to be fresh tasting. And I didn’t hate the spanish mackerel like I usually do (not sure if this is due to freshness or what). My favorite sushi is just plain old boring tuna, and I was pleased to find four nigiri worth. Also, the rolls provided weren’t the usual minimalist variety, I think there was some eel/avocado thrown in there. There also seemed to be some actual Japanese people sitting next to us at the bar, always a good sign…
251 W 55th St. (at 8th Ave)
What’s the story with bowls of salt on floor in Japanese restaurants? Anyway, we went as a party of three and ordered a couple of appetizers, some sashimi, and a whole bunch of different skewered meats. The tuna sashimi (maguro zuke) in garlic soy sauce was awesome, definitely recommended. As far as the meats go, I was a little bummed that they had 86ed the chicken hearts (just for the novelty..) but many of the other choices were good: chicken meatball & green pepper, kobe beef tongue, etc. Too bad they didn’t have any more conventional cuts of kobe beef on the menu. Was kind of confused by that.. Nice experience, but the place wasn’t a mind blower.