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Chef Yasuda is leaving Sushi Yasuda

Yasuda-san is well known as a mean son-of-a-bitch who abuses his staff and speaks rudely about his customers. That's one of the reasons why you don't see many Japanese there -- they can't stand to hear him abusing people, in Japanese, while this floats by all of the non-Japanese speakers in the restaurant. Imagine sitting in a restaurant where the owner is constantly brow-beating his staff. Would you want to dine there? Besides, he is pedantic and his technique and service is vastly overrated.

Dec 31, 2010
Wa Shoku in Manhattan

What Foods Would You Miss Most If You Were Banished from New York?

Japanese food! The range and quality of Japanese restaurants that have sprung up in NYC over the past 5-10 years is second (a distant second) only to Japan. The only exception might be Seoul.

Dec 28, 2010
Wa Shoku in Features

Japanese Foodie Vacation 2010

I agree with Silverjay's assessment. However, I've found Kanoyama to be surprisingly good, especially for a low-key downtown place. I only sit at the sushi bar, and order piece by piece, knowing what is in season. The chef takes pride in having Japanese fish available, some hard to find in the best midtown places, Yasuda among them. This will set you back $150 per person, so if you're not prepared to invest, this may not be the place for you.

I have been to Masa, and was horrified at the experience. Masa himself was our chef -- I asked to be seated with him at the bar. My wife and I noticed the warning signs with the poorly trained staff and mispronunciations of simple Japanese words and city names.

Masa himself was surly and his creations uninspiring. While maintaining a polite quiet during the meal, we did sparingly attempt to connect with him (in Japanese), even recognizing the maker of his beautiful sushi knife (a well-known place I have patronized in Kyoto). All of this to no avail. Perfunctory sushi at very silly prices: the bill for two with beer and sake was $1400.00! (yes you read that correctly)

We decided we will fly to Tokyo (where we lived for a number of years)for the real thing with more engaging and proud chefs before returning to Masa.

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Kanoyama
175 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

Masa
10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

May 08, 2010
Wa Shoku in Manhattan

Lansing Michigan

Can anyone remember the name of the great place for chili back in the late '70's or '80's -- they offered it in increasing levels of heat. Good hearty chili with chunks of stew beef, not ground.... a long time ago! Still cooking?

Mar 28, 2009
Wa Shoku in Great Lakes

Best nama dofu in NYC?

Where is the best fresh Japanese style tofu in the city? I've tried En Brasserie, but that's no good. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Dec 29, 2008
Wa Shoku in Manhattan

need a japanese restaurant -sushi and cooked food- for my bday dinner

Omen on Thompson St, The best. Aburriya Kinosuke. Sakagura. Not fancy, but very good and consistent: Sobaya. Sugiyama for kaiseki, or Kai on Madison and 68th.

Sep 01, 2008
Wa Shoku in Manhattan

Bouley a mess right now?

Since moving from the original location on Duane Street years ago (now Scalini Fedeli's spot), Bouley has been off-key. I've tried and have had mediocre or just weird food (fish with vanilla flavoring in the sauce???) and amateurish service. They take for granted that everyone will think their food is a slam-dunk wonder. It's not -- it's vastly overrated and the lack of properly trained staff (which extends to the bakery across the street) is inexcusable.

Sep 01, 2008
Wa Shoku in Manhattan

Quintessential New York restaurants for that NY experience

Keen's Chop House -- with history to spare, unlike any place in any other city. From the vintage posters to the ceiling full of notables' clay pipes (Babe Ruth among them), this is a unique experience.
Sammy's Roumanian on Chrystie St., a fire trap of a basement restaurant, where every evening is like a bar mitzvah celebration, serving Jewish-style soul food (not Kosher).
Gramercy Tavern is just a great place...but I would also suggest 11 Madison Park, which is a stunning space with 40 foot ceilings in a 1920's/30's era building. Great service, terrific martinis, great wine list.
Food is not great but the Rainbow Grill for the decor and views is unparalleled.
Veselka on 2nd Ave and 9th for great breakfasts, open 24 hours. More touristy than it used to be, but still a scene.
Golden Unicorn on East Broadway for a realistic Chinese dim-sum meal; not fancy but in a ballroom like setting (seen better days). Food may be too realistic if you're not open to that -- some funky home cooking, good selection of dumplings on circulating carts.
Restaurant Daniel or Le Bernardin for best of the tops -- elegant and charming rooms, terrific dining.
Sakagura on E 43rd between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. More Tokyo than NY, but a unique experience that is like Tokyo in location (office building basement) and selection.

Sep 01, 2008
Wa Shoku in Manhattan

Best Chinese food in Union Square, Gramercy?

My favorite placed closed after 25 years and now I have to search for a new reliable place. Any suggestions?

Sep 01, 2008
Wa Shoku in Manhattan

Ippudo review

Per above, Menkui-tei on Third Avenue between St Marks and & 7th has good hiyashi-chuka; the Mechanko-tei locations also offer good versions. Rai Rai Ken on E10th St has the Americanized version. Other places? Sapporo on W 49th St -- that old ramen pioneer.

Menchanko-tei has pretty good oden, btw.

Jul 06, 2008
Wa Shoku in Manhattan

Ippudo review

Peace! : )
I agree that these chains coming to NY is a good thing, and has raised the level of ramen offerings. My point is that the superlatives over Ippudo are justified based on a lower bar. I think Ippudo is fairly, not very good, for all the reasons mentioned above.

Jul 06, 2008
Wa Shoku in Manhattan

Ippudo review

Any authentic ramen place would serve ramen only. No self-respecting soba place, similarly, would sell ramen. To foreigners, they're noodles, so the same. These places stay pure in Japan, since it takes great expertise to get it right -- even if it's considered fast food. Of course there are exceptions, such as the stand-up only slurp-and-sprint soba places in train stations. To Japanese, one is Chinese (even the name ramen is often spelled using katakana, which is the Japanese "alphabet" for foreign words), and fast food; the other is Japanese, and hand made, more subtle. A soba restaurant and a ramen restaurant are very different in appearance and menus. Having said that, ramen places often serve hiyashi-chuka in the summer months, which literally means cold Chinese (style noodles). I don't know if Ippudo offers this, but places such as Rai Rai Ken does (although bastardized with Americanized ingredients), as does Menchanko-tei (2 midtown locations, east and west) and Menkui-tei (on Third between St Marks and 7th Sts, also W56th St). These last 2 offer the traditional versions: cold ramen in a cold dashi/miso broth, with sliced cucumbers, chicken, ham, egg omelet, scallions and pickled red ginger. Great.

Jun 25, 2008
Wa Shoku in Manhattan

Ippudo review

Among the tonkotsu-style places in Tokyo, Ippudo is only average. What is described as rich in these reviews is actually much less rich than what you would find in a very good Kyushu (tonkotsu)-style place. Don't get me wrong -- I still like it and keep hoping for true Tokyo/Japan-style ramen in NY; it just hasn't happened yet. The big chains that have come into NYC are like the big chains we've exported there. Would you say that Sbarro is a good indication of NY's top pizza? So we're getting closer, better, but still middle of the road. That Ippudo NY (and I have been to their Roppongi and Ebisu locations) does not offer gyoza or beni shoga (red pickled ginger) as they do and must in Tokyo, is inexcusable! This would be like serving hot dogs without an option for mustard or sauerkraut, or burgers without fries. When I asked why these were not served, for gyoza, they said it takes too long and is too messy and smokey; for ginger they just apologized, knowing this was an omission. As for prices, they're not bad -- it's what I would expect. What's weird about the American way of eating ramen is that people linger as if this is a full, leisurely meal. In Japan, ramen is like fast food, fast Chinese food (Chinese --yes, Japanese consider this a version of Chinese food). You're in, you're out in 15 minutes. Even then, you can pay $15-$17 for a bowl of ramen --- but man, is it worth it!
Let's hope for one of the better places to come to NYC, soon.

Jun 25, 2008
Wa Shoku in Manhattan

Disappointing Bialy at Kossar's?

Unlike a bagel, a bialy is inedible if not toasted. Go and toast, and see that Kossar's is still the best. And don't forget the butter.
As far as bagels go, it's a sad story in ManhattAn (no E!). Some exceptions: Bagel Bob's on University Place, where they make them in the back, with a soft crunch outside and chewy inside. Tal Bagels on 1st Ave in the east 50's offers the same. Neither is zeppelin-sized, as a true bagel would be. Monstrous bagels, and croissants too for that matter, are a sure sign of poor quality.

Aug 06, 2007
Wa Shoku in Manhattan

Frozen yogurt/gelato/ice cream around Tribeca?

Forgot to mention the Soda Shop, on Chambers near West Broadway, where Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory used to be. Best bet of all.

Aug 06, 2007
Wa Shoku in Manhattan

Where can I get geoduck?

Geoduck is also known as giant clam, or mirugai, in Japanese cuisine. You can get raw mirugai at Katagiri on E59th St, or at Mitsuwa in Edgewater, NJ -- a large Japanese grocery store.

Aug 06, 2007
Wa Shoku in Manhattan

Frozen yogurt/gelato/ice cream around Tribeca?

Bazzini on Jay St and Greenwich used to have a soda fountain and ice cream. Haven't been there in months so not sure anymore, but that used to be the best local bet.

Aug 06, 2007
Wa Shoku in Manhattan

Dessert in E. Vill?

Veniero's has lost it's charm and compunction to stay clean. Better choice with real old world charm is DiRoberti's across the street ...1st Avenue between 9th and 10th(?). Better service, pastries, cookies and same old tile floor and tin ceiling since it opened.

Aug 06, 2007
Wa Shoku in Manhattan