1 at 66th St.-Lincoln Center
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
60th St. to 80th St., Central Park West to Riverside Dr.
If the measure of a diner is its bottomless cup, the yardstick for Japanese food is miso soup, and Dan’s is understated and terrific, with soft tofu chunks and strips of nori in an opaque, miso-rich broth. Like that soup, there’s little pretense here, nothing shiny or high-style. Still, Dan’s expansive, home-kitchen menu has sustained its patrons for more than a quarter of a century. Sushi and sashimi from the tiny corner bar are sweet and clean; potentially overstrong mackerel tastes only of fins and sea. Tall slabs of burled maple—man-sized tree slices with undulating edges—set off the crowded room’s two-dozen tables; wooden ceiling beams offset traditional Japanese geometrics and ceramic masks. The kitchen in back is plenty busy, churning out platters of lacy tempura—ethereal kale leaves, with a tangle of savory, thin-sliced onions and carrots that crunch and melt in one bite—and sizzling, square cast-iron pans of sygogayaki. Whether you find yourself near the octogenarian lovebirds, girls with magenta hair, or Japanese friends chatting over their donburi, you won’t leave the table hungry.Recommended Dishes
Chirashi sushi, $19.95