Sun-Mon, 11:30am-11pm; Tue-Sat, 11:30am-midnight
6 at 77th St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
61st St. to 91st St., FDR Dr. to Fifth Ave.
These chic sushi spots, owned by Godzilla-sized Japanese restaurant conglomerate Benihana, Inc., bring trendy sushi stylings (oversized pieces, “creative” combinations) and Asian fusion dishes to the mass-market in highly designed spaces. While many are strategically situated for two-saketini lunches and happy hour crowds, all offer a dramatic, contempo-oriental setting. The bi-level Wall Street branch, housed in the former Cocoa Exchange, is probably the most striking (though the Third Avenue location was recently renovated), with its marble floors, tall columns and beaded fish mobiles suspended from the high ceilings. The food may offend purists of Japanese cuisine, however. The wrappers of the king crab dumplings are unacceptably tough and the quality of sushi and sashimi is a far cry from Tokyo’s Tsukiji market. But they do offer rice-free “sashimi cucumber rolls” and have the ubiquitous miso black cod down pat, with a thick slab of fresh-tasting fish in a satisfyingly salty, buttery sauce. Desserts include the popular tempura cheesecake and mochi dumplings stuffed with ice cream.
Black cod miso, $16.50