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Best Small Japanese

  • Aburiya Kinnosuke

    213 E. 45th St., 212-867-5454

    If you’re weary, like we are, of the kind of massive, hyperglitzy, big-box Japanese joints popping up all over town, we have a suggestion. Bow through the modest entrance of Aburiya Kinnosuke, in midtown, and take a seat at the bar. You will notice many people (all of them Japanese) sipping tall shochu cocktails, flavored with fresh lime or grapefruit juice, which you squeeze yourself. Order one of those. Then order the specialty of the house, a kind of mashed chicken meatball, slow grilled, in the traditional “robata” style, on a long wooden paddle, and served with a single cool half-boiled egg. There are silky varieties of tofu too, and for dessert an impossibly smooth form of sesame pudding tinged with honey and mint. The place seats 50, not 500, and in quality, tone, and general authenticity it is to the latest souped-up version of Nobu what Peter Luger is to Outback Steakhouse.

From the 2006 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine