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87 Very Good

Elegant, traditional open-kitchen Japanese dining from a Nobu vet.

414 E. 9th St., New York, NY, 10009


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The lowdown

Chef Toshio Tomita spent nearly two decades with the Nobu empire before branching out on his own in summer 2013, but you won’t find miso-glazed black cod or a scene-y vibe at this unassuming spot situated a few steps below street level. You’re coming to Cagen instead for a serious, nearly meditative experience with traditional kappo ryori–style dining, which means the best seats in the house are at the blond-wood chef’s counter, where you can get a front-row look at chef Tomita or one of his acolytes presiding over every course. Selections from the 18-course omakase menu are flown in from Japan each day, like a recent flash-fried soft-shell crab atop a delicate tangle of yuzu-pickled red onions or a firm grilled sea bream.

What you need to know

Recommended Dishes18-piece omakase.

DrinksSake/Soju, Beer and Wine

Noise LevelHushed