Address: 175 2nd Ave. (11th & 12th St.)
Review: Situated in the East Village, Kanoyama offers an array of both food and sake options. During the week they do take reservations, but Friday and Saturdays are walkins only which can lead to a lengthy wait at times, though the selection and freshness generally rewards those who have the patience. Kanoyama has often tough to find, off the run varieties of fish, great fresh daily specials and a great selection of seasonal oysters as well. With options to grab a table or sit at the sushi bar; a la carte or omakase (chef’s choice), it’s the quality and selection that keeps people coming back for more. Though the space is a bit tight and the bills are not cheap; its a great option for a nicer date spot with a wide array of sushi, sake and oysters to keep your palate entertained for the night.
Address: 249 E. 49th St. (2nd & 3rd Ave.)
Review: Speakeasies seem to be the hot new trend for bars these days so why should food not follow suit? This speakeasy-ish noodle joint is only open after 11 pm and does not take reservations or credit cards. Sidle up to the bar in this “closed” Japanese restaurant (called SEO during dinner hours) and feel as though you just got off a day long plane trip to the far East. In no time we were chomping down on succulent pork and tasty noodles. It’s a great place to end a long night out without that neon sign outside advertising $1 slices or some other greasy cooked slab of meat. The food is absolutely delicious and the service was friendly and fast, though there is definitely a language barrier. If your date has lasted long enough to warrant a midnight snack, this could be your best bet before calling it a successful night out.
Address: 141 E. 47th St. (Lexington & 3rd Ave.)
Review: Tsushima is a great spot for sushi in Midtown if you want something nice but don’t feel like spending this month’s rent check. This small sushi joint is a close walk to Grand Central and while, from the outside it may look like your typical Midtown sushi spot, inside they have a nicer, more sleek decor than most. Tsushima has plenty of options of high quality, super fresh fish without the price tag. The service is friendly if not overly quick to keep you moving, so it might not be the best place for a romantic date, but if you’re looking for some yummy sushi while running around Midtown or coming in or out from Connecticut, it’s a good bet that Tsushima will hit the spot.
Address: 169 8th Ave. (18th & 19th St.)
Review: Recently opened by former Bond St. and Sushi Samba chefs, this Chelsea sushi joint produces some deliciously fun rolls. It’s clubbish decor and music may be unsettling for those looking for a nice quiet date, but given the right group it could be just what you’re looking for to start a night of club hopping. Though opened about 2 months ago, they still seem to be ironing out the kinks – the service was a bit all over the place and there was a miscommunication with their VIP card program. It’s not the best spot for a romantic date, but moreso a good starting point for a fun, lively night with some booze and a tasty meal.
Address: 57 Great Jones St. (Bowery & Lafayette St.)
Review: Bohemian is hands down one of our favorite restaurants in NYC. It’s got a cool speakeasy feel with its unlisted phone number and no walk-ins policy – you have to know someone who’s been there to be able to get the number and a reservation of your own. It’s down a long hallway behind a butchers shop and through a secret door. If and when you can find your way in, it’s got a really chic/modern vibe, naturally lit from the skylight above and a very limited number of tables. The food and specialty cocktails here are out of this world. We only had time for some small plates but each one was fantastic – the mushroom coquette with uni, the washu-gyu beef sliders, the beef short rib sashimi and the foie gras soba noodles. We’re dying to go back to try out the steak and branzino. If you can get your hands on the number and snag a reservation, Bohemian is a great place to impress your date with a delicious meal in a small intimate atmosphere.
Address: 105 Hudson St. (Franklin St. & Moore St.)
Review: We ventured over to Nobu next door for Restaurant Week and were pretty disappointed. The dishes were tiny and the service was rushed. The food was good and really tasty, but not a good value. The boyfriend has been to the real Nobu and was blown away, but Next Door was extremely dissatisfying in comparison. The dishes were truly just samples of what they had to offer, not a real dinner. Nobu Next Door is most likely better non-Restaurant Week, but this experience doesn’t make us want to return. It seemed like they were really just churning people through. All in all we were not impressed.
Address: 9 E. 17th St. (5th Ave. & Union Square W)
Review: Edo Sushi was a great find – it’s a fun cheap spot to grab really good sushi in Union Square. It’s incredibly inexpensive considering the quality of the sushi. With a long list of creative specialty rolls, delicious gyoza and shumai, and 1/2 off beers during happy hour – you can’t go wrong. The dimly lit and intimate atmosphere and the fact that you rarely have to wait for a table make this is a great spot to go on a casual date night. We’ve been back to Edo multiple times – it’s one of our go-to sushi spots when we’re in the mood for an inexpensive, delicious meal.
Address: 164 Lexington Ave. (30th & 31st St.)
Review: Mishima is your typical neighborhood sushi joint: small place and not the nicest atmosphere for a date, but good for a quick decent dinner. They have a pretty typical Japanese menu with standard sushi rather than specialty rolls, as well as teriyaki, tempura and udon entree options. We went with the gyoza and some sushi to share. Overall the food was good, nothing spectacular and the service is quick and friendly. Mishima is a solid choice for a quick bite or take out if you’re in the Murray Hill area.
Address: 220 Park Ave. S. (17th & 18th St.)
*Locations also in Financial District, Midtown East, Midtown West, Upper West Side, Upper East Side
Review: Haru is your chain sushi place that churns out solidly good sushi with decent creativity with their rolls, but this is not a place for the sushi purists. They have good apps like the crispy duck and shrimp and mushroom shumai, a bunch of good specialty cocktails ($13 a pop) and solid rolls. Haru is a better spot for a group dinner rather than a date, but nonetheless, an above average last minute place when you’re in the mood for sushi. The menu isn’t the cheapest out there but the wait is never too long so reservations aren’t really necessary.
Address: 185 7th Ave. (at 21st St.)
*Location also in the Upper West Side
Review: The no reservation policy makes for a long wait, but the dishes we had were worth the wait. We sat up at the sushi bar, got a bottle of Asahi, a tokkuri of saki, edamame and gyoza to start, all of which hit the spot. We love our special rolls, and Momoya’s signature rolls were some of the best we’ve ever tasted to date. Service was a little bit slow but the place was packed so that was to be expected. Momoya is definitely a great date spot if you don’t mind waiting or go on an off night.
Address: 106 8th Ave. (15th & 16th St.)
Review: We ended up going to Blue Ginger because Momoya was packed and we didn’t want to wait. While the place was pretty empty on a Sunday night, we were pleasantly surprised. Blue Ginger has above average sushi and a good selection of creative rolls at a decent price. If you’re in this neck of the woods and don’t want to wait it out for Momoya, Blue Ginger is a solid call for a good, casual sushi dinner.
Address: 437 3rd Ave. (30th & 31st St.)
Review: Nobi is our favorite neighborhood sushi spot. They have great specialty rolls, quick service and you can always snag a table. The best part is – it’s CHEAP! So if you’re in the neighborhood and want some awesome sushi with great options for special rolls, this is the place to go for a quiet, casual date.