Kanoyama, nestled in casual Japanese dining central, is quite a few leagues ahead of its 8th street competition. From the windows opening into the two dining rooms, I often voyeuristically observe the happy diners with their full plates of fresh-off-the-plane sushi assortment. Other times I drool a bit at the oyster station, which is in clear view of passersby.
The menu is not unlike most Japanese restaurants, and I have only had the sushi though I live less than 5 minutes away. While I have no doubt that the hot appetizers and desserts are ample competition for the entrees, the minimalistic aura of the place just inspires you to go for the sashimi and sushi.
Given my recent mad craving for octopus, we started off our meal with tako-su, or essentially, octopus in a citrus-vinegar bath. Solid, but not extraordinary I say!
For the day, we ordered the sushi, sashimi set for two. Not a bad deal for a top-tier restaurant. I must say, if you’re not satiated by the usual line-up, the omakase option might yield more seasonal goodies. However, I imagine that most will be quite happy with more expertly prepared “sushi special.” When they special, they do mean more special than your delivery-oriented eatery. Everything was fresh and almost crisp tasting, even the mackerel. With just the right amount of ginger and scallions, it was perfectly on point, fishy at its very shining best. Some seem to laud the buttery arctic char, and I would just like to take the moment and join the chorus of praise.
With that, our simple meal was concluded. My thoughts for the restaurant sum up to satisfied, but not quite mystified. Kanoyama lacks the sort of, $150-plus-a-head pizzazz that thrills the New York palette. Go to Kanoyama if it’s a night for a meal that will make you smile for certain. Revel in the familiar good taste of the traditional, and save the nouveau-americaine creations for another night.
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175 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003