Sushein's sushi will slip right through your fingers if you're not fast enough. A rotating conveyer belt, like an airport carousel full of tiny, brightly colored edible luggage, carries the super-fresh morsels past diners, who can pluck up the rolls of their choice as they approach. Wildly popular in Japan, this processes, known as Kaiten-style sushi, allows diners to sample many different kinds of rolls in a lively and whimsical environment. White blown-glass chandeliers illuminate the bite-laden conveyer belt as diners watch from their perches in stylish white booths and white tables. Flat-screens broadcast anything from the game to late-night shows on Saturday, when Sushein’s sushi scoots by diners until 1 a.m.
EN's izakaya dining brings the tapas-style menus of rustic Japan 119º14' around the globular orb to NYC, featuring undeniably fresh ingredients such as authentic wagyu beef from Kagoshima, live eels from Shizuoka, and house-made tofu and sauces. Appoint your face ambassador to Kyoto with an o-banzai appetizer of buta bara to renkon no kinpira, braised, thin-sliced pork belly with lotus root ($6, or $15 for three). Bean fanatics will frolic with delight among the hills of EN's handmade tofu, pressed nightly in-house; try the goma dofu age dashi for confirmation (sesame-seasoned tofu lightly fried in savory, house-made dashi broth with a variety of Japanese mushrooms, $13). Fish gets no fresher than EN's unagino shirayaki, eel flown from Japan daily and grilled in traditional fashion ($30). For fare that flies itself, opt for a sautéed Hudson valley duck breast, crisped to crispiness and served with grated daikon in ponzu sauce ($22), or enhance a dining experience with the interactive kuroge washugyu yaki shabu, thinly sliced Japanese Black Angus short ribs served with a hot stone for grilling ($35).
Ido Sushi owner and chef Tora Yi marries edible and aural art by pairing inventive sushi and sashimi dishes alongside live piano and opera performances, building an atmosphere that the New York Times described as “Cheers – dunked in the melting pot.” Like Genghis Khan’s personal Mongolian barbecue, the dining area is ornamented with wall-mounted swords that gleam under soft lighting. Sushi chefs carve fresh salmon, tuna, and vegetables before rolling them on planks behind an open-air bar. Between bites and sing-along sessions, bartenders sling sake, draft beers, and mixed drinks.
Sushi Mambo's exterior, with its wooden panels and Japanese-style sloping eaves, evokes the rustic charm of an Edo-era highway inn or the comfortable elegance of a samurai's man cave. Guests dine on artfully arranged maki lined with yellowtail, salmon, and eel or savor the tastes of miso ramen soup or bowls of chicken udon. Specialty rolls combine the complimentary flavors and textures of crunchy tempura chicken, creamy avocado, and spicy sauces, and sashimi plates arrange delicate slices of salmon or tender tuna onto colorful plates of greens, lemons, and carved carrot flowers.
Shimmering green and yellow walls backdrop Ozu’s marble-topped bar, which is part sushi bar and part cocktail bar. On the sushi end, a metal fish sculpture on the metallic green-tiled wall overlooks sushi chefs. It watches as they wrap thin layers of raw fish around miniature bouquets of sprouts, stand slices of strawberry on end, paint plates with splashes of sauce, and nestle purple flowers onto fillets striped with ruby-hued caviar. Sake and Sapporo beer arrive from the other end of the bar to quench thirst.
Elsewhere in this eatery with high ceilings and wooden tiles, guests get their recommended daily dose of lobster with the lobster salad. They also sup on tuna-and-avocado pizza, crispy duck, and Kobe-beef meatballs.