Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Tokyo Bay

183 Duane St, 212-431-8666

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Cost per person: $15
"YGWYPF" factor: 9/10 (you get what you pay for)

I had tried my first Japanese food a few years back, at a place right next to our office (then at 388 Greenwich Street, the Traveller's building). Didn't know much about sushi back then, so I was happy with what they served.

Now, we are much more picky with our food - the sushi has to melt in the mouth, the rice has to be fresh and sticky just right, the tea has to be just like so. That's where Tokyo Bay overrules our other favorites, such as Biny and Tataki, also in the neighborhood.

Ambience - moderately good. Small, cozy place with some 5 tables, and at least 3 waitresses, who for some wired reason keep changing every other week. Tea is served on the house, as expected in all oriental places. Conversation is usually on a low volume. Lights are dim, almost romantic, if not for the straight-back chairs. Which reminds me, I really have to find a nice, relaxed lounge in the city. I digress.

The raw dishes are highly recommended - I specially like the "sake don" (sliced salmon over sushi rice) and "tekka don" (sliced tuna over sushi rice). If you request them, they can mix the two above, for half-salmon-half-sushi. Bento boxes are awesome, but a little on the pricey side compared to the other places. However, if you know your Japanese food, you'll love them. Other suggestions - Beef Negimaki, Oyako Don, Ten Don. Zaru Soba is nice, but it's cold, and a little too much in quantity for me. If you are going for lunch on a weekday, check out the last page of the regular menu, and take a look at the specials insert on the table.

Where would I place this restaurant, in the pecking order for good sushi places? "Value for money", I guess. Not the el-cheapo of sushi places, not a Karaoke place, not a fast food place. Just right for a quiet lunch, or a relaxed evening dinner, without the pressure of a heavy ambiance.


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