Midtown East is not exactly the most ideal neighborhood in NYC to have a decent meal outside. The area becomes almost dead during weekends after the corporate crowds during weekdays all flock to hang out in more hip neighborhoods in downtown Manhattan or Brooklyn. There are, however, a number of pretty good Japanese restaurants in this part of the city where authenticity is more cherished than some fancy cooking techniques. Aburiya Kinnosuke has long been one of the more solid restaurants inspired by robata grill where a lot of dishes are deliciously grilled. When my girlfriend’s close friend was visiting from out of town, I decided to take them to Aburiya for a re-visit (it’s actually been a while since I last visited this place), and again the dinner was quite satisfactory.
The humongous menu at Aburiya is filled with a bunch of daily specials. In terms of value, Aburiya may not always make you happy because the portions are generally on the smaller side compared to the rather hefty prices. That doesn’t mean, however, I didn’t enjoy the fresh blue fin fatty tuna sashimi that came out with awesome, silky smooth texture, or the impeccably steamed abalone that somehow worked quite well with liver sauce on the side. Grilled Hokkaido mackerel pike with salt was another delicacy that we all enjoyed, and a couple of grilled meat dishes that we tried (jidori chicken tsukune with salt and Berkshire pork loin with spicy miso) also had nice balance of texture without too much seasoning.
On the other hand, steamed sea urchin rice pot, despite so much anticipation given my love for uni, didn’t come together quite the way I had expected. The absolute show stopper of the night belonged to blue fin tuna collar and head. I was quite astonished how the tuna had such meaty texture that was such a joy to eat. Unlike the other dishes, the portion for the collar and head was also quite generous, and it took three of us a bit of time to finish it off and drop our chopsticks. A delightful dessert of shiratama (an assortment of green tea ice cream, mochi and brown sugar sauce) capped a pleasant dinner.
Getting a reservation at Aburiya is not particularly difficult as long as you call a couple of days in advance. The restaurant has a diverse range of great sake options that would do well to complement your meal. The space has very clean, modern feel that works for casual dinners as well as corporate functions as well (not surprisingly, the restaurant is filled with a lot of office crowds, especially Japanese people, during peak times). Aburiya is one of the more reliable restaurants that you can hardly go wrong, with very solid offerings of meat and seafood dishes.
- Creativity: 7.5/10
- Execution: 8.5/10
- Ingredients: 8.5/10
- Flavor: 8.0/10
- Texture: 8.5/10
Address: 213 East 45th Street, New York, NY 10017
Telephone: (212) 867-5454