New York’s sushi joints can really be broken down into three tiers. Tier one is made up of places that serve sushi boner-inducing fish that melts in your mouth and makes the other places look silly. Think Sushi Yasuda and Masa. These are the priciest of pricey, but every once in awhile you can find a tier one diamond in the rough that won’t do a Madoff on your bank account.
Tier two consists of sushi restaurants that can be a little hit-or-miss, but a hell of a lot more affordable. These places tend to focus more on specialty rolls, but great sushi and sashimi can be had. Poke and Yama are tier two type places.
The third tier consists of sushi best saved for lunch at your desk or a light meal in a pinch... we’re talking one step above the boxed stuff at Midtown delis. Ordering in this situation should be strictly confined to rolls only. Don’t get too cute, you’ll regret it.
Kanoyama is a prime example of that tier one diamond in the rough. This is some of the best fish you’ll find for the money in Manhattan. It’s a low-key spot beloved by the downtown food community that imports their fish daily and is easily the best in the East Village. Friday and Saturday nights are slammed and can be problematic since they don’t take reservations on the weekend, so weekday dinner is the way to go. The sushi bar is an excellent place for dining solo, and if you live in the hood, there is no better sushi delivery spot. While the menu can be a bit overwhelming, if you stick with the daily chef-recommended specials and a couple of their signature appetizers, you’ll be money.
Kanoyama really ups the ante in the miso soup department. They offer a number of different miso creations, our favorite being the Asari Miso with small cherry clams. It’s a great way to start off your meal and worth the few extra bucks.
Fresh oysters are delivered daily from Washington, Canada, New England, and any other place they can find good bivalves. An order of either a half or full dozen assorted oysters is almost a must. You won’t be disappointed.
Kanoyama’s baby octopus is served on a hot plate, fresh off the fire. It’s incredibly tender and packs a little punch thanks to the spicy miso sauce it’s cooked in.
A must order at any fine fish establishment, this cod can’t compete with the city’s best (Nobu), but at half the price, you can’t really complain. The fish is broiled in a miso glaze, giving it a nice caramelized finish.
These cones of spicy tuna chunks and avocado are heavenly. You need this badly.
Well executed pork dumplings that should be the one and only meat dish you order.
Although getting through this menu looks like a daunting task, it’s really not. Entrée wise, just stick with the fresh sushi and sashimi. Don’t stress out over which fish to order, let the chef handle that for you. The Sashimi Omakase features their nine best kinds of fish, while the Sushi Omakase features their eight best cuts of sushi, plus a giant bluefin tuna roll. The recent highlight has been their massive, tender sea eel, which tastes a lot better than it looks. Other favorites include Kinmedai (golden eye snapper from Japan), Sumilka (golden cuttlefish from Japan), Akashidai (red snapper from Japan), and Buri (Japanese yellowtail).