Manhattan – Midtown East
300 E 52nd St between First and Second Aves
Manhattan, NY 10022
Only nine people can sit at the downstairs counter, and another handful at two tables in the upstairs tatami room. Chef Isamu Soumi"s menu is a winning combination of traditional fare from the Niigata prefecture, north of Tokyo, and his own flights of fancy. The prix-fixe dinner changes roughly every two weeks. You might poke your chopsticks into a bowl of oshitashi (steamed spinach), then nibble on fried sardines wrapped around smooth tofu and paired with sweet pickled-plum sauce. Fish preparations, such as steamed tilefish topped with creamy wasabi, are phenomenal. Tiny as it is, Toraya draws a steady clientele of Japanese professionals.
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