Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Thumbs Up for the New Chef at Ariyoshi

About a year ago I wrote about Ariyoshi, a Japanese izakaya restaurant in the East 50s. I only went for dinner that one time, but I eat lunch there fairly regularly, as it's close to my office. I usually get the deluxe set, which includes a main course of your choice, a number of daily appetizers, miso soup, salad, pickles and rice, all for $12. Until recently the appetizers always included fresh tofu and a few small pieces of sashimi, in addition to several other small plates that rotated daily. A month or two ago, however, the appetizers began to get more varied and interesting and the food, which had been solid if unexceptional Japanese pub fare, tasted decidedly better too.

Yesterday the appetizers were tuna and salmon sashimi with avocado sauce (sort of a wasabi guacamole), small pieces of grilled mackerel, salmon tempura, and an eel sunomono over thinly sliced cucumbers. My main course was an excellent tatsuta age, fried chicken chunks with a ponzu sauce and grated daikon.

I asked the waitresses if something had changed recently. Yes, they said, there was a new chef. For 16 years he had his own midtown restaurant and decided to sell the business. He comes from a rice-growing and sake-producing region of Japan, and they tell me he's a real sake expert, so I think I'll have to make another dinner visit in the near future, when one can have a palaver with the chef, taste several sakes and order a bunch of small plates a la carte.

226 E. 53rd St. (between 2nd & 3rd Ave.)


Anonymous Dave Cook said...

And what was his own midtown restaurant?

9:05 AM  
Blogger Peter Cherches said...

"Hello?...You don't say!...You don't say!...You don't say!"

"Who was it?"

"He didn't say!"

11:38 AM  
Blogger GG Merkel said...

That lunch deal sounds amazing! I will definitely check this place out. Thanks so much

1:12 AM  

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