When it comes to Japanese food in New York City, the options are seemingly endless. From sushi to ramen to yakitori, you can find excellent takes on Japanese classics as long as you know where to look. Chef Matt Abergel of Hong Kong's Yardbird, Sunday's Grocery and Ronin, and formerly of Masa, is cooking at Chefs Club in New York for two nights this week and recently shared his favorite places to eat Japanese food in New York City.
Abergel's restaurant Yardbird is recognized as one of Hong Kong's best spots for yakitori, meaning the standards could not be higher for when he eats it elsewhere. "Pretty much the only place I go for Yakitori in New York is Tori Shin," he says. "I worked there briefly before I left New York and chef Kono is a friend, so I would just say get every cut from the chicken you can and try it all."
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- A Self-Guided Study of Japanese Food: Understanding Yakitori
"Everyone's definition of a 'legit' izakaya is different, but for me I just kind of want it to be dirty, open late and have good grilled and fried food," he explains. "I used to go to Village Yokocho a lot, which is a fun spot. They're always open and always have a wide range of booze, both of which are always importantwhen it comes to izakayas."
"After working at Masa for a while, I didn't really go out for sushi much when I previously lived in New York," he says. "However, Shuko is obviously great and we used to go 15 East all the time too."
"Personally, I really prefer soba to ramen," he says. "Soba is somewhat healthy and I really like the buckwheat flavor. Also, it's definitely one of my favorite things to eat when I'm hungover. For soba in New York, I'm partial to Soba-ya and cocoran, they're both great."
Reservations for chef Matt Abergel's dinners at Chefs Club on 5/17 and 5/18 are sold out. To join the waitlist, go here.