I wanted to have Ramen so I stopped by Naruto at 3rd Avenue. It was super crowded with people even waiting outside on the street. My stomach was not in the mood to wait, so I gave up and explored other options (although I will be returning Naruto in the very near future). Just after crossing the corner of 86th and 3rd, I found Kobeyaki, a newly opened restaurant in the Upper East Side after Midtown and Chelsea. Their mission is to provide Japanese food in a causal setting, and I have often thought that NYC could offer something like that with a Tokyo feel. I was right.
While I was expecting a variation of a typical Japanese restaurant, I was pleasantly surprised when I found a hamburger selection on the menu. And while the kobe beef burger nearly tempted my taste buds, I eventually picked the teriyaki grilled beef bowl with vegetables instead. The beef, according to Kobeyaki’s website, is naturally raised without any growth hormones or antibiotics. It was juicy and tender and melted in my mouth. Definitely a delicious alternative to my original quest for Ramen.
I also must admit that at first I thought the restaurant appeared to pre-make food like a number of other fast-casual dining chains, like Chipotle. Not the case. I noticed that each selection was made to order in the small kitchen – just like in Tokyo. Kobeyaki exceeded my expectations in its quality, price, and menu. I will definitely return and am already reconsidering that kobe beef burger with French fries. And for those who love Japanese beer, be sure to order a 60oz pitcher of cold Asahi to appease your thirst.
Price range: $8-$20
Dress code: Very casual
Dining alone: Very comfortable
Take out: Yes