During lunchtime in Murray Hill, I sometimes experience difficulty with finding a quiet place (perhaps slightly semi-formal) for lunch with colleagues or guests. A Japanese coworker who has lived in NYC more than 10 years took me to Kokage – described by her as one of her hidden pleasures. And it was immediately apparent why. The service was impeccable – polite and efficient – an exact replica of that found in a first-class restaurant in Tokyo.
The meal service is traditional Japanese in style, with one customer even dressed in kimono. The restaurant serves authentic Japanese food with finest seasonal ingredients from Japan as well as local fresh market. There are some don choices (Wagyu Beef Donburi, Tuna Donburi for example), sushi choices, and noodle choices. The food is both simple and complex at the same time. I ordered the Wagyu Beef Udon and the soup broth amazed me. It had a rich, subtle taste that was incredible (and not too salty like many other establishments tend to do). Inari sushi and Japanese style vegetable dishes came with the meal. It looks the menu changes every few months. I am looking forward to coming back to try various seasonal taste.
For dessert, we were offered choices ranging from matcha pudding to chocolate cake. I selected the matcha pudding, which was as tasty as I normally have in a high-end restaurant in Tokyo. The pudding came topped with berries that provided a nice flavor contrast. Highly recommended! I would choose this restaurant for business lunch and dinner.
Price: $20 per person for lunch
Dress code: Smart casual to business
Neighborhood: Murray Hill
Dining Alone: May not comfortable as there is no counter
Also worth mentioning:
Kajitsu, a vegetarian-focused sister restaurant is available both for lunch and dinner upstairs.