Nippon is one of the oldest Japanese restaurants in NYC, opened by a Japanese man whose unique background may be compared to a classic Japanese sushi chef. They normally start their career as a chef in very young age. According to NY Seikatsu, a Japanese weekly paper, Mr. Nobuyoshi Kuraoka opened the restaurant in 1963 after he finished graduate school in Ohio. He had a clear mission to introduce authentic Japanese cuisine at reasonable prices — and this strategy has kept the business going for more than 50 years. Since learning of Nippon and Mr. Kuraoka’s story and especially after seeing the restaurant, featured in the passionate documentary, Wa-Shoku ~Beyond Sushi~, I learned that Mr. Kuraoka is the one who invented “Toro” in NYC.
Nippon is not just only one of the first restaurants in the US to serve raw sushi, but it also presented various Japanese foods that are now considered “standard” – such as Tempura Bar, Soba Salad, and Beef Negimayaki. And probably first to use a wooden sushi and tempura counter in US.
I ordered assorted seasonal sashimi from the specials menu and regular Tendon. The sashimi tasted exactly as I had in Ginza/Tokyo just few weeks ago, and the tempura was the crispiest that I had ever had in US. Absolutely authentic and delicious! The history of Nippon Restaurant is the history of Japanese Cuisine in New York City. I believe this will be the same for the future.
Price: $50 for my selection including tip
Dress code: Casual and business attire or both fine for lunch/dinner
Dining alone: Comfortable – a great counter serviced by a sushi chef is also available