Sakagura - Japanese in Midtown NYC

Sakagura, 211 E 43rd Street, NYC, 10017

A friend of mine sent me a link to an article regarding 10 of the best hidden bars and restaurants to try in New York City (NYC). So when I (Mirko) had organised a catch up with a friend of mine after work one day, what better way to test one of these out! So off to Sakagura we went.

Walking towards Sakagura, there is a tiny sign leading you inside to a non-descript office building. Unsure whether we were going to the right location, I approached a security guard who (before I could even) ask a question, pointed us in the direction that we were required to head - he definitely has this question all the time!

Upon finding where to go, you feel like you have entered an old-town, outdoor Japanese eatery. The floors are painted like asphalt and the roof black to give diners the impression that they are eating outdoors. You then have all the mod-cons of modern Japan (I'm talking about the bathroom) lol.   

A view from the entrance
After being given the menu, we ask our waiter how many dishes he recommends for 2 people to which he suggests between 4-5. He then commented that this gives us the option to order further should we require more. Points to him for not overselling initially and giving us the option for later. 

Buta Kakuni - $6.80
First on the menu was the Buta Kakuni. This is Sakagura's signature dish made of braised pork belly. The pork belly was cooked well and just fell apart in the mouth. The broth which it came in had a sweet element which complimented the savoury nature of the pork belly. A definite winner for the both of us. 

Jagaimo Dango with Matcha Salt - $8.00
Next on the menu was the Jagaimo Dango which were donuts with a mashed potato centre served with Matcha Salt. The donuts were nice and fluffy but without the Match Salt, were a little lack lustre. The Dango definitely required the Matcha Salt to lift the flavour of the dish. The Matcha Salt itself was not too salty, and luckily, retained a Matcha flavour.  

Sataimo Iridashi - $9.00
The Sataimo Iridashi was Taro potato, eggplant, shiitake mushrooms fried in a tempura batter served in a soy sauce infused broth. The tempura batter (as it should be) was very light and thin and the flavour of the batter did not overpower the hero's of the dish. The taro was slightly sweet with the eggplant and mushrooms also retaining their natural flavours. The broth that it was served in was also very light in flavour and complimented the dish.

Gyutan Yawaraka Ni - $16.00
Last but not least was a dish that was recommended to us by the waiter, the Gyutan Yawaraka Ni. This was Beef Tongue stewed in a Miso broth with daikon radish, taro, spinach and shiitake mushrooms. Unlike some of the other dishes presented to us which were quite light and delicate in flavour, this was the opposite and provided a lot of punch. The tongue itself, was tender and well seasoned soaking up that miso broth. When the dish came out, neither I or my friend could tell that it was tongue (as it was presented differently to how we have eaten tongue before). For those who have never tried it before, I urge you to give it a go and not be dissuaded by the part of the animal that it comes from.

The other elements in the dish, were there to compliment the broth and the meat and made for a hearty meal. Such stews are definitely required for cold winters nights!

Looking at the pictures above, it appears that not a lot of food was ordered, this is true - however with eating a few meat dishes as well as a number of starchy items (Dango and Iridashi) the richness of the dishes definitely made us full. We did order a cold udon noodle dish, but luckily were able to cancel this as I don't think we could have fit anything else in. 

Overall, we were very pleased with our meal at Sakagura, and both agreed that we would be back to try some more of its Japanese fare. Whilst we didn't have any alcohol on this night, we did see that there was an exhaustive Sake listing which would interest many.  

Vegetarian/Vegan: Yes, some vegetarian options are available. Unsure about the vegan options though
Child friendly: Yes, we did some children whilst there. If high chairs are required - maybe call ahead to check.

Service: 4/5 - Attentive, our water was always topped up, prompt and assisted us with our dining decisions. Did not try to oversell when asked about number of dishes required
Ambiance: 4/5 - Really liked the indoor/outdoor concept. I really felt like I was outdoors
Food: 8/10 - Dishes were well executed 

In total, OTCB gives Sakagura 16/20 chops On The Chopping Board.

Sakagura Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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