Best Japanese— downscale (2008)
No, the winner of this coveted prize isn't in the East Village. Rather, the award goes to Sapporo, longtime delighter of homesick Nipponese, located right off Times Square, where places that are good and cheap are as scarce as inflatable clown shoes. The gyoza are the city's best—crisp and brown on the bottom, yet soft and yielding on top like the thigh of a lover, with a mellow filling of pork and scallions. Available in an assortment of distinctive broths that run from soy to curry to salt, the ramen are also highly recommended, and so is the katsudon: a pork cutlet mired in egg and caramelized onions bouncing on a bed of white rice.