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Best Japanese Restaurant

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The East Village is known for a brasher brand of Japanese restaurant, which makes Kyo Ya, hidden down a flight of stairs on 7th Street, a pleasant surprise. Chef Chikara Sono earned a Michelin star for his menu of exquisite dishes that are closely tied to the seasons, and each one must first be appreciated visually. Kurobuta kakuni incorporates hunks of tender pork belly topped with nose-tingling Japanese mustard. Botan shrimp and creamy uni come with salmon roe, black caviar, cucumber, and shimeji mushrooms, the colors colliding against the backdrop of the traditional ceramic it’s served on. Noodles are also a highlight — come summer, try the ume soba, whose buckwheat is colored pink by sour plum. It’s accompanied by crisp, sweet ovals of tempura corn. Best of all is the nine-, 10-, or 11-course kaiseki feast, a metered, traditional tasting menu you have to order a day in advance.

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