NYC Japanese Restaurants Shine with 2018 Michelin Stars

New Yorkers love rankings and list by which to determine where to spend their hard-earned money on food and drink, so every year at the end of October they eagerly await the Michelin Guide. After evaluating the data collected from its anonymous inspectors, the Michelin Guide rewards restaurants with coveted stars.

Michelin Guide, Michelin stars, NYC, Japan, Japanse restaurants, sushi, omakase, kaiseki, yakitori, ramen, tempura, shojin ryori, Bib Gourmands, sobaWith 16 Japanese restaurants out of 72 on the list, Eater says, “Approximately 20 percent of the New York guide’s starred selections are now Japanese.” The New York Times quoted Michael Ellis, the international director of the Michelin guides, as saying that the most starred Japanese restaurants outside of Japan are in New York. (Note: Although The New York Times and Condé Nast Traveler reported that there are 71 starred New York restaurants and 15 are Japanese, there are in fact 72 starred restaurants, 16 of them Japanese.)

Not much has changed from last year’s list, but there are a few moves for 2018. Sushi Ginza Onodera was upgraded from one star, making it Michelin’s only Japanese-designated restaurant with two stars. (You may notice that Momofuku Ko appeared on previous articles about New York’s Michelin-starred Japanese restaurants. While Momofuku Ko still has two stars, it is not classified by Michelin as being a Japanese restaurant, so JapanCulture•NYC removed it from our list.) Three new restaurants earned one star: Bar Uchū, Satsuki, and Sushi Amane. Gone from the list are Soto, which closed last December, Cagen, and Sushi of Gari.

Michelin Guide, Michelin stars, NYC, Japan, Japanse restaurants, sushi, omakase, kaiseki, yakitori, ramen, tempura, shojin ryori, Bib Gourmands, soba

Agree or disagree, love it or hate it, here is the list of Japanese restaurants to receive stars in the 2018 Michelin Guide.

Three Stars (“exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”)
Masa
10 Columbus Circle, Time Warner Center
Type of Cuisine: Sushi
Despite allegations by the FDA that it violated seafood safety regulations, Masa, one of the most expensive sushi restaurants in the country, retained its three-star status.

 

Two Stars (“excellent cuisine, worth a detour”)
Sushi Ginza Onodera
461 5th Avenue
Type of cuisine: Sushi
As mentioned earlier, this popular omakase restaurant is upgraded from one star to two. Eater NY calls a meal at Sushi Ginza Onodera, which opened last year, “a $400 sushi experience that’s worth it.”

 

One Star (“A very good restaurant in its category”)
Bar Uchū (NEW)
217 Eldridge Street
Type of cuisine: Sushi
After opening his own omakase restaurant and then suing his partner, renowned sushi chef Eiji Uchimura found his way to Bar Uchū, an intimate space run by Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare alum Samuel Clonts. The Lower East Side restaurant opened in June and has already made an impression.

Hirohisa
73 Thompson Street
Type of cuisine: Seasonal Japanese
New York Magazine says, “Hirohisa Hayashi specializes in the kind of quirky, traditionalist dishes beloved by Japanese omakase purists.”

Jewel Bako
239 E. 5th Street
Type of cuisine: Sushi
Michelin Guide inspectors describe this guide veteran: “The quality and seriousness of the kitchen remains excellent with each passing year, turning out exquisite dishes like seasonal lobster sashimi laced with ponzu – its head and innards later presented in a savory miso soup. The sashimi that follows is equally astounding, from the slicing technique to the fish quality, much of it seasonal and flown in directly from Japan.”

Kajitsu
125 E. 39th Street
Type of cuisine: Shojin Ryori (Buddhist vegetarian)
“Kajitsu is such a special place that it deserves to be part of the conversation when it comes to essential New York restaurants,” The Infatuation says in its review of this classic kaiseki restaurant.

Kanoyama
175 2nd Avenue
Type of cuisine: Sushi
Although this is Kanoyama’s second consecutive year with a Michelin star, it’s still somewhat off the radar.

Kyo Ya
94 E. 7th Street
Type of cuisine: Sushi/Kaiseki
Kaiseki is a multi-course Japanese meal that pays special attention to the seasonality of ingredients. Chef Chikara Sono respects seafood and vegetables at the peak of their freshness and incorporates them into carefully crafted courses.

Satsuki (NEW)
114 W. 47th Street
Type of cuisine: Sushi
The sushi bar at Suzuki, Satsuki is Chef Toshio Suzuki’s newest endeavor once Sushi Zen closed after a remarkable 30-year run.

Sushi Amane (NEW)
245 E. 44th Street
Type of cuisine: Sushi
“Chef [Shion] Uino delivers nigiri of astonishing depth and with a complexity of flavors,” the Michelin Guide says of this eight-seat omakase counter that shares space with Mifune and opened this summer.

Sushi Inoue
481 Lenox Avenue
Type of cuisine: Sushi
In July 2015 Chef Shinichi Inoue opened the first restaurant in Harlem to receive a Michelin star. Receiving such accolades is not new to him; the Nagasaki native also earned a Michelin star for his work at Sushi Azabu. His eponymous establishment offers four different omakase choices, and the Village Voice describes a meal at Sushi Inoue as “ . . . a dining experience that’s steeped in ritual and yet unique.”

Sushi Yasuda
204 E. 43rd Street
Type of cuisine: Sushi
Since 1999 Sushi Yasuda has been serving classic, no-frills sushi (i.e., no rolls with cream cheese or jalapeños) in Midtown East. The minimalist approach to the food and the interior prompted The New York Times to call it a “standout shrine to sushi.”

Sushi Zo
88 W. 3rd Street
Type of cuisine: Sushi
“Without a doubt, this is the best, most ethereal, glossy fish I’ve had in New York,” writes Eater Drinks Editor and sushi aficionado Kat Odell about Sushi Zo.

Tempura Matsui
222 E. 39th Street
Type of cuisine: Tempura
This is not the same style of over-breaded fried food that some people think of when they hear “tempura.” This is high-end, fine dining with a set tasting menu at $200. Revered chef Masao Matsui, who opened the restaurant in 2015, died of cancer in February 2016, but Chef Shin Kato continues to prepare tempura in the same delicate fashion.

Tori Shin
362 W. 53rd Street
Type of cuisine: Yakitori
The first yakitori restaurant to earn a Michelin star, Tori Shin continues to excel in cuisine and service. Chef Atsushi Kono prepares an omakase menu that uses every part of the chicken, which he purchases from a free-range farm in Pennsylvania. Tori Shin is also Anthony Bourdain’s favorite restaurant in New York City. “I like the chicken hearts and all the fatty pieces,” Bourdain says. “I always get there early and get all of those little cuts that run out early. That makes me happy – little chicken pieces on skewers and cold beer.”

Ushiwakamaru
362 W. 23rd Street
Type of cuisine: Sushi
Once in SoHo, Ushiwakamaru relocated to Chelsea in 2015. This summer Eater named Ushiwakamaru one of the 27 sushi restaurants to try in NYC, and Michelin Guide inspectors say that it “remains home to luxe sushi and excellent fish.”

 

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Bib Gourmands (“Inspectors’ favorites for good value”)
If you’re not into the super-upscale, break-the-bank sushi restaurants on this list, the ramen-heavy Bib Gourmands are for you. Michelin defines “good value” as spending $40 or less – excluding tax and gratuity – for two courses and a glass of wine or dessert.

DOMODOMO
138 W. Houston Street
Type of Cuisine: Sushi

Ganso Ramen
25 Bond Street, Brooklyn
Type of Cuisine: Ramen

Hide-Chan Ramen
248 E. 52nd Street
Type of Cuisine: Ramen

HinoMaru Ramen
33-18 Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria, Queens
Type of Cuisine: Ramen

Jin Ramen
462 Amsterdam Avenue
Type of Cuisine: Ramen

Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 First Avenue
Type of Cuisine: Ramen

Mu Ramen
12-09 Jackson Avenue, Queens
Type of Cuisine: Ramen

Shalom Japan
310 S. 4th Street, Brooklyn
Type of Cuisine: “Authentically inauthentic Jewish and Japanese food”

Soba-ya
229 E. 9th Street
Type of Cuisine: Japanese Soba Noodles

For a complete list of all New York restaurants that earned stars – not just the Japanese ones – please visit Michelin’s website.