Sake Bar Hagi

Restaurants , Japanese Midtown West
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Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nels
This buzzy, underground izakaya defies its dowdy location in the heart of Times Square with authentic Japanese flavors that would scare the fanny pack off most tourists. Bring a group, order a few $12 pitchers of Sapporo, and keep the small plates coming: Japanese cucumbers are served with mayonnaise and sweet, funky miso for dipping. Okonomiyaki—a squid-and-cabbage pancake—is topped with a flurry of bonito flakes, while kara-age (hunks of fried chicken) are crispy nuggets buried under mild grated daikon and ponzu sauce. With a menu this vast, a few misses are expected (our takoyaki, or octopus balls, were mushy and bland), but at less than $10 a plate, it’s worth taking a risk on a dish you can’t pronounce.
Venue name: Sake Bar Hagi
Address: 152 W 49th St
New York

Cross street: between Sixth and Seventh Aves
Opening hours: Daily 5pm–3am
Transport: Subway: B, D, F, V to 42nd St–Bryant Park; 7, N, R, Q, W, S to Times Sq–42nd St
Price: Average small plate: $10. AmEx, DC, Disc, MC, V
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