Restaurants , Japanese East Village
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(2 user reviews)
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At first glance, six-year-old East Village standby Kanoyama appears indistinguishable from the slew of other run-of-the-mill sushi restaurants in the neighborhood. But a closer inspection reveals a much more sophisticated venue that has long touted daily imported fresh fish and one of the largest specials menus in the city, making for a sushi experience both elevated and charming.

Conservative appetites can find comfort in familiar fare like rock shrimp tempura ($12), delectable usuzukuri ($18), a rose petal-thin fluke paired with ponzu sauce, and a manicured selection of hand rolls, the standout being the fried oyster roll ($13) slicked in spicy mayo. But sushi connoisseurs and adventurous palates alike can foray into the the expansive list of daily specials, or entrust the raw-fish masters with a omakase, or chef's choice menu.

Three options—omakase sushi ($39), omakase sashimi ($49), and super omakase ($180)—are each artfully presented to stunning effect, making the meal a complete feast for all the senses. On a recent night, the super omakase commenced with a chilled corn soup topped with tempura corn that boasts a luscious consistency similar to custard. Next was the ayu nanban, a fried sweet fish in vinegar sauce, and golden seared anago, a salt-water eel that’s so deeply caramelized in unagi sauce it could pass for candy. 

Though already substantial, the meal soldiered on with a selection of sashimi ranging from the standout buttery baby red snapper that melts on the tip of your tongue upon impact to a white eel emboldened by wasabi, fluke with scallion, striped jack fish with lemon salt and a disappointing scallop that was unpleasantly gummy in texture. Toro hand rolls enveloped in extra crispy nori, tobiko with egg, and a velvet unami round out the overall satisfying experience. 

Service concludes with a pair of desserts: tamago, a sweet Japanese egg omelette, and monaka, a wafer-like sandwich filled with mochi ice cream and red bean sauce. It's the traditional, understated conclusion to an omakase, befitting the tried-and-true simplicity of the restaurant and its offerings. 


Venue name: Kanoyama
Address: 175 Second Ave
New York
Cross street: at 11th St
Opening hours: Mon, Sun 5–11pm; Tue–Sat 5:30pm–midnight
Transport: Subway: L to First Ave; N, Q, R, W, 4, 5, 6 to Union Sq
Price: Average sushi meal: $30. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
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Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

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Guy C

This is our perennial favorite. Super high quality Japanese specialty sushi & sashimi, expertly prepared and beautifully presented. Excellent cooked food from back of the house, too!

Jaime B

I had heard about Kanoyama a while ago as spot when you get can quality sushi for a reasonable price. It has a $39 omakase menu! Compared to famous omakase restaurants that charge upwards of $150 per person (although I'm sure the fish is delicious), this is much more affordable. I did not get the omakase but instead order the $18 special: 3 rolls and miso soup. The service here was excellent. The waiter was very attentive, and the plate was arranged beautifully. There were five sushi men behind the counter, so the sushi came out pretty quickly. I am looking forward to going back.