Inakaya gets some flack for being a big, thematic Japanese joint that’s right near the armpit of NYC, Port Authority. The area is essentially a wretched hive of scum and villainy, the likes of which make the Mos Isley Cantina look like a comforting, safe place.
But the restaurant? Really nice. I was thoroughly impressed with the six course tasting menu for two that my wife scored for less than the price of one.
We essentially tried one of each, with the exception of the roasted rice ball, which looked delicious.
We started with drinks. I guzzled down these two Asahi beers, a dark and the super dry, while my wife sipped on a traditional box o’ sake.
I loved the fact that the guys cooking behind the bar would serve up each drink or food course on a long wooden paddle that they stretched out across the bar table. Pretty fucking mint:
Starters were the tempura (shishito pepper, fish, and shrimp with shredded nori) and the tuna and yellow tail carpaccio with salmon tartare. These were delicious. The tempura was perfectly crispy and light, and the fish dish was garnished with paper-thin salt flakes that really made the flavors pop.
Next were the quad-color mixed seaweed salad and seared tuna spinach salad. Also delicious, deftly dressed, and wildly flavorful.
Next came the grilled veggie assortment: asparagus, eringi mushroom, and eggplant. I liked everything here, but the eggplant could have benefitted from a skinning or peeling. That skin can be a little thick at times. The asparagus and mushrooms were awesome though, especially when sprinkled with some of the Japanese spicy pepper condiment.
After that came the surf and turf: grilled half lobster and a generous portion of kobe beef (the menu says 2oz but it was more like 4oz). The beef was served with a nice dipping sauce that brought out the earthy flavors of the meat. I generally prefer a steamed lobster but the grilled one here wasn’t too bad. Lots of times places will mangle the grilled lobster and overcook it. Not the case here.
Our sides were the yellowtail and scallion roll, which was just okay. Nothing too fancy. And the double steamed rice with mushrooms. THAT was yummy. In hindsight, I wish we had gotten the roasted rice ball instead of the sushi roll, but hey.
Shit there was even good miso soup! It came with a good amount of tofu skin in it (my absolute favorite for soup fodder).
Dessert was really simple. Green tea ice cream and fresh fruit with whipped cream and a sprig of mint. Basic, fresh and good. The fruit plate was a little small, but otherwise no real complaints here. We were full anyway.
This place is totally worth it, in my opinion. $65 is a good deal for one. My wife nailed it with $55 for two through some crazy ass deal she found online. If you can do the same, I highly recommend doing it. Total win.
231 W. 40th St.
New York, NY 10018