Written by Hulda Lawrence
with M.J. Boyer

Past Reviews

Restaurant NiponRestaurant Nippon, at 155 East 52nd Street, between Third and Lexington Avenues, 212 758-0226, has been attracting those who appreciate fine Japanese cuisine since 1963. The waitresses, traditionally garbed in kimonos, are well versed in all aspects of the cuisine and will recommend for those who are not familiar with its intricacies. The restaurant has not changed its decor much - it is done in pastel peach - and there is a relatively quiet atmosphere and separate areas for those who want to dine a la the Japanese.

When we lunched at Nippon recently, we were overwhelmed by the very large menus and by the fact that the restaurant has just received the New York City Michelin "double forks" citation.

The variety of fish and seafood is extraordinary and it is always fresh and cut to order. We began with a platter of Sushi (with vinegar rice) including fluke, tuna, yellowtail and a new creation: Shrimp Tempura Roll. Of course, the accoutrements of fresh ginger and wasabi sauce added to its appeal. The latest addition to this vast menu is fresh wasabi which is flown directly from Japan and is presented along with a small grinder allowing diners to add piquancy to sushi and sashimi. It is $16 for the special wasabi along with one roll.

Soba noodles are a specialty of Nippon. The buckwheat is grown on a farm in Canada where it is sown, harvested and mixed with 20% udon wheat to become soba noodles. These noodles are full of amino acids as well as vitamins B and E. They help prevent high blood pressure and cerebral hemorrhage and aid in controlling weight to keep people slim.

With all of this information about soba noodles we opted for Beef Soba Salad: salad topped with lightly sautéed thin slices of prime rib of beef at $20. The soba salads are $16 to $24 for Blackened Tuna, Chicken, Seafood and Tofu. With each salad soup and rice are served. Other salads without soba noodles include Nippon Beef, Scottish Salmon and Chicken.

For our second entrée we had Tempura with shrimp, eggplant, mushrooms bnd Broccoli. All of these lunch dishes are served with Nippon Salad, miso soup and steamed rice. There might be Sashimi, Sushi or Sushi deluxe, Teriyaki Beef Steak a la Nippon, Beef Negimayaki, Tonkatsu (a pork dish popular in Japan), or Curry with Rice, a new menu addition. These lunch special are $19 to $38 for the beef steak.

For those with heartier appetites there are Kaiseki (tasting menus) which presents an assortment of Sushi, Tempura, Sukiyaki and Teriyaki for one menu and Nimono (simmered fish), Tempura and also soba noodles on the other. Each is $38.

From the large list of saki, liquors and beers my choice was Aramasa Saki served cold. It was fine with all I consumed. My companion enjoyed Chardonnay.

There are a number of soba noodle special from $17 to $23. One presents curry, another two jumbo shrimp or sushi rice (mini-don).

Among the latest sushi creations are Rainbow Roll of tuna, yellow tail, fluke, eel, crab stick and avocado; Godzilla Roll of tuna, avocado, cucumber, tobiko lightly tempura fried; Spicy Salmon Roll; Dragon Roll of eel, crab stick and avocado; and Shrimp Tempura Roll. These rolls are $9 to $12.80.

Desserts are ice cream in flavors of green tea, red bean, vanilla and a delicious ginger. There also is mango sorbet and fresh fruits. Desserts are $4.50 to $12 for a specialty that takes 15 minutes for cooking.

The best way to enjoy Nippon’s cuisine is to ask your server to recommend something you think you would like. After lunch diners feel satisfied but not overstuffed and can return to their business activities alert and ready for action. Of course, the same menu with additions is available during evening hours.

Hours: Monday to Thursday: Noon to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 10 p.m.
Friday: Noon to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Saturday: 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Closed Sunday
Credit cards: all major
Wheelchair accessibility: Yes
Price: $$$

The Restaurant Revue Ratings

The dollar sign indicates the approximate cost of dining for two persons, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity.

$ Inexpensive $25
$$ Moderate $50
$$$ Expensive $100
$$$$ Very Expensive $150

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