Chiyoda Sushi (aka more Japanese fun!!!)

Right before Thanksgiving I posted a little feature about Pumpkin dishes at Chiyoda Sushi.  As promised, here’s a full look at what has become one of my new favorite places in Midtown.  It’s located on 41st between Madison & 5th (just east of Bryant Park) right next to Cafe Zaiya- another of my favorite places.  In fact, Chiyoda is like a slightly nicer version of Cafe Zaiya, with bento boxes, pre-packaged sushi, and all sorts of little odds and ends.  It’s slightly more expensive then Zaiya, but the food is much more refined.

Some places I like to blather on and on about… and some places are best left to the pics:

More food porn, and the +/- after the jump…

Despite both being pre-packaged to-go Japanese places, Chiyoda and Cafe Zaiya are very different.  First, Cafe Zaiya is more like a bakery, that also has bento boxes, rice balls and assorted sandwiches.  At Chiyoda, the focus is on the savory items.  They have a few desserts- but it is really about your main course.  While Zaiya is made for grabbing something quick and scarfing it down, the food at Chiyoda is much more refined, and you can tell a lot of effort went into making the dishes.  There are also healthier options (unlike Zaiya).

Along with that refinement is a much calmer atmosphere; because of the layout, it’s not nearly as crowded as Zaiya.  The downside is, the seating area is super small- so it’s alot easier if you plan to take things to go.  If you want a real sit down meal, they do have a proper sushi bar in the back.

Between my wife and I we tried a few different things… and everything was really good (for pre-packaged food).  The sushi was better than most- and even though the rice still had that “made this morning” texture, it tasted really good once you got used to it.  The salmon and avocado tartare (seen above) was delicious, and only $3.50.  We also got a few pieces of the vegetable and shrimp tempura patty (2 for $1.75), and the Chicken & Vegetable Onigiri (rice ball)- both of which were excellent.  The rice balls at Chiyoda are more exciting (i.e. Chicken & Vegetable) than the ones at Zaiya so they tend to be more expensive (one actually has raw fish in it… something Zaiya doesn’t do).

All in all the best way to enjoy Chiyoda is to go with someone else so you can share a bunch of different things.  We spent about $20 and had lunch for two (including some sushi)… but there’s a ton more things I still want to try.  Bento boxes, steamed sushi (whatever that is), fried chicken cubes, yakitori, Udon & Soba soups… the fun never stops!  It’s not often I say this… but definitely worth the walk from any part of Midtown.

THE +

  • A huge variety of Japanese dishes and snacks
  • A slightly more upscale version of Cafe Zaiya
  • They have healthier options
  • Their rice balls are more exciting than most take out Japanese places (Though Oms/b still has nothing to worry about…)
  • It is not nearly as hectic as Cafe Zaiya, so you have time to decide what you want

THE -

  • It is a little more expensive… and with two cheaper bento box places on the same street, you may not want to spend the extra money
  • There is very little seating in the back, so you may have to take your food to go
  • There is no bakery!!!  (Where’s my beard papa???)

Chiyoda Sushi, 16 E. 41st (btw. Mad & 5th), 212-400-8880

12 Comments

  • Haha… Beard Papa is evil! The stuff looks delicious though :)

  • I think this is owned by the same people that own the Japanese grocery store on 59th Street between 3rd & 2nd that also has a selection of prepared sushi and a little hot food too, very cheap.

  • Just went as a first timer here. Can confirm that the avacodo and salmon tartar is $5.50. Bought it anyway and I have to admit it was worth it. Got that, an eel roll for $4.25 and a pumpkin salad (that’s more like a mash than a salad) for $3.00. $13.80 for lunch, I reasoned the splurge was justified because I made my own lunch all week. Pricey, but the quality is really good…

  • Just discovered the Chiyoda delivery man staked out on 50th bet 6/7th (right near the Au Bon Pain outdoor seating). He had beautiful disposable bento boxes full of their daily specials that are pre allocated to various Japanese business people who place orders and pick them up from the guy. When I stopped by to inquire, he said he had extra boxes for sale as well. So for $8.00, I got a box fith cod fish as well as chicken meatballs, stirfried pork and potatoes, japanese pickles and a big mound of rice. Great alternative for those of us working at 1221 but don’t have the time to get good japanese!

  • I used to enjoy Chiyoda but got tired of the incredibly RUDE service there. I’m an
    extremely polite gentleman and am a regular at many Japanese establishments, but have
    never experience such blatantly rude service anywhere.

  • I discovered Chiyoda on a wet Sunday afternoon when I was looking for Cafe Zaiya. Zaiya must be at its best on weekdays…the Sunday selection was not very good, and I began to wonder why it has such a good reputation. Then I wandered into Chiyoda. If Chiyoda is better on weekdays, I am unworthy of its splendor…seriously, it was WONDERFUL!! All the choices and the kind of freshness and selection you would not expect on a weekend. Most of my fellow customers were Asian tourists and Asian-American hipsters.

  • For those of you who had preferred Cafe Zaiya’s onigiri because they have that nifty plastic wrapper that keeps the nori crisp and away from the rice– Chiyoda has switched to this packaging!

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