First Look (And Taste) at Dainobu Japanese Deli

First Look: Dainobu

Dainobu, the new Japanese bento place/grocery store on 47th btw. Lex+3rd, quietly opened a few weeks ago and it looks like they are going to be some serious competition for Cafe Zest (on the same block).

First Look: Dainobu

Taking a page from the Yagura playbook, Dainobu is half grocery store (with all kinds of wet and dry Japanese ingredients) and half lunch spot.

First Look: Dainobu

In the front they have pre-packaged sushi, bento boxes, rice balls, and more.

First Look: Dainobu

First Look: Dainobu

First Look: Dainobu

In the way back they have soups and curry, and plan on adding more hot prepared foods.

I wasn’t necessarily planning on eating anything until I spotted something pretty amazing…

First Look: Dainobu

A soft shelled crab sushi roll for $5.50!?! You know how I feel about soft shelled crab, and this is about as cheap as it gets for a roll that will run you close to $10 at some sushi restaurants. Putting aside the soft shelled crab (which was pretty good), the rice was surprisingly well made for pre-packaged sushi. Still not as good as fresh made sushi, but for the pre-packaged take-away stuff, Dainobu might be my new goto place. And the price is definitely right.

There was one misstep though… I got all excited when I saw one of the rice balls labeled “raw salmon”, thinking that finally somebody had made a rice ball with raw fish (they’re almost always made with cooked salmon or tuna). Unfortunately they forgot one important word… eggs. It was raw salmon eggs- which I don’t mind, in theory, but it was still kind of disappointing.

Either way, it was a fine first effort and I will definitely be returning to Dainobu.

Dainobu, 129 E 47th St (btw. Lex+3rd)


  • This looks awesome. Someone needs to install one of these on the west side! by 8th ave!

  • Nice…need a new place to buy my sriracha sauce.

  • Yums, I love this style of place… even though I don’t work in Midtown :P

  • i like how it says miso soup three times on the front of the counter. They’re really pushing that miso.

  • you’re supposed to say it three times fast in a mirror

  • As long as it has Apple Gummy Candies …

    “Every drop of fresh apple juice, carefully pressed from the reddest apples, shinning in colors of the cheeks of a snow-country child, is yours to enjoy in each soft and juicy Kasugai Apple Gummy”

    … I’m all set.

  • I’ve been a couple of times. It’s a great option to have in the neighborhood (especially for the groceries and $1.25 Hi Chew’s — cheaper than any I’ve found in the area).

    I got the hot curry from the back of the store on my first visit and was underwhelmed. It doesn’t hold a candle to Yagura in my opinion. I went again today but with a co-worker. He got a rice ball that he wasn’t impressed with… not much filling, just a lot of rice. Still, the sushi is dirt cheap, so as long as they keep turning their stock over, it’s OK in my book!

  • I think your blog was right on point. In fact, one of the best I’ve ever read on this site. BTW, you look amazing in your photo! This Naomi girl rocks!

  • i am always looking for japanese places….luv to load up on japanese instant noodles and soup from the grocery part. :)

  • Just went today. Very clean, very nice employees, and super cheap. Most of their candy is priced at $.98. Even Pocky which is at least $1.99 everywhere else.

  • mmm mmm spicy tuna rice ball – and YES it is raw tuna, nicely spiced and well packed with filling. Not sure if I hit a freak accident or if it’s the motherload of all riceballs! Either way, can’t wait to tear into the dumplings and and finish off with a red bean cake!

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