More From Dainobu: The Good, The Bad, & The Udon

Kathy YL Chan, the author of the most excellent blog A Passion For Food, and Midtown Lunch’s resident Hawaiian expert, went to the new Japanese grocery store Dainobu (on 47th btw. Lex+3rd) the other day and uploaded these photos to the ML Flickr Pool:


Curry Rice… she said it was “just decent. Not good, not bad. Just rice with curry out of a box.” In other words, their curry won’t be replacing Yagura or Go Go Curry anytime soon.

Udon and more is after the jump…


Her friend had the Udon and said it was just plain and ordinary. (The photos look good anyway!)

This all seemed to be confirmed in the comments by heWho:

“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!”

But not everything is a failure… apparently the spicy tuna rice balls are raw tuna! (Very exciting, since most places serve a cooked tuna fish kind of filling in their rice balls.) From LHT: “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!”

I still stand behind their soft shelled crab sushi!┬áKeep the reports coming… and if you take photos of any of your lunches, email them to or post them to the ML Flickr Photo Pool

First Look (And Taste) at Dainobu Japanese Deli


  • Despite complaints, the curry looks pretty good. Yagura’s curry is good but they serve in those tins and it’s not really good when your on the go.

    Despite complaints, I think I will still try the place out. Although it might not beat places out of midtown reach (Sunrise Mart!)

  • Had the recommended spider roll, a rice ball, and some seaweed salad yesterday. Roll and ball were excellent, although I agree with the assertion that the rice ball was underfilled. The seaweed salad just tasted “off” though.

    I’m torn. I’m a big-time lover of Cafe Zest… but they don’t have spider rolls like this! But Zest has much better baked goods… What to do?

  • I like that coral reef thing in the udon! What is that?

  • i went twice this week. a few days ago i stocked up on some much needed asian groceries (you can get frozen ‘fresh’ (as in not dried) udon) and various asian veggies – today i had one of the salads, which has a healthy mix of greens, seaweed (3 different kinds), pea shoots, carrots, tomato, a choice bw 3 asian dressings etc for 3.99! and a raw spicy tuna rice ball on the side which was really good. ive been having a hard time finding a midtown salad (or even a salad buffet) with a variety of vegetables – so for those of who try to get your veggies sometimes you shouuld try this one instead of all those bland overpriced neighborhood salads.

  • i went here last night after the gym (gotta burn off some of those midtown lunch calories!) and all the fresh-made stuff was 50% off. which meant a riceball and five “berkshire pork” links for a grand total of just over $2. i don’t know when they start the discount, but they’re open till 9 on weekdays, so it’s gonna be my new post-gym snack place. i agree that the food is pretty mediocre, but my cheapness outweighs my reservations on that matter.

  • That coral thing is Tempura. Now what kind of tempura…not sure.

  • I actually went to the place for the first time this past weekend with my boyfriend. I liked it! I can’t really talk up much about the fresh food, but the grocery store part is sweet. I travel to japan several times a year, and when I come back to the states I’m always bummed out at the lack of selection at the grocery stores and konbini’s here. They’re all pretty cookie cutter and offer the same stuff. But at Dainobu I actually found new things I’ve never seen before. New can coffee brands and new 0 calorie diet drinks, along with new snack. I was pleasantly surprised to find more of the actual stuff I buy over there.

    As for the food, my bf tried some of that. His opinion of the curry was the same, okay, slightly sweet, pretty generic. Good, but no Go-Go Curry. He liked the rice balls alright and found them better the Cafe Zest that we tried right afterwards.

    Can’t say much about the premade, but I give a big thumbs up for the selection. Will be hitting here more often.

  • ADMIN, how is this a “latest comment”. This is just a rehash of a thread from 2009. Is this place still in business?

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