Image via Flickr by Tiffany Tan

While New York is seemingly overflowing with sushi, ramen, and other Japanese-styled restaurants, it still proves difficult to find truly authentic Japanese food in the city. Rather than the boring California roll and cheap, boxed ramen, we at Untapped Cities are searching for fresh, traditional Japanese restaurants that seemingly transport us to the country itself. For those craving authentic Japanese cuisine, check out these six restaurants in New York City

6. Gaijin

Image via Gaijin

Gaijin is an under-the-radar gem in Astoria, which offers a truly unique omakase experience. The brainchild of Executive Chef/Partner Mark and Co-Owner Jay Zheng, Gaijin’s modern take on Japanese eats includes speciality a la carte menu items like Donburi (rice bowls), temaki (hand rolls) and Robata (Japanese charcoal grill) cooked fare.

The omakase, however, is the real shining star of the menu. Changing seasonally, the omakase experience begins with an appetizer, followed by a soup and then a variety of nigiri pieces that are expertly crafted using a delicate combination of fish, rice, toppings and signature sauce flavors. Menu highlights include the Kasugo Dai (baby red snapper) brushed in the chef’s special soy and topped with shiso leaf, monkfish liver, spicy daikon and crushed sesame, in addition to the Aburi Toro (seared fatty tuna) stacked with chives, buttery aomuri uni and luxurious beluga caviar, and seared A-5 Wagyu with garlic olive oil and Hokkaido uni. Pair your meal with a bit of wine or sake for an unforgettable culinary journey.

Address: 37-12 31st Avenue, Astoria, NY 11103

5. Hakubai

Image via FlickrMeng He

This hidden restaurant located within The Kitano Hotel in Murray Hill offers a unique menu of authentic Kaiseki cuisine. Kaiseki food, a variety of Japanese cuisine, comes from the practices of Zen Buddhism and the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Along with fresh sushi and sashimi, guests can enjoy a variety of unique dishes.

Guests can visit the main dining room, or reserve a privately-booked Tatami room where meals are enjoyed on rice straw mats without shoes. The food is served on an elegant collection of porcelain, potter, and lacquer dishware at specifically timed intervals throughout the day.

Address: 66 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016

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