THE KAERU KID: A small bite of the Big Apple

“When it’s 100 degrees in New York, it’s 72 in Los Angeles. When it’s 30 degrees in New York, in Los Angeles it’s still 72. However, there are six million interesting people in New York, and only 72 in Los Angeles.” — Neil Simon

I love New York and try to visit at least once a year, ideally just before the Tony Awards in June because of my love of live

CATCH A SHOW OR TWO ­— A connoisseur of Broadway and theater, The Kid frequents the Big Apple. He advises a visit to check out the latest shows in the city and trek through the city’s ethnic enclaves. The Apollo Theater (left): is a historic theater located in Harlem. photo by The Kaeru Kid

theater. I try to see the nominated shows before the awards.

For those who have never visited, the must-see sites include the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, a ride on the Staten Island Ferry, a subway ride, Times Square (the Visitors Center here and also the TKTS ticket booths that offer same-day discount tickets to Broadway shows), Central Park in the daytime (night can still be dangerous, and too bad Tavern on the Green has closed, although a museum of its past is here), Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall if the Rockettes are on the bill, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum (I was at Ground Zero on that day), and so much more. The list of museums is huge, and the ethnic neighborhoods deserve a visit. Sports fans will want to visit the Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden, Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, where the U.S. Tennis Open is played, and the list goes on and on.

I brought my children to New York when they were still froglets and took them to many of the above sites. When we were ready to leave, I asked them what was the one thing that impressed them the most and all three said, “All the cars are yellow.”

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Las Vegas Tidbits

Having just seen “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” I wanted to fly to Tokyo to taste his $300 dining experience. But Kabuto sounded like a cheaper experience right here in Las Vegas. There is no sign outside, but it is located in Seoul Plaza at 5040 Spring Mountain Road, where Raku and Monta restaurants also are located. Look for Nakamura-ya Trattoria and it is next door. (702) 676-1044.
You can order à la carte, but I recommend ordering either the nigri course ($48) or their $80 omakase (chef’s choice), the two main options. I tried the $48 dinner, which consisted of a complimentary shot of a sweet sake aperitif (but it would be better for dessert). They create it here by soaking fruits (pineapple in the past) in a huge bottle. If you ask, they will show you how they do it. This place is receiving rave reviews from sushi purists.

This is edomae (Edo style) sushi, so there is no refrigerated counter between you and the sushi master. The $48 version consists of 10 (count them) pieces. Most regular sushi places give two of each type, but here it is just one. I am not a big eater, but I would have left hungry without ordering additional items. If you like hand rolls with creative names and ingredients, do not come here. Other reviewers with more than two people had their orders confused. It’s best to sit at the small counter rather than the table, so include that request when making reservations. There is no banter with the sushi chef as is common; more help came from the waitress.

The sushi is served with one thin piece of seafood on a two-knuckle piece of rice lightly coated with their sauce.

There is no small dish to add wasabi and shoyu for dipping, unless you get the sashimi on the $80 menu. They use daiginjo shoyu — made by Odaya company — that’s available only in Japan. I ordered one sashimi to taste this shoyu and have to say it is slightly sweeter tasting, but one must really have to have an educated palate to notice any difference. It reminds me of when I was treated to an exclusive high-priced dinner with people from Japan. We started with matsutake mushroom soup. From the oohs and ahhs, it was ambrosia, but for me it was too subtle and made me feel like an inakappe or onoborisan “country bumpkin.”

The bottom line: This place is mecca for those who are willing to pay top price for seafood that isn’t found in other sushi emporiums.

The Kaeru Kid lives in Las Vegas and hopes readers will send him comments at The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Nichi Bei Weekly.

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