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Restaurants & Bars 4

MINADO report

Andy T. | Sep 4, 2003 05:18 PM

Long time lurker, first time poster.

They've been open for at least a couple of weeks now over on 32nd and 5th, so I thought it would be fair to give it a try. For those who haven't read the messages on the NJ outposts, Minado is an AYCE Japanese buffet that concentrates on sushi. The Manhattan branch is in the former Empire Korea, home of one of my favorite Korean buffets. Lunch is 15 bucks, dinner 25, a couple of bucks more on weekends. Very clean, well-lit joint. Good AC. 5 greeters at
the door, Disney-friendly. Lots of sushi, made right behind the buffet by at least 6-7 chefs. Can request hand rolls to order. No eel at lunch :( , but all the other basics, at least 15 different types. Fish was fresh enough, a cut above Teriyaki Boy, but flavors did not "leap off the tongue".

Then, about 8-10 different cold salads (hijiki, Caesar), edamame, 8-10 hot plates (teriyaki chicken, mussels, "seafood paradise" on a scallop shell that reminded me of a similar dish at Mermaid Inn, gyoza), rice and noodles, and desserts (very Chinatown-type; you know, that spongy fruity cake they have).

No lobster at lunch, and if you read the Tri-State board, apparently the lobster availability at dinner in NJ is spotty as well. A card at the table notes a 30% surcharge if you "waste food". Beverages are extra. Men's bathroom is unchanged from Empire Korea days.

Bottom line: how much sushi can you stuff in your face for $17/$30 (after tax and tip)? The hot food is, at this early point, not worth it, below Empire Korea standards (which wasn't exactly 3 star, I'll admit) and not above your average $5.95/lb salad bar. If you can score a lot of unagi and some lobster (at dinner), it might be worth the money. I had no problem with the sushi, but it ain't no Jewel Bako or even Hasaki.

Check out minado.com for more info. The joint is huge, BTW, stretching an entire block.

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