I call it the best Japanese restaurant in the city or Brooklyn. The best atmosphere and music (plenty of Clash!) but not loud or dark. Reminds me of the college hangouts in Kyoto by the University with the great fast katsu AND delicious fresh sushi AND fantastic creamy Ramen! They will even make the "corn butter ramen" popular in Hokaido if you ask....
I have been going there since about 1989, BEFORE I could afford to take myself out to eat and had to be invited out by my dad. The place hasn't changed or sold out and is still staffed by authentic Japanese transplants working up money for their fashion or rock or design careers.
The unagi is always warm and melts in your mouth, the salmon skin roll is also slightly melty with that good fish fat. They only serve the fish that looks good and the sole sashimi is sweet and clean, ummmm!
And don't forget to try the all-time-favorite of students in Japan: Katsu Kury: a lightly breaded pokr cutlet served with sweet curry and snappy red pickles.
And I just wanted to say that I lived in Japan for 2 years in the 90's AND I haven eatten at every Japanese place from 14th St. in Manhattan to Union St. in Brooklyn and for overall satisfaction of food and atmosphere and authenticity and good intentions, Sapporo East is the BEST!!!