We live in the East Village and this is one of our favorite spots in a neighborhood with a mind-boggling wealth of culinary options.
I hesitated to post about this for fear of the secret getting out, but I figured Chowhounds needed to know. For those of us who love Japanese food but have come to realize, as one will in the first 5 minutes off the plane in Japan, that Sushi is really a minuscule part of the cuisine, Chiyono is the place. It's what I would describe as homestyle Japanese food, but very artfully prepared: Miso steamed Cod and Mackerel, Agedashi tofu, simmered pork belly in soy sauce, potato croquettes, japanese yam, oyster rice, in small to medium size portions, unfussy, simple, delicious, and satisfying.
It's a strightforward clean and pleasing environment, in that Zen kinda way, tucked in between various samey Indian joints on 6th Street's Curry Row. The place is mostly taken up by a long dark wood communal table. They have a short list of excellent sakes and beer and wine. It is run by owner / chef Chiyono, who imports and uses things like natural sea salt from Okinawa and special pickled plums from her mother's organic garden in Japan.
It is still somewhat undiscovered, been there about a year I think, so ripe for the Chowhound crowd. not sure about reservations and a bit hard to spot. It's at 328 6th Street between First and Second Avenues, 212.673.3984, but it took a few passes for us to find it.