Restaurant Row has gotten a new welcome addition in the form of a Japanese steakhouse chain called Ikinari. This location at 368 West 46th Street, opens tonight. With locations already at 90 East 10th Street and 154 Seventh Avenue, openings are scheduled for 96 Eighth Avenue, 455 Park Avenue, 37 West 46th Street, 243 and West 54th. Ikinari founder Kunio Ichinose and stateside operator Takashi Tsuchiyama have said that they want to open at least 20 locations in Manhattan within the next five years.
At the restaurant, people order steak by the ounce. A 10.6-ounce of sirloin costs $24 at lunch. The seating is on low seating countertops and you will be sharing communal tables. In the Japanese versions customers stand.
The restaurant will surprise many eaters as a host shows you to a table and takes your drink and side orders. Definitely order the flavorful Garlic Pepper Rice ($8) with little chunks of steak and corn in it. This was actually my favorite part of the menu. There is also plain salads, radish salads and mugs of beef broth. These are only ok.
You then place your order for cuts of Ribeye, tenderloin, filet, or a mixed plate of all three. There is also wild steak. You choice the ounces (between $2.8o and $3.20 an ounce) and temperature. They will weigh it out in front of you. All the steaks comes with corn, green beans, potatoes, broccoli or onions and a wonderful flavored butter. At your countertop there are a varied variety sauces to add, but I found the butter to be enough.
When your steak arrives at your countertop on a sizzling platter the air is filled with the scent of charred beef. This wet-aged meat (choice grade, from Illinois) is surprisingly good, well-seasoned, and nicely grilled.
Amendments to the restaurant are a plastic bibs to keep from getting splattered as your steak sizzles, attendants that wear clear masks and heated toilet seats and mouthwash.
Surprisingly my guest and I had a leisurely meal that was quite enjoyable and I will definitely be back.
Ikinari Steak: 368 West 46th Street