111 E 18th St, New York, NY | Directions 1000340.736802 -73.987810
Monday To Thursday From 12:00 PM To 03:00 PM Monday To Thursday From 05:00 PM To 11:00 PM Friday From 12:00 PM To 03:00 PM Friday From 05:00 PM To 11:30 PM Saturday From 05:00 PM To 11:30 PM
Japonais is just one more of those prodigious, Japanese inflected restaurants that you find all over New York City these days.
You enter and know that you’ve “been there, done that”.
Though the space is pretty, I didn’t feel as if it had any of distinctiveness that its counterparts Morimoto, Megu or Nobu do.
The food was mediocre at best. A few sprinkles of togarashi and dashes of furikake made some of the dishes pop but others fizzled just as quickly.
Take for example their highly recommended tuna flatbread. To me it was a cheesy mess that was not far from a flat-bread pizza. I had no way of even knowing that there was any tuna embedded in there.
Equally disappointing was their tuna sashimi which came standing poker straight. It was one of the worst cuts of sashimi I have had in recent time. Their acclaimed spicy mono roll was rather tasty but I thought their sushi rice in general was really badly made. What I did enjoy was their crab cake, the burger and their kabocha pumpkin cheesecake.
The service was super friendly and the lounge area is the place to be.
If you want to experience the best of Japonais, then go during their “tasting hour” which is offered throughout the week. This is when you can munch on $7 small plates of food with equally well-priced cocktails.
Good Food, Nice Atmosphere, Terrible Waiter – I thought the food was beautifully presented and for the most part very good. The restaurant is beautiful and the bus boys were very quick. HOwever, our biggest complaint was the waiter. Once he realized we were not going to order more cocktails, he did not ONCE come to the table to see if we needed anything. We had to request more fountain drinks, water and a dessert menu. It goes to show you what a huge difference the experience can be when you have good service.
So disappointing – Years ago, when Japonais first opened, I was so excited to go because I had been to Japonais Chicago several times and loved it. My first encounter with Japonais NYC after they opened was terrible, but I attributed it to the fact that they had just opened and obviously did not have their act together. Since that time, I have been back several times for lunch, figuring that they would be more attentive at that time since lunch time is usually slower than dinner. My experiences for lunch were better, albeit still not great and with very slow service.
Last night I returned during restaurant week with a friend who had never been. I had really hoped that the place had turned around, but judging by the nearly empty establishment at prime dinner time and during restaurant week, I gathered it hadn't changed much. Our server wasn't bad, and the bus boys kept it moving, filling our water glasses, etc. The food was good, not very plentiful, but we were not that hungry, and we had ordered off the restaurant week menu so no complaints there. By the time we ordered the check, the experience was nothing to write home about, but good and nothing to really complain about either.
Here is where the problem I have comes in: we get the check and give the server our credit cards for him to split the bill between the two. Our credit slips come back, and he had added a 20% gratuity to our bill when he ran our cards through. Let me first say that my friend and I (having both been servers and bartenders earlier in our lives) always tip 18-20% unless service is REALLY bad, so it isn't as if we wouldn't have tipped that much anyway. This was not the problem. The problem I have is with (a) doing that for a party of 2 when your menu states you will do that for a party of 6 or more (which is generally considered to be standard practice) and (b) not even putting that on the bill you bring to us, but then giving yourself the liberty to just add it on to our credit cards! What nerve! He did it to the couple at the table next to us, too, and they were just as upset even though their experience had been a decent one up until that point, too.
I am not sure if this is the restaurant's doing or the server's doing, but I really didn't appreciate it. My days of giving this restaurant the benefit of doubt are over. There are plenty of other really good restaurants (and very similar ones, too) in the city that have great service and don't try to pull a fast on one you.
Horrible Service-they ruined our group dinner – We made a reservation for a group only to arrive and find they had booked another group at our table. We were forced to sit upstairs on couches with our group separated. We had one waitress for about 50 people in our area. It took forever to get a drink. We ordered food and waited a long time only to discover they forgot 5 peoples orders. The waitress was rude and the manager was not helpful. I left after being there for 2+hours STARVING with my dinner in a bag that they rushed up to us as we were walking out the door.
will never go back – The service was terribly slow, and the food was awful. Fishy fish, soggy calamari, everything drenched in too much sauce, and WAY overpriced. there are so many other choices for restaurants in this area, I'm sorry I wasted my time and money at this restaurant. I cannot believe the positive reviews on this place. If you know the difference between a good restaurant and a bad one, don't go here.
Great Bar Experience – I went to Japonais to meet a date and I was a bit early so I decided to have a drink at the bar. The Asian (I'm not sure of her background but she's definitely a mix of something-very beautiful.....) female bartender was very attentive and friendly. My date came and we ended up having dinner at the bar. I was having such a great time that I didn't see the point of moving to the main dining. Everything she suggested were delicious. I especially love the tuna ceviche and beef carpaccio. The bar suddenly became so busy but she made sure that we were ok by checking on us every now and then. I would definitely go back but without a date this time.
Amazing spot in a area of the city with few options – I loved the atmosphere. It was elegant and perfect for a date night. I have had been there a couple of times for business lunches but not in the evening. Little different experience when the bill is on your tab not the companies!
GOOD JOB! – I went to japonais for a dinner with my gf last saturday. it was packed.
the dining room was very well decorated and had a great ambience.
It was definetely less pretentious than other asian fusion restaurants like morimoto.
i felt very comfortable here as all the staffs were accomodating. It seems like accomodating servers are hard to find in new trendy restaurants.
I had a very comfortable and enjoyable dinner and my gf loved it all as well. It was not the best dinner i have had but it was much better than I expected and would be back frequently here for sure. highly recommended!
Great food, atmosphere, pricing – I have been here before at the bar upstairs and greatly enjoyed the gorgeous atmosphere that made up the entire venue. My girlfriend and I ordered off the Price Fix dinner menu and fell in love with everything. I would highly recommend this place to anyone looking for a nice place to enjoy a wine or for a romantic dinner in a lovely neighborhood.
Most reliable Review~ – As I read reviews of this place, I was reluctant on coming here but i took the chance. The atmostphere here is awesome however; I must agree that the service sucked. I waited over an hour for my entree. I dont think they care about how they treat their customers. why?? B/c i noticed 20% tip is already included in the bill. No wonder they could care less. This is just a fair warning that they add 20% gratuity automatically and the service is really bad.
Atmosphere and food is ok but service needs a lot of work. Trust me along w/ all the other negative reviews~ Not worth wasting 2 hrs of your night there just for dinner b/c its more waiting than enjoying your time there.
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