This standby was around long before the East Village became New York City’s unofficial Japantown. Opened in 1984 by Bon Yagi -- the empire-builder behind Sobaya, Otafuku, and Sake Bar Decibel -- the neighborhood staple continues to rock out with its sashimi out, thanks to high-quality fish and affordable prices. The lunchtime platters are especially good deals.
Sometimes, those sushi cravings call for regular old boring rolls. But OTHER times, they call for crazy, over-the-top, O, M, G rolls. When you're dealing with the latter, this is the place to get ‘em -- the date night favorite doesn’t skimp on creativity when it comes to its specialty rolls (like the Bumble Bee, with spicy crab meat, cucumber, mango, or the Park Avenue, with tuna, salmon, radish sprouts), but Watawa also knows when to dial down the modernist accents. The sushi and sashimi assortments are refreshingly simple and rely solely on the freshness of the fish.