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Raku II (It's Japanese!), Upper West Side - Volume Sushi on 76th St. and Columbus Ave.

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Looking for a last minute, good quality, moderately priced sushi place in NY isn't an easy task. There are so many in the mid range. And, most of those are pretty bad, comically overpriced, or both. And, we had an additional constraint of neighborhood.

That's what led us to this small, non-descript spot at the corner of 76th and Columbus on the Upper West Side. And, it delivered big time.

On the cost/quality spectrum, it compares most favorably to spots in DC like Sakana in Dupont or Kotobuki on MacArthur. But it's better.

A "boat" for two, served on a large wooden boat, was a deal at $55 with very generous portions of varied but traditional rolls, sashimi and sushi. Three thick slices each of white tuna, salmon and rich maguro. Big dragon roll. Cali roll. Sushi pairs of salmon, tuna, hamachi and ebi. More sashimi included four each of red snapper and fluke. A few others I can't recall. And, miso and a green salad included. We'd come in starving so ordered a dozen more sashimi split between tamago, yellowtail and

For the special occasion or expense account meal where real innovation and ultra high grade fish is desired, this of course isn't it. For that, Azuba, Yashuda, or Gari all work nicely at maybe $250-$500 for a couple depending on the normal a la carte and drink variables.

But, for an ample and surprisingly good assortment of the familiar a la carte sushi/omakase type offerings at very reasonable prices, tough to do much better than Raku II just north of Columbus Circle.

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