723 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10017
(212) 682-5814

Kushi Q is where I go for lunch when I can't bear the thought of having another sandwich; when the idea of having more salad is enough to make me bring in a stick of pure butter wrapped in raw bacon just to spite the good-healthniks in the office that line up at Pax; when it makes no sense to stand in line at a Halal cart for food I know couldn't possibly be as good as the one down on the corner of Water Street and Gouverneur Lane, near where I used to work, was.

Kushi Q is the opposite of a sushi bar. It's a Japanese hot-food bar. There's no sushi to be found. Sushi bars have been cropping up like weeds and it's refreshingly different to go somewhere that's different, tastes good, and is still healthy and prepared fresh. It's a tiny place, with bar seating all along the wall opposite the grill, but I don't really recommend sitting here, since it's clear that the seats were chosen because they fit the minimalist white decor, not for their butt comforting capabilities. Actually, I sat on a brownstone stoop a week ago that was more forgiving.

The menu is mostly made up of what they call Kushiyaki, which could be Japanese for something that means "meat covered in a glazey sauce, or could be Kushi-Q's cute (qute?) way of saying Teriyaki. My Japanese is a little rusty. Or it would be if I ever took Japanese. The blog MidtownLunch refers to the type of food as Yakitori.

Though you can go for dinner, they close at 9 and have no tables, so you're better off taking your food to go. Um, such as to your desk like the rest of us.

A typical lunch will come with miso soup and the satay-style meat of your choice (chicken, beef, salmon, tofu, etc.) over a salad or rice for about seven or eight dollars. If you choose to get a can of diet Sprite like I do, tack on another buck. Kushi Q also serves sides like corn and French fries, and you can get unique bags of Japanese potato chips, like seaweed with sea salt, that probably aren't available at CVS. The food here is very good (or I wouldn't eat there as much as I do), relatively cheap, different from the norm, filling, and comes without the annoying baggage of guilt that comes from pizza or meatball subs.

Side Note: I was asked not to photograph the inside. Tsk tsk. Note to other restaurant folks: don't do that. (now please note how MidtownLunch was not asked to stop after taking one lousy photo)

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