SoHo's Best Restaurants: This sleek sushi bar is part of an award-winning network of restaurants that also includes a bakery, after-hours chefs' hangout, an elegant cocktail bar and brand new fried chicken outpost in the East Village. Located on a leafy stretch of Thompson Street, Blue Ribbon sushi has intimate interiors and oodles of fan. Fight your way to the front to try to grab a seat at the sushi bar, where masterful chefs serve ultra-fresh fish, flawless sticky rice and an array of sake samplers. Daily specials can prove pricey, but it's hard to resist decadent monkfish liver or buttery sea urchin topped with sauteed shallots and succulent roe. Diet starts Monday, right?
Japanese: Nearly a decade after it opened, Blue Ribbon Sushi is still going strong, thanks to ultra-fresh fish served over perfectly sticky rice. If price is no object, order some of the day's specials, like melting sea urchin from Japan or chunks of king salmon. For non-sushi fans, the menu includes vegetable rolls and three kinds of California Rolls. Other choices include creative takes on dragon rolls, fresh sea urchin with cooked shallots and roe. A good selection of soups, salads and vegetarian dishes are also available. Order sake samplers or by the bottle from the well-stocked bar. Train: C, E to Spring St
Sushi, Asian: A sibling to the popular Blue Ribbon Restaurant, Blue Ribbon Sushi offers tantalizingly fresh, somewhat pricey choices in its modest SoHo digs. Good choices include creative takes on dragon rolls, fresh sea urchin and cooked shallots and roe. A good selection of soups, salads and vegetarian dishes are also available. Order sake samplers or by the bottle from the well-stocked bar. Business casual dress. Reservations not accepted. TRAIN: C, E to Spring St
SoHo's Best Restaurants: "This dimly lit date spot is generally packed, but arrive early in the afternoon for the less-crowded lunch service."
Best for SoHo's Best Restaurants Because: After more than ten years, Blue Ribbon remains the gold standard for downtown's best bait.
Japanese: "Arrive early for a seat in a large wooden booth or a spot at the sushi bar."
Best for Japanese Because: The Blue Ribbon group consistently brings a high quality to all of it's restaurants and Blue Ribbon Sushi is no exception.