If you're flying to New York, head to Pennsylvania, widely acknowledged as the diner capital of the US. You can do day hikes in the mountains, see some pleasant if not beautiful cities (Philly and Pittsburgh) and eat classic diner food (scrapple, cheesesteaks, mounds of pancakes). Not too far to drive, and also home of the birth of the American interstate. Also much cheaper than staying anywhere near New York.
This South Street sushi house is the kind of place I'd imagine one could find in Japan. It's rather small, so it's not geared towards romantic or fancy dining. It's more of a great lunch, quick dinner, or, as it generally closes at 11pm (or 11:30 pm on the weekends) late night sushi spot. As for the sushi itself, it's very good and the prices are reasonable. They offer the best spider roll (a soft shell crab maki roll) I've ever had. You can get it in 12 peices for just over $10, which can be a meal in itself. And if you live close by, they even deliver.
240 South St, Philadelphia, PA.
Maki House on Citysearch: philadelphia.citysearch.com/profile/37946380/philadelphia_pa/maki_house.html
Higher Grounds has been around for less than a year, but is already a staple of the Northern Liberties neighborhood. The people are friendly, the food is tasty, and the atmosphere is great. Complete with free Wifi and good music, this is a place you can hang out in for a while. Especially since they're open until 11pm on Friday and Saturday. For something different, try their green tea latte.
631 North 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA.
Via Septa: Take the Market-Frankford El to Spring Garden. Walk to 3rd then head north. URL: www.highergroundscafe.com
This Japanese restaurant in Center City, close to the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood, is fantastic. It features two floors of Japanese cuisine, with a cocktail bar on the third floor and karaoke bar on the fourth. The food is great, and the kitchen is open until 1:30am every night of the week. A friend sent me the link to their site as we were searching for late night sushi, and I was amazed at what he'd found. For late night dining, they seat you on the second floor, with its subdued lighting and intimate atmosphere. I love this place. Can't recommend it enough.
2030 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA. URL: fujimt.com
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