Bessou

4.7
54 reviews
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$30 and under
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Japanese
Bessou offers a modern take on everyday Japanese comfort food. Our ingredients are responsibly sourced and prepared with care, with a menu that is driven by local and seasonal produce.
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Japanese
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Hours of operation
Sunday-Thursday Dinner: 5:30pm - 11:00pm
Friday-Saturday Dinner: 5:30pm-11:30pm
Weekend Brunch: 11:00am - 3:00pm
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Phone number
(212) 228-8502
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Emily Yuen
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Catering
We offer a wide array of services for catering, office lunch, and bentos! Please contact us at konnichiwa@bessou.nyc for more information.
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Bowery and Elizabeth Street
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Special events & promotions
Let us help you celebrate. We can accommodate small parties of 10 or 20 up to 50-person seated brunches/dinners and up to 75 people for a standing cocktail reception. Email us at konnichiwa@bessou.nyc for more information!
Additional
Beer, Cocktails, Counter Seating, Non-Smoking, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 54 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.5
service
4.3
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
97% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

Most awful experience. Server was inattentive. We had all the food at once with a super small table. We quickly finished one dish so that it can be cleared away but our server never attended us even after calling her for 20 mins. The food was so bad that we couldn’t finish it up (we don’t like to/never waste food!) The host was the worst of all... we paid 15% tip as the service was simply awful, and when she saw, she rolled her eyes and snatched the machine out of my hand immediately after i signed. No goodbye no thank you. Just an unkind and malicious glare. Worst restaurant ever. Would never recommend this to anyone.

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SR
Los Angeles
29 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

I love Bessou so much. I live in LA but always have to dine here when I'm in town. It is casual but lovely, and the food is just so delicious. Every bite you take will be a revelation and a food moaning sound. The staff is great, the menu is amazing, the sake is fabulous, and it's just a really fun spot.

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OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 4

Tasty food

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ND
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Fantastic, interesting food, great service. Always amazed by unusual flavor combinations when I try new dishes, though it's hard to resist going back to favorites. Nice sake list.

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JA
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love it at Bessou. The inventive and delicious food always surprises my guests.

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TB
Atlantic City
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We try to make a stop at Bessou every time we make a visit back to NYC. There is always something new to try on the menu and we are never disappointed by the food or the Sake recommendations!

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KS
New York Area
103 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Always a go to in the neighborhood - inventive dishes and fabulous friendly service.
The combinations of tastes, from the barley tea starter to desserts is a marvel. Each dish
is distinctive in its own way and the presentation is picture perfect

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OS
New York Area
16 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Among the most creative and delicious East Asian influenced food I’ve had. Excellent selection of options from appetizers, soups and salads to small plates and entrees, intriguing teas and enchanting desserts. With one notable exception: no forethought given to those who are gluten-free. Easily could have offered option to prepare dishes with gluten-free soy sauce, but alas, no. That’s why I’ve marked down service in this review; server was gracious and appropriately attentive, but was caught off guard by the presence of someone who is gluten free. Seating could have used cushions. But if gluten is not an issue, this restaurant is to be treasured and visited often.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on September 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really loved this place. Innovative take on Japanese cuisine. The grilled romaine was awesome. Really enjoyed the smashed potatoes, too.

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NB
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 1

The food here was exceptional; everything was memorably delicious. But the dining experience was made a lot less pleasant because the noise level was extermely high. If I come back, I will make a point of coming at a much earlier hour in hopes of being able to have a real conversation with my dining companion.

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MW
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Service and food were excellent. The only complaint is that when the restaurant got busier the noise level was too loud. I couldn't hear my companion, which was frustrating. They need insulation for sound!

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JA
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on August 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing inventive cuisine, prepared and served with great care and consideration.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Such an amazing experience. It truly gives you that “home away from home” vibe.

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s
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic food and service in a cozy but modern space. Go with a group so you can try lots of things, you won’t regret it. In particular, the fried chicken, the rice “cracker” toasts, the sardines, and the smashed potatoes were standouts. Stellar sake selection also.

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s
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on July 23, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

Amazing food. Crispy rice and beans and shishito peppers were phenomenal

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d
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on July 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food, creative modern take on classic Japanese flavors. Excellent service from the friendly staff in comfortable atmosphere makes this one of my favorite restaurants in downtown NYC.

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4
San Francisco
22 reviews
Dined on June 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Love this place. Everything is just delicious amazing what comes out of the small kitchen. We had a big table of 9 and everything was great and they were very accommodating. We had sparkling sake very good!

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b
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on May 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved the clams, crispy rice, and mochi crepe dessert (the strawberry powder paired so nicely with the chocolate, azuki, and mint). Also enjoyed the green beans and shishito, and the karage. Complementary iced barley tea is a nice touch. Overall the food was delicious, modern, and creative, yet casual and unpretentious. Service was friendly and approachable. This place feels like a hidden gem. Really hope it sticks around!!

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E
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Brunch was phenomenal. Get the miso salmon sandwich and add on the bacon and salmon roe. You won't regret it.

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LP
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 18, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Food was great! Love that everything was shareable and you can try lots of options. Good sake choices. Would recommend to a friend 😎.

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RW
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I went here for Mother’s Day dinner and had a great experience overall. The standout dishes were their deviled eggs and the chicken karaage. The mackerel and trout dishes were a bit under seasoned but decent otherwise.

The shrimp and pork belly dish was probably the most disappointing, as they were both over cooked. The sauce however was superb and went very well with rice.

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EC
New York Area
131 reviews
Dined on May 5, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Very friendly service, buzzy atmosphere. Great food all around...loved the crispy rice w/ yellowtail jalapeño and the chicken karaage!

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OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on April 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great home style Japanese that’s hard to come by in new york

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D
Vancouver
19 reviews
Dined on April 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This place is a little gem on bleeker street. The food was incredibly delicious and beautifully presented. We had the pickles, the insanely tasty smoked egg, and the hijiki salad from the small bites. They were all yummy - the egg was our favorite of the night. We also had a crispy salmon rice - like a crispy rice cake with thinly sliced salmon, the tempura udon, and the sashimi bowl. Every bite was amazing.

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C
1 review
Dined on April 21, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 4

poor service (not consistent and extremely slow to respond)
great food

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j
New York Area
24 reviews
Dined on April 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious food that is not typically found at most Japanese restaurants. Fantastic and helpful service.

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r
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on April 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

great brunch spot. something different than the usual fare

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KS
New York Area
103 reviews
Dined on March 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Amazing assotment of dishes - each small or large dish was a fantastic melange
of tastes - whether it's the appetizers or small bites or hot pots, each taste is unique as
well as beautifully presented. Even the barley tea, on the table instead of water, is uniquely
delicious. Only drawback is it's tiny - and definitely suggest checking hours and reservations.
Wonderfully situated on the LES and Tribeca - close to The Public Theatre

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LG
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on March 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

cute and delicious!

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n
New York Area
17 reviews
Dined on March 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved the quaint restaurant with amazing food! We had almost one of everything at brunch and nothing disappointed. Amongst the four of us, each had different favorites, so I'd say there is something delicious for everyone!

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BM
New York Area
1 review
Dined on March 3, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

We sat at the front of the restaurant near the window/door. It was a cold, windy night in NYC and the constant opening and closing of the door meant that I was hit with gusts of freezing air every few minutes or so. This obviously wouldn't be an issue for everyone in the restaurant, but took away from my dining experience nonetheless.
The food? Ehh. 3 of the 4 dishes we ordered had similar unidentifiable, heavy creamy white sauces. These included the salmon crispy rice, scallop and uni, and soy cured egg. The scallop and uni was disgusting - somehow simultaneously bland and fishy - and for $18 it felt offensive. Easily one of the worst dishes I've had recently.
The short rib hotpot had the most potential, but for $33, again, felt overpriced.
My bf and I each had one glass of wine, mainly because no one came by to ask if we wanted another round.
Won't be returning :(

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GG
New York Area
11 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I've been to Bessou quite a few times and it's always great. The food here is a creative take on Japanese cuisine, but while foodie-ish, it also feels like homestyle comfort food. From the homestyle bites, I love the difference that the charcoal salt makes in their version of edamame (which just might be sauteed, I'm not sure), but I also enjoy the tart Japanese pickles and the smoked pickled egg. As far as starter dishes go, I'm a huge fan of the Grilled Romaine, which is less of a salad than it is an enormous, umami rich upgrade from a stuffed endive. Not quite sure what the crunchy topping on it is, but with that and the creamy dressing it's definitely one of my favorites, and like nothing I've had anywhere else.

I've recently been having their hotpots, which are super apropos for the surprisingly wintery weather we've been having of late. I went to try a seafood Yosenabe special with a friend one night and it was full of shrimp, crabs legs and clams, with a rich broth that was full flavored but not heavy, and one serving was a good amount for two people to share. A chicken version of the hotpot came topped with tempura-fried, julienned vegetable. It was super tasty and just as filling, although after a while the fried topping got a bit much for me (although my dining partner and I still finished it off).

Service is great here, and they're always friendly and attentive without being in your face. Bessou is one of my go-to restaurant staples in NYC, and well worth trying if you haven't been yet.

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CK
Cincinnati
10 reviews
Dined on February 25, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Good brunch service and menu; authentic Japanese breakfast in a casual setting.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I had the fried sardine sandwich—it was delicious, but it would have been better if it came with more food (veggie or carb sides).

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s
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on February 18, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Very unique menu, great service, but the food was just OK. The Udon with tempura was greasy and not much flavor. The uni crispy rice was nice. Overall average restaurant. Had potential with their unusual take on Japanese food, but fell short.

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 17, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Excellent quality, creative take on Chinese cuisine

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KS
New York Area
103 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing bit of culinary magic - this Japanese brunch menu (they serve dinner) was fanastic and beautiful and sooo yummy. Different assortment of tastes and combinations - loved every bite.

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W
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on January 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Warm and cozy atmosphere, and nice welcoming services. Food is fantastic, not the usual type of Japanese food but with a slight fusion twist. Went for brunch on a cold Sunday morning, and ordered the Eggplant Shakshuka, Japanese Breakfast Set, Wagyu Beef and Egg, Filet-O-Iwashi, and the Banana Hotcakes Foster. The banana hot cakes foster were one of the best hot cakes I've ever had. The Filet-O-Iwashi was amazingly good. The sardines were fried to perfection, with soft potato roll, pickled daikon & onions, and the wasabi aioli, they all made it into a light & refreshing sandwich. Also they serve one of the best coffee in town. It sought of have all the notes that good coffee should have, full bold flavor, a bit of acidity but not too much, slight floral notes and sweetness. Really looking forward to go back and try their dinner menu.

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EB
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food, service and atmosphere were all great. Wagyu beef, fried chicken, grilled romaine, hot pot, crispy rice , Brussels sprouts- everything we ordered was done well and everyone thought it was one of the best and most interesting meals we have had for a long time.

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d
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on December 18, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love this restaurant. Great blend of old world quality with new world innovation.

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