By GISSETTE TAVERAS rolls.jpg Sunday was the start of Japanese Restaurant Week (March 4- March 10th). This entire week, participating Japanese restaurants will open their doors to anyone who wants to try Japanese food in make New Yorkers aware of the great service and versatility in Japanese restaurants.

If you are like me, the thought of raw fish makes you a bit squeamish. However, fear not, there are lots of fully-cooked dishes to choose from. You can enjoy the many different rolls each Japanese restaurant offers. One of my favorites is the Spider roll consisting of fried soft-shell crab, lettuce, avocado and cucumber (ingredients my vary).

Feel free to try the gyoza for a starter-dish, fried or pan-seared dumplings often served with a vinegar dressing. Can’t decide on what to get? Then try a Bento Box. The Bento Box offers a little bit of everything. You get an order of california roll; a main dish which usually consists of chicken (beef or salmon teriyaki), steamed dumplings, vegetable/shrimp tempura, small garden salad with ginger dressing, and a small cup of rice. Believe me, you will be left satisfied and very full.

Aside from the dazzling dishes, the atmosphere at Japanese restaurants is awesome and relaxing. There is a hint of music lingering in the background with dim lighting. One of my favorite restaurants to visit for lunch is Monster Sushi.They offer fast service for those with a time crunch. As soon as I walk in they bring me a nice steamed towel to help clean my hands.

Still not convinced? How about the fact that you get to eat with chop-sticks. Once you master the sticks, it makes eating Japanese food that more enjoyable. I am looking forward to trying out new dishes during this week. Log on to JPRW.net to find local participating restaurants.

And hurry- Japanese Restaurant Week in NYC ends this Saturday!