Street Bentos From the Soon to Open Washoku Cafe
Remember when I wrote about the bento boxes Chiyoda Sushi (on 41st btw. Mad+5th) was selling out of plastic tubs on 49th btw. 6+7th? Well it appears as if the Chiyoda guy has been replaced by another dude selling Japanese bento boxes out of plastic tubs in the same spot. This new guy is from the Washoku Cafe, a new Japanese lunch place that is opening soon on 37th btw. Mad+5th. The actual storefront isn’t set to open for a little while, but in the meantime you can sample their food from this random sidewalk vendor. Every day he’s on 49th btw. 6+7th with different bentos, rice bowls, noodle dishes, sushi and rice balls (omusubi). Almost everything is $6 to $7.50, and depending on the day he’ll offer anything from eel ($9) to beef bowls ($6), sushi sets ($7.50) to cold udon and soba ($6).
The guy is only out there until around 12:30/12:45 so by the time I showed up yesterday the pickings were slim. What I got is after the jump…
The choice between a ginger pork rice bowl and sushi that’s been sitting in a giant plastic tub on the hot sidewalks of Midtown, is not really any choice at all. I’m all for buying strange seafood off the street, but there is something about unrefrigerated sushi that even keeps me away. The pork was sliced really thin, so it was tender and fatty in the best possible way. The bowl is mostly rice (not a ton of meat) and I could have done without the glob of mayo underneath the shredded cabbage, but all and all it was real tasty, and still kind of hot (although that probably had more to do with the sun than whatever pan it was in at 10 a.m.)
If you don’t like leaving your lunch up to chance, the guy has a menu print out in Japanese and English that changes every week. You can even call in your order (347-852-2385) if you know what they are serving that day. It’s not necessarily as good as the Japanese Trinity on 41st btw. Mad+5th (Zaiya/Chiyoda/Yagura), but if you work in the area, it’s a nice change of pace.
There is no opening date set for the Washoku Cafe on 37th btw. Mad+5th, and I’m not exactly sure what the place is going to be like, but it’s pretty safe to assume it will be like Cafe Zaiya or Chiyoda sushi. If you’ve been to Washoku Tei on 2nd Ave. btw. 53+54th, it’s the same owners, sort of. The restaurants are owned by a team, and it looks like one of the owners has broken away to open the cafe. Very scandalous! No word on whether or not they’ll continue serving bentos on 49th after they do open.
Washoku Cafe, 9 E. 37th St. (btw. Mad+5th) Coming Soon
Street Bentos: on 50th btw. 6+7th between Noon(?) and 12:30/12:45