Street Bentos From the Soon to Open Washoku Cafe

Washoku Cafe 
Chiyoda Sushi 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  Well it appears as if the Chiyoda guy has been replaced by another dude selling Japanese bento boxes out of plastic tubs in the same spot.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… 

Washoku Cafe 

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


  • Bento!!!!!

  • Impeccable research, Zach. You are like a pig hunting truffle when it comes to street food.

  • I feel alittle dirty for copy/pasting this, but alas: (In response to Yvo)

    “Im looking for a bento box, it cant be pinku (thats japanese for pink) or any girl color. It has to be of 2 or more kotoba (thats japanese for 2 compartments) and has be be chibi (small) sized. And has to be really kawaii (cute). Also It has to be about 10-20 bux. And you have to post pics of it first (i want to make shure it’s kawaii [cute]). And it would be nice if it came with matching chopstick holder (WITH chopsticks). OH! and it CANNOT have any cartoon pictures, or be made out of plastic. It has to be made of ceramic, or something like that. Also it would be nice if it was made in japan. and not in china or corea (korea) or whatever. I have found a bento box similar to the one im describing in e-bay, but it was 1 kotoba, and i dont want my gohan (rice) to touch my other things (it can get wet and i would not like that, plus 2 compartments looks more kawaii)”

  • @ AL@1PP

    That quote is close to the funniest thing ever posted on this site.

  • You ate mayo that had been sitting out under the midtown sun for three hours, Zach???

  • u do mean 37th between 5th and 6th right? not btw. Mad+5th.

    i work across the street and have been waiting for grand opening since i peeked in and saw hot buffet tables on monday. nothing ever ever happens on this block! wheeeeeee.

  • i did see this dude on tuesday around 12:15pm with his plastic wheely shelving unit of bento boxes on 50th st, due west of the daisy may cart. overheard someone asking him if “that’s all he had left” and dude mumbled “yes.” didn’t look like much to me, but i was in oms/b mode so i’m sure i didn’t look hard enough. don’t know about that mayo, but tempted to check it out.

  • @shauna – omg. i was there on tuesday… and i asked him if that was all he had left!

  • street creepy….

  • eeeps! street sushi would scare me too!

Leave a Reply

You must log in or register to post a comment.