OyakodonPalooza: Sunrise Mart and Yagura vs Sapporo
Come tax season it’s a tradition of mine to visit Cafe Zaiya (41st btw. Mad+5th) every time I go see my accountant (his office is just around the corner, lucky guy). But now with the addition of Sunrise Mart, deciding where to eat on 41st St just got a bit tougher- although on my most recent visit the fact that I hadn’t been to the new Sunrise Mart yet made the decision a bit easier. I walked straight to the back and ordered their oyakodon, the Japanese rice bowl with chicken and egg. I wanted to compare the version at Sunrise Mart to the version I had at Sapporo few weeks ago.
And then I realized I should probably go to Yagura too (the ugly duckling of the Japanese stores on that street). After all, they serve oyakodon as well. So how do all 3 oyakodons compare to one another? Will I ever get tired of eating oyakodons? Let’s fine out.
One of the great things about Sunrise Mart is the open kitchen. You can stare at the guy making your lunch, and see exactly what he puts inside while he does it. Unlike Yagura and Sapporo, you have a choice of white or brown rice for your rice bowl. I stuck with white rice and moments after placing my order I got a fresh bowl of oyakodon (topped with pickled ginger and scallions).
The egg was a little bit drier than Sapporo’s but still runny. Instead of white meat they used dark meat (which I prefer) and the addition of the pickled ginger was a plus. Overall it was a satisfying bowl of oyakodon but for $7.57 I thought it was a bit pricey (even though it’s $1.20 less than Sapporo.)
Yagura, on the other hand, looks like it’s stuck in the 90s. It’s not as fancy looking or shiny like Cafe Zaiya or Sunrise Mart but that shouldn’t deter you from checking it out. They do have a pretty solid food menu and a daily lunch special which is always a good thing.
For $5.93 (now that’s a good price!), the oyakodon here is just as good as the other two places. The egg mixture at Yagura was the driest but it was still quite fluffy and airy like a very well beaten omelette. Here they used dark meat as well (a tad dry though) and was served with some sort of pickled vegetable (small cucumber?) I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed eating the pickled vegetable especially with the rice, egg and chicken.
In the end I couldn’t really pick which version of oyakodon was the best, they all tasted really good. Sapporo cooked the egg the best with it’s perfect amount of runny-ness. Sunrise Mart was the most standard version but used dark meat and Yagura offered a fluffy egg topped with an interesting pickled vegetable. I guess if I had to really pick one I would pick Yagura. Why? Easy! It was the cheapest. I also liked that their oyakodon was slightly different. Now I’m curious about the rest of the menu at Yagura and hope to do more comparisons with Sunrise Mart (and maybe Cafe Zaiya?!)
Sunrise Mart, 12 E. 41st (btw. Mad+5th), 646-380-9280
Yagura Japanese Grocery, 24 E 41st St. (btw. Mad+5th), 212-679-3777