Sapporo’s Donburi Are Worth it (Even If Their Ramen Isn’t Your Fave)
Most people hit up Sapporo when in need of a nice, big bowl of hot ramen. In a crowded noodle market, though, Sapporo doesn’t particularly hold up well against the competition (a fact proven again by this year’s reader poll.) Don’t count them out of your lunching rotation, though: The noodle joint also serves up several homey and delicious donburi (meal over rice) that make a trip to west 49th street very worth while.
A recent trip to Sapporo found me ordering the tanin-don ($9.00), which is like the often reported on oyako-don but with beef instead of chicken. Don’t expect chunky meat here: the beef is cut extremely thinly, almost like paper, with a little bit of fat still on the meat. Cooked with dashi, soy, a slightly runny egg and some greens, the meat sits atop sliced onions and a bed of well-cooked Japanese rice. The beautiful thing about the rice (in both this dish and the oyako-don) at Sapporo, is that it soaks up any loose liquid — both from the dashi and from the egg — giving the rice delicious flavor and creamy (but not mushy) texture.
Last year we wrote up Sapporo’s enjoyable oyako-don ($9.00). And, the tonkatsu ($10.00), while not technically donburi, got a thumbs up on this site as well. Other donburi offerings include pork or chicken katsu don, miso katsu don, gyu-don and mabo don all for $9.00, plus kimchee katsu don ($9.50). So, even if Sapporo isn’t your favorite place for a steaming bowl of ramen in this cold, wintry weather, it should still be a destination in your lunching repertoire for homey Japanese rice dishes that are sure to satisfy for under $10.
Sapporo, 152 W. 49th St., btw. 6th & 7th, 212-869-8972