Got a craving for sushi? Head down to East Japanese Restaurant (44th St. btw 2nd+3rd) for a mini chirashi bowl for only a dollar. Only 20 of the $1 bowls are available each day, though, so plan on getting there early. Throw in a sushi roll (I’d recommend the negi toro – tuna belly and scallion) and you’ve got a nice, affordable lunch.
Archive for 'Japanese'
Bento Sushi is bringing its pre-made sushi rolls to Midtown East next month when it opens a new location on 3rd Ave. (btw. 43rd+44th). Bento Sushi has been covered fairly extensively on this blog ever since it was known as Sushi by Bento Nouveau. We’ve found its udon soup and rice dishes good, but its sushi left us wanting.
I’m most excited to try the udon, but having an option for decent, affordable grab-and-go sushi isn’t bad either. Anyone else looking forward to its opening?
Most of my experience with ramen is limited to home-cooked lunch in graduate school and the occasional visit to one of the many delis near my office… sad, I know. But I’ve been meaning to check out a real ramen restaurant for some time now, so when I heard about Ramen Takumi (3rd Ave. btw. 34th & 35th St.), I jumped at the chance to try it out.
Takumi is a cool-looking place, with a tables and bar style seating. It’s menu features not the pork-laden tonkotsu ramen, but shio, a salt-flavored broth. It’s a clean-tasting soup, salty of course, with a bite of seaweed as well. So if you’re looking for rich, fatty broth, this particular ramen spot probably isn’t for you.
Of the various cultural events surrounding Japan Week in March, the most exciting is that ekiben, bento boxes sold at train stations throughout Japan, will be featured as a part of the cultural events held in Grand Central Terminal on March 19-21. A corner of Vanderbilt Hall will be devoted to ekiben, which traditionally contain local specialties from the region they come from. Various NYC restaurants — including a few from Midtown — are providing ekiben that highlight the food from different regions of Japan. Check out a preview of what you can expect on the Japan Week website; no word on pricing, but nonetheless, this should definitely be worth penciling into your calendars.
Over the holidays, Japanese eatery Rio & You closed its doors after six years on 45th street between 8th and 9th avenues. If Rio & You was Bittman’s secret Japanese restaurant as suggested in the comments — which we’re pretty sure it wasn’t — he’ll have to find a new spot. December 23 was their last day.
Rio & You, a Japanese spot just out of bounds on west 45th street that has been in the neighborhood for a number of years, was mentioned in the comments of the Mark Bittman post a few weeks ago. I’d never eaten there, because the lunch specials are expensive, but the other day on my way to Schmackary’s I stopped to look at the menu outside and saw a number of regular dishes seemingly in budget. Ramen (or, “Larmen,” as it is written on the menu)? Udon? Donburi? Well, if you insist!
While I am still majorly bummed about Katsuhama pricing their oyako don out of the ML budget, I’ve been trying to find a new go-to spot. Recently, I hit up Men Kui Tei to check out theirs — don’t count out the rice dishes at this probable Bittman secret favorite restaurant — even though ramen is half the menu, they do very well with most everything they offer. So how did their oyako don stack up?
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The Night Hotel on 45th street between Times Square and 6th avenue always seemed like a sketchy place, more like a gentleman’s club than a hotel. Recently, though, I found out that if you enter the very dark, goth hotel and walk straight back, past some pretty risque art, beyond reception on the right and the elevators on the left, you’ll arrive at a gated bar and a small swanky looking restaurant that bills itself as Japanese cuisine. Boasting dishes like pad thai and green curry as well as sushi and katsu, Red Moon is not, in fact, just Japanese cuisine, but yet another Asian fusion joint. Still, with its $10 lunch specials, Red Moon still seemed worth checking out.
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Sapporo has once again undergone a menu makeover, as we mentioned a couple of weeks ago. And Sapporo regulars from the Yelp community have been complaining that the gyoza are not the same, neither is the miso ramen. Not a good sign. I’ve been by a couple times now for takeout, now, and have had mixed experiences with both new and old dishes.
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Last week Mark Bittman took on white table cloth restaurants in the New York Times, an article that wouldn’t normally catch our attention. Except for the fact that he spent the entire second half off the article extolling a Japanese hole in the wall in Midtown that he loves so much he refused to tell anybody what it was called. Thankfully he leaves enough clues that we should be able to figure it out…
My place right now is a Japanese hole in the wall. (I’m keeping it that way by not naming it. Sorry.) There’s no celebrity chef, no publicity, no hipness other than that exuded by the young servers. It couldn’t be less trendy and to prove it, I’ll tell you that: a) it’s in Midtown, and b) it’s populated almost exclusively by expat and visiting Japanese. I suspect it’s in a Japanese guidebook to New York.
How did I find it? It’s across the street from the back door of what was once my building. It’s ugly: the tables are Formica, with standard cafe chairs; the napkins are paper; and the cash register, which is at the back of the kitchen, is wrapped in plastic to keep the grease off the keys.
More, after the jump…