Two years ago, the Cafe Zaiya formerly known as Oms/b on 45th Street became Benton Cafe and Chris reported how great it was. How has it fared with the test of time?
Archive for 'Oms/b'
As if yesterday’s Times Sq. Bagel news wasn’t enough… we recently got a tip from a Midtown Luncher that an additional location of Japanese bakery Cafe Zaiya has replaced Oms/b on 45th St. (btw. 3rd & Lex). Oms/b, which was highlighted by Midtown Lunch in 2006 and several times thereafter, specialized in omusubi, or Japanese rice balls. Cafe Zaiya also serves omusubi, in addition to many baked goods.
When I stopped by yesterday, the restaurant’s awning still said Oms/b, but a sign near the door had been covered in what appeared to be foil, with a Cafe Zaiya decal next to it. Although we are saddened to see a Midtown Lunch favorite close, it’ll be interesting to see how Cafe Zaiya #2 (or technically, #3 if you include the one in the bookstore on 6th Ave.) adapts to its locale. Clearly the restaurant owners aren’t afraid of competition; much like their original location on 41st btw. 5th and Madison, Japanese restaurants abound on the block (think Menchanko Tei, Riki, and Chef’s Secret). The space is much smaller than the original location with little seating and less space for food — however, many of the same items covered in an extensive food porn guide back in 2009 were on display. Staff were giving away small samples of one of the items covered in that post, the Spicy Tuna Bun.
This tiny rice ball shop seems to be always packed during lunch time and that’s why I have always ignored it. I had tried it back in 2004 but I don’t remember what I thought about it then. I do love Japanese rice balls because they’re cheap and are great little snacks (I get them all the time at Cafe Zaiya). One day I found myself craving for Japanese food and was thinking about going over to Dainobu but it started to rain so I ran into Oms/b instead.
Posted at 1:30 pm, January 28th, 2011 | 0 Comments
And here we are, the fourth Friday in Lent. You can do it Catholics, two more to go! We’ve covered some of the fried fish options, but what if you gave up fried things (Brownie!) or have been sick enough that someone (Zach!) told you that if you’ve called in sick to work on Wednesday, you shouldn’t go have burgers off a truck as a sick-day lunch. Well, then it would be Asian vegetable soup time.
It’s been forever and a day since I’ve been to oms/b, the quaint Japanese rice ball shop on 45th btw. Lex+3rd. But last week I finally made it back to redeem the $12 gift certificate I bought for $6 from Groupon back in September (what do you want, I’m slow!) Oms/b is not for everybody, and I fully admit that it is tough to fill up for $10 at this place. But there is something incredibly fun about their myriad of omusubi options, and this trip was no different. I couldn’t resist my goto fave, the shrimp tempura with green tea salt… but I also tried two things I had never seen before.
Check them out after the jump…
It’s hard to believe Oms/b, the delicious Japanese rice ball place on 45 btw. Lex+3rd has been open for 6 years! And to celebrate they’re giving away a free gift with every purchase today and tomorrow (10/21-22). Rockabirdie got a “packet of pocky, hi-chew, and fried tofu things.” Sounds pretty sweet to me…
I walked by Oms/b (on 45th btw. Lex+3rd), the small Japanese rice ball specialist, the other day and noticed this sign. I have partaken in their delicious omusubi on many occasions, but never noticed that they had Udon (oden, yes, but not Udon). I’m guessing this isn’t new (because it’s on their printed menus), and I really like how you can get a special combo with Udon and 2 rice balls. Has anybody tried it?
Their sushi, on the other hand is definitely new (or, at least, no more than a few months old), and I’m sure it’s perfectly fine… but why would you opt for sushi, when you can have oh-so-delicious rice balls!
I don’t think I have to say it- but there are very few destination restaurants for lunch in Midtown. You know what I’m talking about… the place you can recommend wholeheartedly, without any concern for how far the person will have to travel to eat the meal your endorsing.
The truth is, I write about places to eat lunch in Midtown every week, and some I even talk about like they’re the greatest ever. But you know, and I know- they’re not REALLY the GREATEST ever. They’re just good for Midtown. That’s why almost every one of my postings is qualified with “This is not the best ___________ you’ll ever have, but it’s good enough for lunch in Midtown”. Well- finally I can say I found a “This IS the best ____________ you’ll ever have”, IT’S IN MIDTOWN- and it’s called Oms/b. Very exciting indeed.
But don’t get too excited… I’m not saying EVERYBODY will like the food at this place… there will be a +/-, just like every lunch I write about- but there will be no qualifier for Oms/b. It’s pretty simple… if you like this kind of food, for this kind of price, in this kind of atmosphere- this will be YOUR NEW FAVORITE PLACE! Don’t work in Midtown? Toss the kids in the car, we’re going for a ride… because if you’re into it- this place is worth the trip (and not just from 49th st & 6th ave.)
Now that I’ve totally overhyped this place- check out the pics, the menu and of course, the +/-, all after the jump…. Read more »