Tag Archives: Japanese

Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

After they opened their affordable sushi restaurant Sugarfish, this West Coast restaurant group brought another trendy Japanese-inspired bar to the city. KazuNori is a lot of fun, affordable, and quite delicious. Here they concentrate on hand rolls, where a chef takes warm rice, tops it with fresh fish, kisses it with some ponzu, and carefully wraps it around dried seaweed strips. Set menus come with chef’s selections of three up to six rolls.

Price: $13-$28

KAZUNORI
15 West 28th Street (between Broadway and Fifth Avenue)
Nomad
(347) 594-5940
kazunorisushi.com

Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

I wish I could afford to search for the best New York steakhouse but my budget would disappear after on appetizer. But if more Japanese steakhouse like Ikinari opened, I might be able to swing it. This is the place to come for affordable, high-quality steaks. Just don’t expect wait staff or a comfortable place to sit.

Price: $16-$27

IKINARI STEAK
90 East 10th Street (between Third and Fourth Avenue),
East Village
(917) 388-3546
ikinaristeakusa.com

My search for the best hot dog in New York continues….

It’s funny – when I first started this blog, the easiest reviews to write were the negative ones. Not that I enjoyed knocking a restaurant, but the writing came a lot easier thanks to punchlines. Now I find it harder to write the bad reviews and much prefer to focus on how great something is.

So let me start with the great things at dinner table. It’s a very cool reverse speakeasy-style establishment. Instead of sneaking through a restaurant to get to a bar, you go through the bar (in this case The Garret East) to get a to an unmarked door. It looks like it leads to a back alley or maybe an employees only area. Instead, if you flick a switch on the wall, the door slides open to reveal a secret intimate little restaurant.

This is dinnertable. When they opened last year, those in the know heard about the great menu created for the special VIP guests who found their way here. Since then, the chef has changed and the food has shifted to a more Japanese gastropub-style menu. Great – my kind of food.

When I got to dinnertable, I found plenty of availability (this place really is a secret!) and I sat at the bar where the chef served me himself. I ordered the hot dog (since it sounded fascinating with its Japanese-inspiration) and a cooling cucumber trout salad,.

Unfortunately, I was greatly disappointed. I won’t harp on the blahness of the $13 cucumber salad, since I’m using this space to review their hot dog.

The hot dog is made special for them at Dickson’s Farmstand in Chelsea Market. The chef has decided to meld the pork sausage with miso and sugarcane juice, grill it, and serve some kewpie mayonnaise and a sweet brown sauce on top, and then a sprinkle of wasabi salt on the side. It sounded intriguing enough although the $17 price tag was jaw-dropping.

Even more jaw dropping was that I couldn’t bring myself to finish the dog. The flavors might have been ok, but I was immediately put off by the gray color and soft texture. The grilled dog showed signs of char marks but the interior of the link was so soft. I found it mealy and fatty and quite unpleasant. I like my hot dogs to snap or at the very least to be a bit firm. This was as soft as the potato bun so there was no textural contrast.

The chef explained that it was from the high fat content of the pork and the miso addition. Ok, but I really didn’t like it. It pained me to take only two bites of a $17 hot dog and to leave the really cool establishment hungry (and poorer).

I imagine other menu items are more successful and that this chef (who seemed nice enough) has other exciting offerings. But the hot dog is not the thing to get here. In fact, I found it rather off-putting. And I don’t find it easy (or fun) to say that.

Does dinnertable have the best hot dog in NY? The fact that I couldn’t take more than a few bites of the pricey specimen speaks volumes. Afriad I have to give it a 5 out of 10 for unpleasant texture and a concept that just did not work for me.

DINNERTABLE
206 Avenue A (between East 12th and East 13th Street),
East Village
dinnertablenyc.com

Category: Hot Dogs

Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

In the last few months, there have been a series of big Japanese chains that opened their first US location in New York. Normally, I don’t like to eat at chain restaurants, but it’s a bit of a novelty and Japanese fast food is generally more nourishing and exciting than American fast food.

Wagamama, TsuruTonTan, and Ichiran were the three major Japanese noodle players that have debuted to long lines in New York City. The one that intrigued me most was Ichiran partly because they are located in a big factory in Bushwick but also because they have special solo dining flavor concentration booths.

In the booths, you are completely alone excpet for a button and a curtain. When the button is pushed, the curtain is partially raised and the torso of a waiter appears who will respond to your needs.

The entire experience, including the recommendations on how to be savor the soup is a little precious. As a busy New Yorker who often deals with many people, I did appreciate the opportunity to dine completely alone and not have to deal with anyone else. But I imagine the ramen would taste just as good if I was sitting at a table with a group of people.

You also get to customize your ramen from the firmness of the noodles to the richness of the broth to the amount of added toppings. I went down the menu circling the options the restaurant recommends for first timers.

So my soup ended up on the medium side of just about everything. And it was pretty great. The thin chewy noodles were truly fantastic and the complex super porky tonkotsu broth was indeed worth savoring. The other notable addition, besides some serious garlic, scallions, and a meaty pork chashu, is their signature top secret spicy red sauce.

It was one of the better ramen soups I’ve had recently. Like many, I was dismayed by the prices  here (almost double the price of the Japanese locations) and the gimmicky flavor booths are a little too serious. But there’s no denying that this is one seriously good bowl of ramen. Price: $18.90

ICHIRAN
374 Johnson Avenue (between Bogart Street and Morgan Avenue),
(718) 381-0491
Bushwick, Brooklyn
ichiran.com/en

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2016…

Leave it to me to visit one of the best new speakeasies and not even have a cocktail. I studied the menu and watched the bartenders work their magic at Karasu, hidden behind the local restaurant Walter’s, but I didn’t order a drink because I was on my way to give a tour (and I try to stay somewhat sober for those). But I came here to check out the place (which is awesome) and have some dinner.  The food, like the cocktails, are Japanese-inspired. And the softly breaded and incredibly tender fried chicken pieces with dipping sauces almost makes up for the lack of alcohol. Price: $11
KARASU
166 Dekalb Avenue (at Cumberland Street),
Behind Walter’s Restaurant
(347) 223-4811
Fort Greene, Brooklyn
karasubk.com

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2016…

Cikarashi is the underdog in the new poke movement sweeping the city. The bowls are a bit more refined with a chef’s eye rather than just a mess of raw fish and Asian toppings. The composed raw fish bowls are quite interesting, but I found myself craving their salmon collar Salt, meat and fat cling to the collar bone, while a bright acidic ponzu sauce cuts the richness and soaks into the warm rice, cucumbers, and soy-kissed daikon radishes/ Price: $15.49

CHIKARASHI
227 Canal Street (between Centre and Baxter Street),
Chinatown
(646) 649-5965
chikarashi.com

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