150 Ainslie St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
We were told the wait was two and a half hours. We waited two full hours. And. It. Was. Worth. It.
Okonomi is a tiiiiiny little Japanese restaurant tucked away on the north side of Williamsburg. It opens from 9am-3pm on weekdays, and 10am-4pm on weekends (at night, the restaurant becomes Yuji Ramen). It serves only traditional Japanese ichiju-sansai set meals for breakfast and lunch. “Ichiju-sansai” literally means “One soup, three dishes” – aka a healthy set meal.
I was pretty skeptical with the raving reviews. How good could breakfast really be? I did my little Yelp search beforehand and saw all the photos. The food looked pretty and small – usually the opposite of how I like my food. We got there at 10:30am on a Saturday and already saw a long line forming out the door. Someone sat outside with a suitcase – that’s when you know the place is good. That person NEEDED to eat here before jetsetting off.
Two full hours later, me, N.T., B.J., and A.H. got seated across from this couple.
You can only order the ichiju-sansai (set menu) (~$30), but can choose your fish. We had a choice of Spanish mackerel, some kind of tilefish, and a sashimi over rice bowl. I got the Spanish mackerel, which is pictured here along with all the other dishes. (FYI those flowers were real :)) Continue reading
229 E 9th St
(between 2nd Ave & 3rd Ave)
New York, NY 10003
Soba-Ya is, of course, known for its soba. They market themselves as a Japanese noodle restaurant and proudly display this anonymous quote on their homepage: Sobaya’s handmade noodle … sheer joy! Soba is a gluten-free buckwheat noodle that when made correctly, is supple, slightly chewy, and retains an earthy flavor. Gluten is a crucial ingredient because it is what holds the dough together and gives it its springiness. Without gluten, the dough can easily become very dense… ever had a bad gluten-free loaf? Yeah, you know what I’m talking about then. It is very difficult to make great soba, which is probably why it is so expensive to have good soba in New York. The noodles are usually served on a bed of ice with a chilled, light dipping sauce on the side, or in a warm noodle broth. The photograph above is of the Kamo Seiro, soba with duck dipping sauce. This is a combination of the two aforementioned serving methods as the noodles are not cold, but are room temperature, and the dipping sauce is piping hot.
Yes, yes, the soba is great but the real reason I come to Soba-Ya all the time is for this: