Tag Archives: sea bass

Sakamai’s new brunch menu is BOMB

Sakamai
Sakamai
157 Ludlow St. (across from Pianos)
New York, NY 10002

NEW BRUNCH PLACE TO ADD TO THE ROTATION!!!!! If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s waiting in line for generic eggs benny’s or pancakes at an overhyped “boozy brunch” place, which is for some reason all the craze in NYC. I have higher standards for my brunch (#snob #jk) and want something more special if I’m going out for brunch than something I can whip up in my kitchen. Some of my favorites are Soba-ya, Shabu-Tatsu, and Prune – if you need an eggs benny). Even just based on that list, you can tell I have a soft spot for Japanese brunch food…

Sakamai Sakamai is a modern izakaya (aka. a Japanese bar that serves food) and sake bar. This month, they just launched a new brunch menu which showcases great Japanese dishes intertwined with some Hawaiian (ie. spam) ingredients and Western flair (aka. fusion but I hate that word). Natalie, one of the owners (who is Japanese-Hawaiian and studied architecture in college like me! :D), graciously invited me to sample their brunch menu this past weekend. I took LAW as my guest (duh) and tried a number of amazing things.

If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I sometimes get invited to these things and I ALWAYS disclose it. I also always keep my reviews unbiased (even though my meal is comped) because my blog would be worth nothing if I pandered to anyone who gave me free food. Most of these comped meals end up being pretty mediocre (hence they need bloggers like me to help them advertise – I won’t name names, but if you go through the blog you’ll know which ones I’m talking about) but in this case, I lucked out cause… the food was truly awesome.

Sakamai
We started with a couple drinks. I got the Flying Squirrel, which is a cocktail made with coldbrew coffee, walnut liqueur, and coconut cream. It was a delicious alcoholic iced coffee. Coffee itself was high quality and the walnut liqueur added some sweetness and nuttiness. Really great brunch cocktail, especially if you’re tired of the usual bloody mary and mimosa. We also got to try two of their housemade “Shrub” beverages: watermelon and celery-apple. Both drinks were carbonated and, oddly, clear (wonder how they make it). The drinks were very light and refreshing. A good alternative to juice.

Sakamai
We started with the Cha Soba Salad ($15) with green tea soba and sesame soy dressing. It. Was. Awesome. All these different kinds of greens (sprouts, cabbage?, seaweed, corn, tomato, avocado, sesame seeds, some kind of root, AND SO MUCH MORE) sit on top of a bed of green tea soba. The dressing is very light so allows all the natural flavors of the fresh ingredients shine through. The sesame oil just adds an extra bit of umami to make the salad really addicting. So effing good. Definitely a must order when you come (when, not if).

Sakamai
As our first “main,” we shared the Loco Moco ($16), which is a kimchi fried rice served with a hamburger bun and sunny side up egg. The rice and patty are doused in a dashi soy gravy. If you’re looking for a hearty (post-hangover cure perhaps?) brunch dish, this should be your pick. Continue reading Sakamai’s new brunch menu is BOMB

Basta Pasta! A place for Japanese-influenced Italian food.

Basta Pasta
37 W 17th St
(between 5th Ave & 6th Ave)
New York, NY 10011

I’ve been raving about this place for quite some time now and have already gone a bunch of times. For some reason, my photos are never satisfactory when I come. I think this is because we usually decide to go on a whim and I only ever have my iPhone with me. This time, we went with our out-of-town Turkey guests and as proper host, I finally had my camera with me. As background, Basta Pasta is a pasta place (derrrhhh) run by a Japanese owner. The dishes are subtly influenced by Japanese cuisine with a few exceptions that clearly show a cultural marriage, such as the Linguini Ai Ricci Di Mare, which is a linguini tossed with fresh sea urchin and basil in a pink sauce.

    
The meal always begins with a basket of assorted breads and little toasted slices of bread with a thin layer of gorgonzola spread. Bread is not warm but is pretty satisfactory, with a classic white, a golden raisin, and some other crisper/toasted white. Toasted bread and gorgonzola provides just barely enough flavor to whet the appetite. It’s surprisingly good.


We started with two orders of the Insalata D’ Anatra ($12), a salad of watercress and arugula with cherrywood-smoked sliced duck breast. This is one of my favorite simple salads because a) they give you a TON of duck for a salad; b) the vinaigrette is not too sharply acidic; and c) the arugula and watercress provides the perfect balance of tenderness and crispness. The vinaigrette is a little sweet and coats the smoked duck breast, forming what some would probably call umami. The duck is smoked such that the meat is still incredibly tender. The consistent thin layer of fat adds a bit of creaminess to the whole affair.  Continue reading Basta Pasta! A place for Japanese-influenced Italian food.