Tag Archives: soba

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

Sushi Tsushima: deeelicious nigiri and soba

Sushi Tsushima Sushi Tsushima
210 East 44th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Aves)
New York, NY 10017

LAW and I have recently discovered a whole slew of great authentic Japanese restaurants around 41st to 44th street on 2nd to 3rd Ave (more on the blog to come!). I always knew about Sushi Yasuda, but didn’t realize that its neighbors were all super legit Japanese restaurants as well. Sushi Tsushima is one of them.

LAW and I were craving sushi one night and didn’t want any of the cheap sushi places Murray Hill is saturated with. Literally walk down any block in the area and you’ll basically hear chants and sake glasses falling into beer. Fratty, cheap, sushi places defines Murray Hill. Walk up north a bit and interestingly enough, you’ll find a little Japan. Part of why I love Manhattan is even though it’s pretty tiny, turn a corner and you can be in a completely different world.

Sushi Tsushima
We first ordered the Moriwase C set ($31 with soup and salad), which included nigiris (tuna, salmon, yellowtail, and eel) and one roll of your choosing. We picked the Blue Fin Tuna roll, mostly for its value (you get to pick any roll!). The fish was fresh. Rice was great, though I prefer a little more vinegar in my sushi rice. The set certainly whet my appetite and reminded me to never eat $5 rolls again.

Sushi Tsushima
We then deviated from the sets and ordered nigiris one by one. Clockwise, we had the Seared Salmon with Lemon and Salt ($4.50 each), Yellowtail with Yuzu Pepper ($4.75 each), Sea Eel with sauce ($6.00 each), Seared Mackerel ($6.00 each), and Uni ($8.00 each). These nigiris are much more expensive than the set, and for good reason… All of them were great, but here are the specific reviews in the order from least favorite to favorite: Continue reading Sushi Tsushima: deeelicious nigiri and soba

Cocoron – Where Hearty Meets Healthy

Cocoron
Cocoron
61 Delancey St
(between Eldridge St & Allen St)
New York, NY 10002

It’s been snowing for hours. It’s cold. I’ve had too much greasy food lately so ramen is out of the question. I could have hot pot… OR I could have soba. Hot soba. Soba is very difficult to make (unlike ramen or udon), which is why bad soba is SO bad. Bad soba is usually very grainy and brittle. Cocoron’s soba is smooth, stretchy, and has a slightly roasted buckwheat flavor.

Too bad I’m really just reliving my hot soba moment through writing this blog post, because there is no way in hell I’m trekking to LES for this right now. But if you’re in the area, you should check out Cocoron. I blogged about it a long time ago, and it still remains one of my favorite little noodle shops in the city.

Cocoron
The kitchen takes up a good half of the entire restaurant and is bordered with a bar. There are maybe four other tables and that’s it. Tiny, cozy little place.

Cocoron
I always ask to sit at the bar when there is one because I love watching the kitchen action. There’s always so much going on. Like, that saucepan that is about to slip off and fall to the ground, spilling all the precious broth in great dramatic fashion. Continue reading Cocoron – Where Hearty Meets Healthy

Japadog, take two.

Japadog
30 St Marks PL
(between Cooper Sq & Astor Pl)
Manhattan, NY 10003

Here’s Japadog’s second chance. I came here almost a year ago when it first opened and wasn’t too impressed. We were actually taking F.H. and A.H. to Soba-Ya but got there 15 minutes before it opened for lunch so needed to kill some time. Japadog is right around the corner and happens to open slightly earlier than all the neighboring restaurants – smart. Continue reading Japadog, take two.

I get my salmon sashimi fix at Soba-Ya. Yes, at a noodle restaurant.


Soba-Ya
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:

Continue reading I get my salmon sashimi fix at Soba-Ya. Yes, at a noodle restaurant.

Cocoron: Kimchee Pork Dipping Soba

Cocoron
61 Delancey St
(between Eldridge St & Allen St)
New York, NY 10002

 

Best soba I have ever had.  Hands down.  My issue with soba has always been that the flavors were too bland.  Cocoron is a tiny tiny Japenese soba restaurant (literally only seats 12) that serves up anything but bland soba.  The dipping soba comes with a very al dente, cold tray of soba and a pot of broth that sits over a fire.  You dip the soba into the broth for each individual bite.  At the end of the meal, you get a little pot of soba water (nutritious water that was used to boil the soba) to mix with your leftover broth and you drink it as a soup. Continue reading Cocoron: Kimchee Pork Dipping Soba