“Taking it to the Stalls” – Review of Otafuku

“Taking it to the Stalls” – Review of Otafuku

BY SARAH IP

Otafuku
236 E 9th St
(between 2nd Ave & Stuyvesant St)
East Village
212-353-8503

Otafuku.  Photo by Sarah Ip.

Otafuku. Photo by Sarah Ip.

Tokyo, here I come!  Well, almost.  At least for twenty minutes I can pretend while chomping on my okonomiyaki (Japanese grilled pancake), brimming over with beef, shredded cabbage, katsuoboshi, special sauce, mayonnaise and aonori (seaweed powder), along with six creamy, fried takoyaki (octopus) balls.  For a mere $9, Otafuku brings it hard.

Occasion: Post-wedding.  My friends were wed on Halloween.  As to the curious questions from passersby concerning our “costumes”: “You mean these?  We just got married!”  Yes, here comes the wedding party, dressed in black dresses and dapper tuxes.  After clinking champagne glasses and scarfing down vegan cupcakes (albeit tasty), I was ready for some real sustenance.

Takoyaki.  Photo by Sarah Ip.

Takoyaki. Photo by Sarah Ip.

Cue Otafuku.  Otafuku is a true hole-in-the-wall in this New York City dining oasis.  The eatery only specializes in a few items, but makes them with skill and enthusiasm.  Choose from four “Combos,” each a slightly different combination of okonomiyaki, takoyaki and yakisoba.  My friend got Combo C: the Yakisoba and Takoyaki set.  I had Combo B, Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki.  My takoyaki morsels were crispy on the outside, moist and chewy on the inside (but I don’t suggest poking them).  They contained chopped octopus, scallions and ginger.  The takoyaki alone would have filled me up.  Drenched in thick batter, they were larger than life – both in bite and in flavor.

Okonomiyaki, a savory Japanese pancake, is a Japanese term that translates into “cooked as you like it.”  It originated in the Kansai region of Japan but can be eaten most anywhere in the country.  Toppings and cooking methods vary by region, with each area putting their own twist on this classic favorite.

The okonomiyaki here was more doughy and liquid-like than I had anticipated, but that’s not saying much since it was my first time having it.  The consistency was probably watery due to the high volume of cabbage.  I prefer one that’s a little more dense and solid.  Still, after chowing down on Combo B, I’ve safely concluded that okonomiyaki is to takoyaki as Bonnie is to Clyde.  I challenge you to find a better partner in crime!

Combo B: Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki.  Photo by Sarah Ip.

Combo B: Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki. Photo by Sarah Ip.

Save for a tiny bench in front, no other seating could be found.  But it must be the way to attract customers.  Even in the rain, people stopped by after watching my friend and I dig into our piping hot take-out plates.

The staff is boisterous and helpful – the kind of folks I could see myself having a friendly chat with.  And they’re fun to watch at work (making my okonomiyaki from scratch!).  My server asked me if I wanted “everything” on my okonomiyaki.  I eagerly nodded “yes.”  He immediately drizzled a swamp of brown goo all over my okonomiyaki and takoyaki.  A little bit overboard in taste – salt and a strong fish flavor from the katsuoboshi arrested my tongue – but I appreciated the thought.  Guess I’m not that big a fan of the Otafuku sauce, which is like a thicker, sweeter Worcester sauce.  From what I gather, Otafuku sauce is more powerful when applied to heat.  Although it’s tempting to dig right in, be careful not to zing your tongue in your anticipation.

Combo B: Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki.  Photo by Sarah Ip.

Combo C: Takoyaki and Yakisoba. Photo by Sarah Ip.

The yakisoba, unfortunately, did not live up to the same quality.  The noodles were a bit greasy, and I could make the same at home.  My Combo was definitely more filling than my friend’s, and he had to help finish mine, which is saying a lot since I can “eat like a horse.”  For $1 more, you can also order taiyaki, or sweet Japanese fish-shaped cake.

Prices are fair for the portion size, and the warm-in-your-belly food shoos the hunger pangs away.  Otafuku serves up authentic (for New York) Japanese street food.  Now that’s fast food I’d be willing to have on a regular basis

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Otafuku on Urbanspoon

"Taking it to the Stalls" – Review of Otafuku

“Taking it to the Stalls” – Review of Otafuku

BY SARAH IP

Otafuku
236 E 9th St
(between 2nd Ave & Stuyvesant St)
East Village
212-353-8503

Otafuku.  Photo by Sarah Ip.

Otafuku. Photo by Sarah Ip.

Tokyo, here I come!  Well, almost.  At least for twenty minutes I can pretend while chomping on my okonomiyaki (Japanese grilled pancake), brimming over with beef, shredded cabbage, katsuoboshi, special sauce, mayonnaise and aonori (seaweed powder), along with six creamy, fried takoyaki (octopus) balls.  For a mere $9, Otafuku brings it hard.

Occasion: Post-wedding.  My friends were wed on Halloween.  As to the curious questions from passersby concerning our “costumes”: “You mean these?  We just got married!”  Yes, here comes the wedding party, dressed in black dresses and dapper tuxes.  After clinking champagne glasses and scarfing down vegan cupcakes (albeit tasty), I was ready for some real sustenance.

Takoyaki.  Photo by Sarah Ip.

Takoyaki. Photo by Sarah Ip.

Cue Otafuku.  Otafuku is a true hole-in-the-wall in this New York City dining oasis.  The eatery only specializes in a few items, but makes them with skill and enthusiasm.  Choose from four “Combos,” each a slightly different combination of okonomiyaki, takoyaki and yakisoba.  My friend got Combo C: the Yakisoba and Takoyaki set.  I had Combo B, Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki.  My takoyaki morsels were crispy on the outside, moist and chewy on the inside (but I don’t suggest poking them).  They contained chopped octopus, scallions and ginger.  The takoyaki alone would have filled me up.  Drenched in thick batter, they were larger than life – both in bite and in flavor.

Okonomiyaki, a savory Japanese pancake, is a Japanese term that translates into “cooked as you like it.”  It originated in the Kansai region of Japan but can be eaten most anywhere in the country.  Toppings and cooking methods vary by region, with each area putting their own twist on this classic favorite.

The okonomiyaki here was more doughy and liquid-like than I had anticipated, but that’s not saying much since it was my first time having it.  The consistency was probably watery due to the high volume of cabbage.  I prefer one that’s a little more dense and solid.  Still, after chowing down on Combo B, I’ve safely concluded that okonomiyaki is to takoyaki as Bonnie is to Clyde.  I challenge you to find a better partner in crime!

Combo B: Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki.  Photo by Sarah Ip.

Combo B: Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki. Photo by Sarah Ip.

Save for a tiny bench in front, no other seating could be found.  But it must be the way to attract customers.  Even in the rain, people stopped by after watching my friend and I dig into our piping hot take-out plates.

The staff is boisterous and helpful – the kind of folks I could see myself having a friendly chat with.  And they’re fun to watch at work (making my okonomiyaki from scratch!).  My server asked me if I wanted “everything” on my okonomiyaki.  I eagerly nodded “yes.”  He immediately drizzled a swamp of brown goo all over my okonomiyaki and takoyaki.  A little bit overboard in taste – salt and a strong fish flavor from the katsuoboshi arrested my tongue – but I appreciated the thought.  Guess I’m not that big a fan of the Otafuku sauce, which is like a thicker, sweeter Worcester sauce.  From what I gather, Otafuku sauce is more powerful when applied to heat.  Although it’s tempting to dig right in, be careful not to zing your tongue in your anticipation.

Combo B: Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki.  Photo by Sarah Ip.

Combo C: Takoyaki and Yakisoba. Photo by Sarah Ip.

The yakisoba, unfortunately, did not live up to the same quality.  The noodles were a bit greasy, and I could make the same at home.  My Combo was definitely more filling than my friend’s, and he had to help finish mine, which is saying a lot since I can “eat like a horse.”  For $1 more, you can also order taiyaki, or sweet Japanese fish-shaped cake.

Prices are fair for the portion size, and the warm-in-your-belly food shoos the hunger pangs away.  Otafuku serves up authentic (for New York) Japanese street food.  Now that’s fast food I’d be willing to have on a regular basis

Share/Save/BookmarkSubscribe
Otafuku on Urbanspoon

“Ambushing the plate” – Review of Go! Go! Curry

“Ambushing the Plate”- Review of Go!Go!Curry

BY SARAH IP

Go!Go!Curry
273 W. 38th St
(between 7th Ave & 8th Ave)
Midtown West / Garment District, NYC
(212) 730-5555
gogocurryusa.com

Guerilla guards the GoGoCurry.  Photo by Sarah Ip.

Guerilla guards the GoGoCurry. Photo by Sarah Ip.

Attack! Attack! Go!

To Go!Go!Curry, at once! If only all lunches could be like this…

Guerilla guards the GoGoCurry.  Photo by Sarah Ip.

Colorful menu board. Photo by Sarah Ip.

My friends and I arrived there around 12:15 p.m. to a relatively empty store. Not more than ten minutes later, a nattily-dressed Japanese couple entered, along with polo shirt-clad Asian guys in their 20s and 30s who were sitting all by their lonesome selves…  Curry seems to be a popular choice among the younger set.

[Read more...]

"Ambushing the plate" – Review of Go! Go! Curry

“Ambushing the Plate”- Review of Go!Go!Curry

BY SARAH IP

Go!Go!Curry
273 W. 38th St
(between 7th Ave & 8th Ave)
Midtown West / Garment District, NYC
(212) 730-5555
gogocurryusa.com

Guerilla guards the GoGoCurry.  Photo by Sarah Ip.

Guerilla guards the GoGoCurry. Photo by Sarah Ip.

Attack! Attack! Go!

To Go!Go!Curry, at once! If only all lunches could be like this…

Guerilla guards the GoGoCurry.  Photo by Sarah Ip.

Colorful menu board. Photo by Sarah Ip.

My friends and I arrived there around 12:15 p.m. to a relatively empty store. Not more than ten minutes later, a nattily-dressed Japanese couple entered, along with polo shirt-clad Asian guys in their 20s and 30s who were sitting all by their lonesome selves…  Curry seems to be a popular choice among the younger set.

[Read more...]

“Fit for a Rockstar” – Review of Rockmeisha

“Fit for a Rockstar”- Review of Rockmeisha

BY SARAH IP

Rockmeisha
11 Barrow St
Greenwich Village, NYC
(212) 675-7775


Rockmeisha.  Photo by Sarah Ip

Rockmeisha. Photo by Sarah Ip

All hail the legions of wannabe rockstars.

That’s the theme of the night at Rockmeisha, or what I perceived it to be.  My friend Chloe and I have always harbored secret dreams of starting a rock band (who hasn’t?).  Rockmeisha indulges you with the momentary illusion that, Yes, I’m a rockstar…AND what??!

Rockmeisha is styled exactly like izakayas (snack bars) in Japan, and is ideal for drinks and grub into the wee hours.  Not exactly a dinner place, though, as I realized at 7 p.m. when it was still light out and the vibe was dead.  The black walls contrast the white curtains flowing from the ceiling like a giant floating canopy.  Old-school pictures of Japanese pin-up girls and “Uptown Martini Bar” art deco surrounded us, finished off with cherry wood accents. [Read more...]

"Fit for a Rockstar" – Review of Rockmeisha

“Fit for a Rockstar”- Review of Rockmeisha

BY SARAH IP

Rockmeisha
11 Barrow St
Greenwich Village, NYC
(212) 675-7775


Rockmeisha.  Photo by Sarah Ip

Rockmeisha. Photo by Sarah Ip

All hail the legions of wannabe rockstars.

That’s the theme of the night at Rockmeisha, or what I perceived it to be.  My friend Chloe and I have always harbored secret dreams of starting a rock band (who hasn’t?).  Rockmeisha indulges you with the momentary illusion that, Yes, I’m a rockstar…AND what??!

Rockmeisha is styled exactly like izakayas (snack bars) in Japan, and is ideal for drinks and grub into the wee hours.  Not exactly a dinner place, though, as I realized at 7 p.m. when it was still light out and the vibe was dead.  The black walls contrast the white curtains flowing from the ceiling like a giant floating canopy.  Old-school pictures of Japanese pin-up girls and “Uptown Martini Bar” art deco surrounded us, finished off with cherry wood accents. [Read more...]