I few days I talked about Kuboya Ramen (536 East 6th Street between Avenue A & B) that popped up right next door to Minca, the much loved reigning champ on the block. I questioned whether or not we need another Ramen spot on 5th street. Well, I decided to check out Kuboya for myself & here’s my review. Continue reading
It’s no secret that I have a real soft spot for Sake Bar Satsko(202 East 7th Street between Ave. B & C. Further info here), the tiny east village restaurant & bar that over the years has become my go to place for good times. I found out last week that the owner, Satsko Watanabe has begun making Pork ($12) & Vegetable ($11) ramen on the nights that she’s in the kitchen, I went there last night to try them out. Continue reading
Is there a Ramen War shaping up on 5th Street between Avenue A & B? In one corner we have the reigning Champ, Minca Ramen Factory & in the other we have a newcomer, Kuboya Ramen (536 East 5th Street, in the old Le Gamin space). I’m glad to see that something is going into this address, but do we really need another ramen spot?
I love Minca & I’m pretty sure that the owner is not going to be happy about this at all. Kuboya’s storefront is covered in print outs of a ‘press release’ of sorts. The funny thing is that the first paragraph is the owner talking about how he (Sammy Kubo) & Minca’s owner have been friends for 25 years, yet this paragraph has been (improperly) redacted! Classic! I guess you ain’t friends no more!
I’m really surprised it’s taken me so long to write a review of Sake Bar Satsko (202 East 7th Street between Ave. B & C), particularly because I live across the street & seem to spend a lot of time eating & drinking there. It’s a tiny sliver of a place & it took me a few weeks to actually figure out that it was a restaurant & bar (Beer, Wine, Sake & Soju; a Korean liquor similar to Vodka, but sweeter).
If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time then you’ll know that I’m a sucker for good Ramen which is why I love Rai Rai Ken (214 East 10th Street between 1st & 2nd Avenue) so much! The place is tiny & immediately reminds me of the noodle bar from Blade Runner. It’s basically a long service bar with stools (really low & uncomfortable) running the length of the restaurant.
With the weather warming up, I decided to head to Jin Restaurant (252 Broome Street between Ludlow & Orchard Streets) with a few friends for their awesome Happy Hour Special. There’s a vast selection of items (beer, sake, rolls, dumplings, along with cooked items such as yakitori, etc.) are all just $3 during the pre-dinner rush, every day of the week. With so few good sushi restaurants open for lunch & the weather being so nice, it made complete sense to take a stroll in search of some extremely well priced food & booze. The decor of the place is nice, with a lot of bamboo accents on the walls. There are 2 bars in the restaurant (1 sushi bar & the other for drinking). Open outer doors & the lack of a busy lunch crowd gave the place an airy feel.
After ordering some beer (Sapporo) & house Sake we were looking through the Happy Hour menu & decided to start with the Shrimp Shumai (6 pieces) which were simply steamed, served with a dipping sauce and shredded carrot & greens (more garnish than anything else). The shumai was far less dense than some inferior-quality shumai that I’ve had before. Instead of being a ‘lump’ of shrimp (or paste for that matter) wrapped in wonton, you could really taste the shrimp & its texture.
We also ordered the Avocado Salad which was served with mixed greens and a carrot & ginger dressing. Unfortunately, the dressing was slightly on the salty side & the mixed greens really didn’t do much. The avocado was fresh & really good as you can tell by a recurring theme in our final order (see below)… A really simple, but tasty start.
Our sushi rolls finally arrived & just in time! We ended up ordering 6 rolls for a total of 36 pieces. 2 Eel Avocado Rolls, 1 Spicy Tuna w/Crunch Roll, 1 Tuna Roll, 1 Salmon & Avocado Roll and finally 1 White Tuna & Avocado Roll. All of the rolls were good & very fresh (in particular the salmon), but I’ll admit that nothing really blew me away. We were all full after eating the rolls however & for a total of $18 no less (plus our drinks & appetizers). The service was good & all in all, Jin is a great choice for a tasty bargain lunch. If you’re hungry in the Lower East Side, check them out!
Normally, when I think of sushi, the last place I think to look is along St. Marks as there is so much to choose from in the area , but it was sort of early, so I met a friend at Je’Bon (15 St. Marks near 2nd Avenue). I had been there before for lunch a while back, so I knew the food wouldn’t kill us. Je’Bon is yet another ultra-inexpensive, design-oriented, dance track blaring Asian restaurants that seem to be all the rage with college kids nowadays. As I said, it was early, so we arrived in the after lunch, pre-dinner lull. We were the only ones there so service was no problem at all.
We both ended up ordering from the pre-dinner menu, 3 rolls for $13. 6 pieces each of Spicy Tuna, Eel Avocado & California Roll (I really hate to even call this monstrosity sushi). There were several other selections in the same price range, but we both agreed that this was the best option. $13 for 3 rolls is really not a bad deal at all. I’ll admit that they were good, but not spectacular. I really wasn’t that hungry & ended up taking half of them with me, but after getting home, I devoured the lot.
You pretty much get what you pay for here, decent sushi at a great price. I’m not sure what the place would be like during a busy lunch or dinner service, but it was nice & quiet when we were there. There’s a full bar with TV screen in the front & perhaps my favorite thing about the place is the graffiti in the Mens bathroom. Someone was kind enough to scribble ‘Shit/Piss’ with a massive arrow pointing towards the toilet… Classic!
Update (4/01/10); I recently revisited Je’Bon & got the Sashimi sampler. 8 bucks got you 8 pieces. 2 whitefish, 2 Tuna, 3 Salmon & one of those fake crab stick things cross-cut. The whitefish was ok, the imitation crab disgusting & the tuna was passable, but a bit on the stringy side. The real star of the dish was the salmon which was absolutely delicious!