8 West 18th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues
$58 each for 2 people, no drinks, with tip
Ootoya may be a restaurant chain, but the newly opened New York City branch looks anything but.
1. Grilled beef tongue – will be the most buttery thing you’ll ever put in your mouth this season
2. Tonkatsu – The pork tonkatsu will make you believe in breaded meat again
1. Tofu salad – The soft tofu will remind you of freshly made burrata; make sure you drizzle the dressing all over the greens to get the salad’s whole flavor profile; a little salt may need to be added
1. Sushi – The fish is fresh, just nothing exceptional. The chirashizushi is a very good deal if you’ll only eat one thing and expect to be full.
2. Yakitori – Just like any other grilled vegetables from Japanese yakitori joints, the asparagus wrapped with bacon are standouts. The okra may have been a tad too mature.
1. Japanese politeness galore. I will expect more rowdiness when the liquor license comes through.