Tag Archives: Japanese

Batten Ramen

8 Mar

Batten Ramen

Rating: ★★★★☆
12024 Center Ave, Fort Lee, NJ 07024
(201) 461-5465
Price: $$
Hours:
Mon-Sun 11:30 am – 10 pm
Foursquare

Nothing spectacular, decent ramen and good katsu curry

Batten Ramen is an authentic Japanese ramen house that has been around for while. It is located in the Oaktree Center and has the small and cozy feeling you would come to expect from a ramen house in Japan. There’s a shelf of mangas (Japanese graphic novels) and Japanese magazines for you to read while you wait or eat. Both the chef and waiting staff are very attentive and you are always greeted when you enter and leave the restaurant.

The food was not the best I’ve ever had, but it’s decent. The gyoza was crispy on the bottom with a good balance between filling and skin. The tonkatsu (pork) ramen, which they call the Batten Ramen has a decent soup-base – not as flavorful as Santoka, but acceptable. Batten’s ramens are generously portioned and they have that chewy/springy bounce that you expect in a fresh bowl of ramen. Their Hiyashi Chuka (cold ramen) was also not on par with Santoka. I’m not a fan of seasoned pork cutlet in my cold ramen, I would have much preferred crab meat. What shines at Batten Ramen is their curry, the katsu curry is my go to dish and is one of the best you’ll find in New Jersey.

Batten Ramen offers combination sets that allow you to add a half portion of curry rice or fried rice to you ramen order for an additional $3. They have daily deals that offer a combination of items on their menu for one low price. Remember to bring cash, they don’t accept the plastic. There’s metered street parking in the front and a large muni-meter lot in the back.

Batten Ramen
Batten Ramen Combination (add half curry or half riced rice for an additional $3)- $11.50

Batten Ramen
Batten Ramen (ramen in tonkatsu broth)

Batten Ramen
Gyoza – $3.50

Batten Ramen
Batten Ramen – $8.50

Batten Ramen
Katsu Curry with Rice – $9.00

Batten Ramen
Hiyashi Chuka (cold ramen) – $9.99 (seasonal – only available during the summer)

Batten Ramen
Champon Ramen – $8.50

Batten Ramen

Batten Ramen

Batten Ramen

Batten Ramen

Batten Ramen

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Mt Fuji IMOCHI

23 Aug

Mt Fuji IMOCHI

Mt Fuji’s IMOCHI is one of the best mochi ice creams, they are also referred to as Jpanese ice cream bonbons. They can be found in Japanese/Asian grocery stores and in the dessert portion of some Japanese restaurant’s menus. In grocery stores, they come in a disposal ice bag and can be had in green tea, sesame, or in an assorted offering (2x green tea, sesame, strawberry, and vanilla) for $4.50-5.99USD. I like the assorted pack, it provides a good variety of favors, it’s especially good for newbies of this delicious treat. My favorite is the sesame, but you really can’t go wrong with any of the flavors. The mochi is soft, the ice cream is flavorful and when combined it provides a pleasurable texture and flavor in every bite. Be warned, these things are addictive, you can find yourself finishing an entire bag in a matter of minutes.

Menchanko Tei

7 May

Menchanko Tei

Rating: ★★★☆☆
131 E 45th St (btwn Lex Ave & 3rd ), New York, NY 10017
Website
(212) 986-6805
Price: $$
Hours:
Mon-Thur 11:30 am – 11:30 pm
Fri 11:30 am – Midnight
Sat 11:30 am – 11 pm
Sun 11:30 am – 10:30 pm
Nearest Transit:
Grand Central (4, 5, 6, 7, S)
Lexington-3rd Aves-51st St (6, E, V)
Foursquare

Not the best, but decent for a midtown lunch.

Menchanko Tei serves decent ramen, not the most authentic but definitely acceptable. The service is fast and their prices are not too bad. They have two locations, both in midtown (131 E 45th St & 43 W 55th St), the 55 St location was under renovations a month ago and I’m not sure if they have re-opened yet.

During my last visit to the 45th St location I tired their Hakata and Shoyu ramen, both were respectable but not comparable to Ippudo nor Santoka. Their gyoza gets a huge “Don’t Buy”, it  not fresh and tastes like it’s from a package. Overall, I like Menchanko Tei for lunch, but only for it’s ramen and nothing else.

Menchanko Tei
Pork Dumplings – $4.75

Menchanko Tei
Hakata Ramen w/ Mochi – $10 (8.50+1.50)

Otafuku

29 Apr

Otafuku

Rating: ★★★★☆
236 E 9 St (btwn 2nd Ave & Stuyvesant St), New York, NY 10003
(212) 353-8503
Price: $
Hours:
Mon-Thu 1 pm – 10 pm
Fri-Sat 12 pm – 11 pm
Sun 12 pm – 10 pm
Nearest Transit:
Astor Place (6)
8th St-Broadway (R, W)
3rd Ave-14th St (L)
Facebook // Foursquare

Otafuku is usually crowded with people eating their takoyaki (hot wheat-flour balls with a piece of boiled octopus inside) outside of the shop because they don’t have proper seating and the customers can’t wait to eat their takoyaki (me included). There’s often a 5-20 minute wait for takoyaki because they sell so well, but you can call ahead with your order so you don’t have to wait. In addition to takoyaki, they also sell yakisoba (pan-fried noodles) and okonomiyaki (Japanese-style unsweetened pancake). Try one of their four combos, I often order combo B (6pcs takoyaki & 1pc okonomi) or C (6pcs takoyaki & 1/2 yakisoba). They don’t accept credit cards, remember to bring cash.

Otafuku

Otafuku
Combo C (6pcs takoyaki & 1/2 yakisoba) – $9

Sapporo

21 Apr

Sapporo

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
152 W 49th St (btwn Avenue Of The Americas & 7th Ave), New York, NY 10019
(212) 869-8972
Price: $
Nearest Transit:
49 St (N, Q, R)
50 St (1, 2)
47 – 50 Sts – Rockefeller Ctr (B, D, F, M)
Facebook // Foursquare

Sapporo is a “has been” in the ramen market, they’re no longer what they use to be. I came here last saturday hoping to have some decent ramen, but instead I was greeted with watery ill flavored broth, overcooked noodles that taste like cardboard and toppings that were bland. The waiter also forgot to put in my order of gyoza, but I’m glad she forgot. It saved me $5 on flavorless dumplings that I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed anyway, this coming from my friend who previously ate at Sapporo and had the dumplings. In addition to their tasteless ramen, they also enforce a 18.4% service charge on your bill regardless of party size. I can understand enforcing a service charge on large parties, but for a party of two where the waiter does not take my order properly they’re not deserving of a 18.4% tip regardless of the actual amount. Now I’m a fair tipper and I tend to leave a larger than average percentage, but this is just wrong. One can only image why Sapporo started enforcing a service charge, perhaps many left low or no tip because their food/service is so awful. Needless to say, I won’t be dining here again.

Sapporo

Sapporo
Menma Ramen – $7.50

Sapporo
Shio Ramen – $7.50

Yokohama St. Honore (横浜サンノーレ)

21 Apr

SANY0152

Rating: ★★★☆☆
595 River Road (in the Mitsuwa Marketplace), Edgewater, NJ 07020
Website
(201) 941-1941
Price: $
Foursquare

Yokohama St. Honore is a Japanese bakery that can be found next to Italian Tomato in the New Jersey Mitsuwa Marketplace. It specialize in Japanese style bread and pastries, but is best known for their Kyoto Bologne, a danish-style bread made by layering dough and baked in a loaf pan. You have to be quick to snag one, they usually sell out in a matter of minutes. There’s also a good variety of Japanese buns and sandwiches to choose from, I like their curry croquette bun ($1.6) and raisin ball ($1.5).

Overall, St. Honore is a great place to grab fresh Japanese bread or pastries. Do remember to bring cash, they don’t accept credit cards.

Yokohama St. Honore

Yokohama St. Honore

Yokohama St. Honore

Yokohama St. Honore
Kyoto Bologne – $7

Yokohama St. Honore
Toasted Kyoto Bologne

Yokohama St. Honore
Curry Croquette Bun – $1.60

Yokohama St. Honore
Cheese Cake

Yokohama St. Honore
Tofu Donut

Yokohama St. Honore
Black Sesame Pudding

Yokohama St. Honore
Mochi Donut

Yokohama St. Honore
Melonpan

Yokohama St. Honore
Fruit Tart

Katsuhana

20 Apr

Katsuhana

Rating: ★★★☆☆
595 River Road (in the Mitsuwa Marketplace), Edgewater, NJ 07020
Website
(201) 941-9113
Price: $
Foursquare

Katsuhana is tucked in the food court section of the Mitsuwa Marketplace. They offer a good variety of katsu at decent prices. The majority of their sets come with miso soup, tofu, Japanese pickles, shredded cabbage, rice and fruits/ jello dessert. My usual at Katsuhana is their berkshire pork tender loin cutlet set, which goes for $7.50. Their portions are fair and it’s the closest to authentic katsu I’ve found in New Jersey. Remember to bring CASH, they don’t accept credit here.

Katsuhana
Realistic replicas of items on their menu

Katsuhana
Berkshire Pork Tender Loin Cutlet Set – $7.50

Katsuhana

Katsuhana

Katsuhana

Go Go Curry

20 Apr

Go Go Curry

Rating: ★★★★☆
273 W 38th St (btwn 7th Ave & 8th Ave), New York, NY 10018
Website
(212) 730-5555
Price: $
Hours:
Mon-Sun 11 am – 10 pm
Nearest Transit:
Times Sq – 42 St (7, 7X)
Times Sq – 42 St (1, 2, 3, N, Q, R)
42 St – Port Authority Bus Terminal (A, C, E)
Twitter // Facebook // Foursquare

Go Go Curry is a hole in the wall curry house that offers one of the best deals on quality curry and katsu in the city. Their name is inspired by Yankee slugger, Hideki Matsui. His jersey number 55 can be pronounced ‘go go’ in Japanese. The owner’s obsession with the slugger can be seen in the form of wall to wall memorabilia throughout the store, but that obsession translates into value for the customer because everyday night Hideki Matsui hits a home run, the following day customers are awarded with one free topping of their choice.

The menu is simple, it’s all curry with your choice of katsu (pork), chicken katsu, shrimp or sausage. There are four sizes to choose from: walk ($7), medium ($7.5), large ($8.5), and extra large ($9.5). Additional toppings like fukujinzuke, cheese, and natto range from $1-2. You can also opt to get their Grand Slam Platter with two katus, two sausages, a shrimp and a boiled egg with rice for only $12.50. If your feeling really hungry, try their 5.5 pound World Champion Platter that contains a katsu, chicken katsu, four sausages, two shrimps and a boiled egg with rice ($25). I often order their medium katsu if I’m eating alone or the Grand Slam Platter to share.

Overall, Go Go Curry is a great spot for a quick comforting lunch or dinner and I highly recommend this place if your a fan Japanese curry like me. Remember to bring CASH because this place does not accept plastic.

Go Go Curry
Their Grand Slam Plate – Perfect for 2 to share or one really hungry individual – $12.50

Go Go Curry
Single Shrimp Curry – $7.50

Go Go Curry
Single Chicken Curry – $7.50

Go Go Curry
Single Katsu Curry – $7.50

Go Go Curry
Single Sausage Curry – $7.50

Go Go Curry
An ad for their World Champion Plate – weighs 5.5 pounds – $25

Santouka Ramen

16 Apr

Santouka Ramen

Rating: ★★★★☆
595 River Road (Inside Mitsuwa Market Place), Edgewater, NJ 07020
Website
(201) 941-1004
Price: $
Hours:
Mon-Sat 11 am – 8:30 pm
Sun 11 am – 8 pm
Foursquare

Santoka is well known for its ramen shops in Japan, where they have dozens of locations. Outside of Japan they have only seven, six in the States (one in New Jersey) and the remainder in Hong Kong (Causeway Bay). They’re famous for their delicious ramen noodles in a full-flavor soup. When it comes to ramen, the soup is just as important as the noodles and Santoka has them both. Their noodles are fresh and their soup is amazingly good. They have three serving sizes (small, regular and large) and four soup bases (salt, miso, spicy miso and soy sauces) to choose from. My favorite is the shio (salt) and if your like me who likes an egg with my ramen, I recommend getting the set. For additional $2 you get an egg and your choice of side rice. You can find Santoka in the food court section of the Mitsuwa Marketplace in Edgewater, NJ. Be prepared to wait on line, this place has a huge following and gets really busy on the weekends. In like-Japanese fashion, Santoka only accepts cash so don’t bank on using the plastic here. Overall, Santoka is great place for ramen, probably the best in New Jersey, but Ippudo is still the best I’ve ever had in the US.

Santouka Ramen
Realistic replicas of items on their menu

Santouka Ramen
Their menu as of April 16, 2009

Santouka Ramen
Shio and Shoyu Ramen set

Lunch at Santouka Ramen 22Feb2012c
Shio Ramen set

Santouka RamenSantouka Ramen
Hiyashi Chuka (seasonal – only offered during the summer)

Santouka Ramen
Sticky rice (special – not offered regularly)

Santouka Ramen
Natto rice

Cube 63

2 Apr

Cube 63

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
563 Clinton St (btwn Rivington St & Stanton St), New York, NY 10002
Website
(212) 228-6751
Price: $$
Hours:
Mon-Thu 11:30 am – 11 pm
Fri-Sat 12 pm – 11:30 pm
Sun 2 pm – 12 am
Nearest Transit:
Essex St (J, M, Z)
Delancey St (F)
2 Av (F)
Twitter // Facebook // Foursquare

Cube 63 is a extremely small restaurant that serves Asian inspires entrees and fresh sushi. Their entrees and sushi are not all that appealing, but their rolls are quite good. What make Cube 63 extremely popular is that they offer BYOB without corkage free, it’s hard to find a quality japanese restaurant that allow BYOB in the city. They have two locations, one in Manhattan and the other in Brooklyn (not BYOB). I had dinner at their Manhattan branch and the experience was not the best. Their food was satisfactory, but the way they run their business was not. Their restaurant is small to begin with, but they insist on cram more people than they can properly seat, which made dinner very uncomfortable. I came with a party of four and we were laterality sitting on top of each other. I don’t recommend eating at Cube 63 in the city unless you like to be limited to the amount of body moment you can make during dinner. In addition, I don’t think dinner at Cube 63 is worth it if they don’t allow BYOB, so their Brooklyn branch of out of the question. If you go against my recommendation and decide to dine at Cube 63, reservation and confirmation of reservation on day of dinning is a must.

Cube 63
Soft Shell Crab Appetizer ($13)

Cube 63

Cube 63