Ippudo NY Sake Bar

Ippudo is continually thinking of new ways to bring Japanese tradition and cuisine overseas. So this time around, they’re introducing a variety Japanese bar food to their menu. We were able to have a little sneak preview of the Ippudo Sake Bar menu, which was paired impeccably well with a glass of crisp Hakkaisan sake.

Let’s start with some background on the Japanese bar cuisine and Hakkaisan sake. First off, Japanese bar food is served at an establishment called Izakaya, a casual sit down style bar. Imagine a loud restaurant where Japanese food is served with alcoholic beverages, and where you can smoke indoors and let loose. In Japan, rather than individual servings, Izakaya dishes are shared with a group, such as colleagues after a long day of work, very similar to the concept of tapas. These dishes are typically savory in nature and encourage you to drink. Now, the Hakkaisan is a beautifully crisp light sake that goes perfectly with the Japanese bar food, a variety of simple fresh savory bites. As sake sommelier Chizuko Niikawa-Helton stated, this sake is “magic water.”  The clean taste makes it so easy to drink that one will hardly be able to keep track of glasses consumed! (Prime example, Naomi had four glasses.)

On this particular night, the menu consisted of a wide range of dishes, from sardines to braised pork belly, crispy sesame cucumber to spicy calamari salad. We especially enjoyed the fried lily bulbs, since it was something unique that we hardly ever get to try. These little bulbs were coated in a light tempura batter, crunchy on the outside with a delightful inner chewy texture on the inside. Also included in the course where delectable fish cakes called satsuma-age topped with fresh grated ginger and then our favorite, an extremely tender braised pork belly. All these dishes were a wide variety of light and deep flavors, that together with the Hakkaisan, took our taste buds right back to Tokyo.

Pictured above from top clockwise: Satsuma Age (Fried fish cake with ginger), Fried Lily Bulb, Dashimaki (Dashi infused omlette), Shime Saba (Marinated Makarel), Potato Salad, Yamitsuki Goma Kyuri  (Japanese Cucumber in Sesame)

 

FUN FACT
The clarity and lightness of the Hakkaisan sake comes from the water they use. Due to the heavy snowfall during the winter in Niigata prefecture, low and stable temperatures create “soft water” that is responsible for its clear tasting sake. For more information, head over to their website here.

 

Ippudo
www.ippudony.com

65 4th Ave New York, NY 10003
(212) 388-0088

Ippudo West Side
321 West 51st Street, New York, NY 10019
(212) 974-2500

Santa Salsa

Enjoy a late-night snack of hot dogs and fries at Over the Eight in Williamsburg. Located in the back of the bar is a “food truck” called Santa Salsa where yummy Venezuelan street snacks are served, all of them perfect for those post-drink munchies. Menu options include fried yucca sticks, empanadas, and most importantly, Venezuelan hot dogs.

My sister and I arrived at Santa Salsa for a midday snack. We ordered fries and the Perro Con Todo, which literally translates to “hot dog with everything.” And indeed, this hot dog does come topped with everything you could ever wish for – including onions, cabbage, cheddar cheese, and crushed potato chips. The result, a delicious combination of textures and flavor, crunchy, fresh, and savory. The french fries we ordered were coated with paprika pepper, a simple way to add new flavor and some mild spiciness.

Here’s a little fun fact for those trivia lovers out there. There is much debate surrounding this fact, but the word “hot dog” was said to have originated in 1901 at a polo game held in New York. The vendors selling hot dogs were calling out to customers, “They’re red hot!” Tad Dorgan, a New York Journal cartoonist happened to draw an image of a dachshund sausage in a roll, and since he was unsure how the word “dachshund” was spelled, wrote “hot dog.” Read more about the origins of hot dogs here!

Santa Salsa
594 Union Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
(347) 683-2605
www.santasalsanyc.com

Best Pizza

What’s the best New York pizza according to you? In this city that has practically a pizza place around every corner, it’s those that serve unique toppings or really solid slices that make the cut. Today, we are here to share one of our own favorite pizza places in Williamsburg.

Located on Havemeyer between North 7th and 8th in Williamsburg, Best Pizza lives up to its name. This joint offers classic cheese slices to more unique ones, such as our favorite, the Veggie pizza. Unlike other pizza places that are creamy and on the heavier side, this particular pizza is light and crispy. Our recommendation, the veggie pizza is topped with cheese, cauliflower, kale, and golden and red beets that still retain their fresh and crispy nature. We also enjoyed the white slice, which comes with sweet caramelized onions sprinkled on top. Needless to say sweet and savory always works on a pizza.

Anna’s ring is by Joomi Lim. Click here for more details.

Best Pizza
33 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
www.best.piz.za.com

Breakroom

Looking for a dinner that will hold you over for the entirety of Friday night fun? Or, maybe you’re just looking for some good hearty tacos, burgers, and hotdogs. In that case, head over to Breakroom located right on 83 Baxter Street. This little eatery offers solid tacos and delicious greasy foods that will satisfy all cravings.

We ordered the taco platter, which comes with three choices out of the following options: beef, chicken, pork belly, cheese steak, tempura fish, and veggie. All are delightfully delicious, but we recommend the pork belly. These tacos are prepared in a very simple manner, meat with a touch of pico de gallo, and a lime wedge to add some zesty freshness. The pork belly is crispy fatty heaven. Have a taste of the crunchy juicy pork belly taco, and you’ll be thinking of them for the rest of the week.

*One thing to note, there is very limited seating, so be prepared to wait or order to go!

Breakroom
83 Baxter Street, New York, NY 10013
Breakroom via yelp