Relearning Japanese in New York
If you think Japanese and your mind wanders straight off to sushi, then think again. Possibly the only think that this Japanese restaurant doesn't offer is the typical sushi rolls we grew so accustomed to. And of course, what I wanted to order to begin with.
RELEARNING JAPANESE IN NEW YORK
In a quite spontaneous and serendipitous way, few of my friends and I ended up having dinner at Robataya NY. When I say serendipitous, I mean we were walking out of a bar from a networking meeting, and being the lazy bunch that we are, we decided to simply cross the street and go inside the first restaurant we would “hit” on our path.
When we saw Robotaya materializing right in front of our eyes, I wasn’t expecting a place quite like this. Surprise doesn't quite describe our initial reaction. As soon as you step in, it feels like you just stepped inside an actual Japanese Pagoda. All the servers wear traditional Japanese clothing, both the decor and ambiance are very authentic, and the smell of spices, fruits, and fresh fish will engulf you from the very first second.
I can’t even count how many times I go to a restaurant expecting to find, order and eat a certain food and then for one reason or another I always have to go with plan B. How does the saying go - We make plans and God laughs? Or something along the line. Anyway, I had to mute down my classic Type-A New Yorker Bi%$#&ness when I don’t get what I want and opened my mind to new options. When you open the menu, you will find a list of authentic, and less known (at least to me), Japanese delicacies from fish-based dishes, to beef and veggies-themed creation. Something for all taste buds.
And what do you know, my dinner turned juxtaposition of surprising be quite a culinary feast of delicate spices, and out to flavors. We started off with fried eggplant & tofu in a miso-bonito broth, a hard to describe and incredibly tasteful homemade tofu served with bonito flakes and special colorful salts - FYI, I say hard t describe because I loved it, and I don’t like Tofu since it usually tastes like cardboard, sorry guys – red miso soup, and “BOTANEBI IKURA HOTATE DON” a warm rice bowl with raw sweet shrimps, sliced sea scallops, and salmon roe that couldn’t have been more delicate than that.
This experience really had me thinking. Do you ever wonder how many times we pass on so many good things just because we are so up on our ideas? I mean this is me through-&-through. They say our generation is a bunch of kids that just expect to have things hand-delivered and don’t deal very well with disappointments and the word “no." Well, I’ll leave it to you to decide if there is some truth to that or not. They also say New Yorkers are bitchy by fact, regardless of age, so who knows.
Bottom line, sometimes I need to remind myself that is okay if I don’t get exactly what I was planning on getting–and actually hearing the word No might not be that “atrocious” because it can lead you to quite incredible surprises. Who knows what we can find?
My not getting sushi was probably the best thing, since I got to enjoy a meal far better than those rolls I get every single time. Plus, since I don't believe in ending dinner without dessert, I tried the green tea milk pudding with a green tea dessert cream. A-MA-Z-ing, if you like green tea, that is, and I do.
My bottom-line: a very charming Japanese restaurant, great for those looking for an authentic experience and are willing to forego the more traditional sushi rolls and sashimi for a truer more authentic Japanese culinary experience. Jump people, Jump!
Prices: mid to high | Good for: friends night out or romantic date | Vote: 2 Thumbs Up
Click here to see all the menus
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