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trillium

your favorite non-trad, budget eats?

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4 adventurous and obsessive cooks/eaters/oddballs are meeting up in Manhattan next weekend, myself and the the partner included. Besides our fancy pants lunch planned at Jean Georges for Monday, we're hoping to keep it pretty econo in style. We're also planning to seek out things we don't normally cook or eat on home turf(Singapore, Seattle/Portland/SF and Boston are the culinary backgrounds).

We're planning on doing a LES walking eatathon for Katz, Russ and Daughters, Yonah Schimmel's, egg creams, Kossars, Gus's Pickles, Il Laboratorio del Gelato (3 of us have been to the one in Rome, is the same thing?). We may also be venturing out to the Bronx (Arthur Ave), Brooklyn (pizza) and Staten Island (ferry ride and pizza).

Basically, for the rest, we're looking for non-Euro based food that is at it's best in Manhattan (if you leave out Flushing). Due to budget constraints, we're not going to do sushi, but there are plenty of other places to choose from in the East and South East Asian category, some that we're thinking of are Yakitori Totto or Torys, Aburiya Kinnosuke, Ramenya Setagaya, Sobaya, Gyu-kaku or Suibi for Japanese. I'm not a okonomiyaki fan, 2 of us are big ramen fans (Santoka is our favorite Japanese export so far). Any clear consensus on something must not miss on the list? We're also considering Grand Sichuan Intl, since our friends haven't had good Sichuan before. Other considerations are Skyway (because one of them loves Malaysian food, but the partner is dubious given his culinary background), Congee Village for when we're in that hood trying to find house made lap cheung, places in Koreatown like Han Bat or Mandoo Bar. Our interest was also piqued by Chinese-Cuban, but it seems like that is pretty much a dying cuisine in NYC? Are there any glaring omissions in our list? Any avoid at all costs?

We're not tied to just Asian, but its the easiest for us to figure out. You'll notice I didn't mention any Momofuku places, fusiony Asian places have a pretty high activation energy barrier for some people in the crowd to get over.

thanks in advance!

trillium

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4 adventurous and obsessive cooks/eaters/oddballs are meeting up in Manhattan next weekend, myself and the the partner included. Besides our fancy pants lunch planned at Jean Georges for Monday, we're hoping to keep it pretty econo in style. We're also planning to seek out things we don't normally cook or eat on home turf(Singapore, Seattle/Portland/SF and Boston are the culinary backgrounds).

We're planning on doing a LES walking eatathon for Katz, Russ and Daughters, Yonah Schimmel's, egg creams, Kossars, Gus's Pickles, Il Laboratorio del Gelato (3 of us have been to the one in Rome, is the same thing?). We may also be venturing out to the Bronx (Arthur Ave), Brooklyn (pizza) and Staten Island (ferry ride and pizza).

Basically, for the rest, we're looking for non-Euro based food that is at it's best in Manhattan (if you leave out Flushing).  Due to budget constraints, we're not going to do sushi, but there are plenty of other places to choose from in the East and South East Asian category, some that we're thinking of are Yakitori Totto or Torys, Aburiya Kinnosuke, Ramenya Setagaya, Sobaya, Gyu-kaku or Suibi for Japanese.  I'm not a okonomiyaki fan, 2 of us are big ramen fans (Santoka is our favorite Japanese export so far). Any clear consensus on something must not miss on the list? We're also considering Grand Sichuan Intl, since our friends haven't had good Sichuan before. Other considerations are Skyway (because one of them loves Malaysian food, but the partner is dubious given his culinary background), Congee Village for when we're in that hood trying to find house made lap cheung, places in Koreatown like Han Bat or Mandoo Bar. Our interest was also piqued by Chinese-Cuban, but it seems like that is pretty much a dying cuisine in NYC? Are there any glaring omissions in our list? Any avoid at all costs?

We're not tied to just Asian, but its the easiest for us to figure out. You'll notice I didn't mention any Momofuku places, fusiony Asian places have a pretty high activation energy barrier for some people in the crowd to get over.

thanks in advance!

trillium

Tell your friends to get over their momfuku block...it will be the best thing they've ver done for themselves.

otherwise your list is impressive and well rounded....


does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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Tell your friends to get over their momfuku block...it will be the best thing they've ver done for themselves.

otherwise your list is impressive and well rounded....

Actually, that's my spouse! Can you give me 4 good reasons a ethnic Chinese from Singapore who has travelled (and eaten voraciously) in SE Asia (one of the cradles of Asian 'fusion' food) should get over the Momofuku block? Not trying to pick a fight, just telling you what you're up against.

regards,

trillium


Edited by trillium (log)

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Well I applaud your focus on Japanese cuisine - if you're coming from Seattle/Portland/SF and Boston, all which have small but devoted Japanese populations, than you're really going to dig the level of specialization, authenticity and diversification and see that our Japanese is the best outside of Japan....

I would go to Soba Totto, because then you can have your Soba and yakitori (and chicken sashimi) experience all in one go., so that takes care of Totto, Torys, and Sobaya. If you like santouka, go to santouka or skip setagaya. Gyu-kaku kinda sucks and if you want, I'll make you an okonomiyaki in my living room that you'll love. Suibi is great if you're from Okinawa, are you?

I would keep Aburiya in there, that's an experience. But if you can afford Aburiya and Totto than you could probably hit up a 15-piece omakase at Ushiwakamaru.

Can post more later lemme know what you think

4 adventurous and obsessive cooks/eaters/oddballs are meeting up in Manhattan next weekend, myself and the the partner included. Besides our fancy pants lunch planned at Jean Georges for Monday, we're hoping to keep it pretty econo in style. We're also planning to seek out things we don't normally cook or eat on home turf(Singapore, Seattle/Portland/SF and Boston are the culinary backgrounds).

Basically, for the rest, we're looking for non-Euro based food that is at it's best in Manhattan (if you leave out Flushing).  Due to budget constraints, we're not going to do sushi, but there are plenty of other places to choose from in the East and South East Asian category, some that we're thinking of are Yakitori Totto or Torys, Aburiya Kinnosuke, Ramenya Setagaya, Sobaya, Gyu-kaku or Suibi for Japanese.  I'm not a okonomiyaki fan, 2 of us are big ramen fans (Santoka is our favorite Japanese export so far). Any clear consensus on something must not miss on the list? We're also considering Grand Sichuan Intl, since our friends haven't had good Sichuan before. Other considerations are Skyway (because one of them loves Malaysian food, but the partner is dubious given his culinary background), Congee Village for when we're in that hood trying to find house made lap cheung, places in Koreatown like Han Bat or Mandoo Bar. Our interest was also piqued by Chinese-Cuban, but it seems like that is pretty much a dying cuisine in NYC? Are there any glaring omissions in our list? Any avoid at all costs?

We're not tied to just Asian, but its the easiest for us to figure out. You'll notice I didn't mention any Momofuku places, fusiony Asian places have a pretty high activation energy barrier for some people in the crowd to get over.

thanks in advance!

trillium

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Because it's nothing like that?

Exactly.

Momofuku (either Noodle Bar of Ssam) doesn't produce anything remotely resembling any Asian "fusion" food that I've eaten in KL, Singapore, or the like, unless I missed the restaurant that served ten kinds of artisanal bacon, oysters with kimchi mignonette, or an old-school sauteed skate with Old Bay. It's a very distinct, very personal style of cuisine. Other than the fact that it's run by a chef of Asian origin and features some Asian ingredients, it's not the kind of food that you seem to think it is.

Actually, that's my spouse! Can you give me 4 good reasons a ethnic Chinese from Singapore who has travelled (and eaten voraciously) in SE Asia (one of the cradles of Asian 'fusion' food) should get over the Momofuku block? Not trying to pick a fight, just telling you what you're up against.

regards,

trillium


Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"

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Because it's nothing like that?

Exactly.

Momofuku (either Noodle Bar of Ssam) doesn't produce anything remotely resembling any Asian "fusion" food that I've eaten in KL, Singapore, or the like, unless I missed the restaurant that served ten kinds of artisanal bacon, oysters with kimchi mignonette, or an old-school sauteed skate with Old Bay. It's a very distinct, very personal style of cuisine. Other than the fact that it's run by a chef of Asian origin and features some Asian ingredients, it's not the kind of food that you seem to think it is.

Actually, that's my spouse! Can you give me 4 good reasons a ethnic Chinese from Singapore who has travelled (and eaten voraciously) in SE Asia (one of the cradles of Asian 'fusion' food) should get over the Momofuku block? Not trying to pick a fight, just telling you what you're up against.

regards,

trillium

I'll give you that it might not be the kind of American Asian fusion food I think it is, and I'll give you that it isn't like what we think of as "good" Asian fusion food (Peranakan for example or where Thailand hits Malaysia). But I've looked over the menu at both spots and it looks pretty Korean fusiony to me. I don't disagree with anyone that food is most likely very tasty, just don't think it's at the top of the list because of time limitations. Using better quality stuff is a really good idea. We source our own cooking ingredients very carefully, and can be even more selective then Mr. Chang since we have the luxury of it being a hobby instead of a profession. That give us time to cure our own pork products from hogs we've slaughtered or ferment our own kimchiis or figure out which single-breasted heirloom chicken breed we like the best, or experiment with different ways to flavor duck confit.

regards,

trillium

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In that case, you probably DON'T have to go to Momofuku.

But frankly, I don't see why you have to go ANYWHERE, then.

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In that case, you probably DON'T have to go to Momofuku.

But frankly, I don't see why you have to go ANYWHERE, then.

Because we have to eat? And are really not that good at making ramen?

regards,

trillium

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Totto is my favorite of the Yakitorri Places and Aburiya Kinnosuke is pretty expensive..

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Well Aburiya doesn't need to be any more or less expensive than Totto, and both can be relatively inexpensive or relatively expensive depending on how you order. Totto, Torys, AK, Soba Totto are all the same owner and paradigm, so I'd say if I had one weekend, to do one is to do them all. also, with this enterprise, the best of the group tends to be the newest because that's being supervised the most - check Meehan's review of Soba Totto

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1. You have obviously done your research.

2. You are simply wrong on momofuku. Quite curious as to exactly what on those menus you think you have seen before?

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AKAIK momofuku defines any categorization. At the same time, as it should, the strongest influence is korean, across the menu. It's name is unfortunate.. Momofuku Ando was the inventor of cup ramen - I really doubt that the original intent was to call it "lucky peach". Chang's original intent was to make a better bowl of ramen for NYC, as far as I can tell, and he arrived here through a huge series of accidents, some happier than others.

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Eat at Ssam. Without a doubt.

Everyone seems to think that Santouka just creams Setagaya. I really like the latter; the broth is more interesting than at Santouka. Santouka is "good" to me, Setagaya is "really good."

Gyukaku is kind of lame. It's good quality but the prices are higher and the portions smaller than what you'll get at most proper Korean restaurants.

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Eat at Ssam.  Without a doubt.

Everyone seems to think that Santouka just creams Setagaya.  I really like the latter; the broth is more interesting than at Santouka.  Santouka is "good" to me, Setagaya is "really good."

Gyukaku is kind of lame.  It's good quality but the prices are higher and the portions smaller than what you'll get at most proper Korean restaurants.

I like Gyu-kaku, though it's really not the kind of place I'd seek from out of town...it's fun and camp, but not in any way serious food. (but it's tasty and the service is nice)


does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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4 adventurous and obsessive cooks/eaters/oddballs are meeting up in Manhattan next weekend, myself and the the partner included. Besides our fancy pants lunch planned at Jean Georges for Monday, we're hoping to keep it pretty econo in style. We're also planning to seek out things we don't normally cook or eat on home turf(Singapore, Seattle/Portland/SF and Boston are the culinary backgrounds).

We're planning on doing a LES walking eatathon for Katz, Russ and Daughters, Yonah Schimmel's, egg creams, Kossars, Gus's Pickles, Il Laboratorio del Gelato (3 of us have been to the one in Rome, is the same thing?). We may also be venturing out to the Bronx (Arthur Ave), Brooklyn (pizza) and Staten Island (ferry ride and pizza).

Basically, for the rest, we're looking for non-Euro based food that is at it's best in Manhattan (if you leave out Flushing).  Due to budget constraints, we're not going to do sushi, but there are plenty of other places to choose from in the East and South East Asian category, some that we're thinking of are Yakitori Totto or Torys, Aburiya Kinnosuke, Ramenya Setagaya, Sobaya, Gyu-kaku or Suibi for Japanese.  I'm not a okonomiyaki fan, 2 of us are big ramen fans (Santoka is our favorite Japanese export so far). Any clear consensus on something must not miss on the list? We're also considering Grand Sichuan Intl, since our friends haven't had good Sichuan before. Other considerations are Skyway (because one of them loves Malaysian food, but the partner is dubious given his culinary background), Congee Village for when we're in that hood trying to find house made lap cheung, places in Koreatown like Han Bat or Mandoo Bar. Our interest was also piqued by Chinese-Cuban, but it seems like that is pretty much a dying cuisine in NYC? Are there any glaring omissions in our list? Any avoid at all costs?

We're not tied to just Asian, but its the easiest for us to figure out. You'll notice I didn't mention any Momofuku places, fusiony Asian places have a pretty high activation energy barrier for some people in the crowd to get over.

thanks in advance!

trillium

OK, a few comments:

Skyway is good Malaysian food, but if you frequent Singapore, I can't understand why you'd want to go there. If you DO go there, get seafood or fish dishes (I really like their Curry Asam Fish Head Casserole), Ipoh Chicken, Nasi Lemak, etc. I think their best noodle soup is, believe it or not, Java Mee.

Instead of Grand Sichuan, go to Szechuan Gourmet on 39th St. between 5th and 6th, or if going to Flushing is no big deal, go to Spicy & Tasty. Those are my two favorite Sichuan-style restaurants in New York, now, though I've been to Szechuan Gourmet only one so far and to Spicy & Tasty easily 60 times.

If you want to go for Korean food in Manhattan, go for barbecue at Madangsui, 35th St. between 5th and 6th. It's great. Excellent 8-dish banchan, too, plus a freebie bowl of excellent dwenjang gijae. Mandoo Bar and Han Bat are both fine, but Madangsui is special.

I'm a regular at Soba Koh 5th St. just east of 2nd Av., but I went to Soba-Ya recently for the first time in several years, and it was great. Its menu is more extensive than Soba Koh's and the atmosphere is different. You may have to wait for a table at Soba-Ya. I like both places.

I like Ramen Setagaya but have grown impatient with long lines even at off hours and haven't been back for a few weeks. I haven't been out to Mitsuwa to try Ramen Santouka. If you do go to Setagaya, I like their Oshinko when I get a side dish with Ramen.

I haven't been to any of the Momofuku places, so I can't say anything about them.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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I prefer The Pickle Guys (aka Essex St. Pickles) which is right up the block from Kossar's, and as long as you're at Kossar's, stop into Donut Plant for one of their fabulous cake donuts.

I don't think that Il Lab is the same as the one in Rome - remember, if you're having gelato at Il Lab, you'll be eating it outside...

What about dumplings from Dumpling House on Eldridge St.? Hand pulled noodles are also available in that neighborhood.

I'd go with Soba-ya over Soba Koh - I like their noodles even more, and as Pan mentioned above, a much more extensive menu.

If you head up to the Bronx for pizza, I had amazing stuff at Louie & Ernie's, on Crosby Avenue, but it's not really near Arthur Ave, which, while others may argue, is not as much of a dining destination, imo, as it is a shopping destination.

Lupa and/or 'inoteca might fit into the budget lunch category. Economy Candy on Rivington St. is great for a trip back in time. There's a place on Hester St. between Chrystie and the Bowery that make lap-cheung- can't remember the exact address.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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i wonder if your group would enjoy fatty crab. it's not straight up singaporean/malaysian and there are dishes that deviate enough from the standard hawker fare to be worth looking at. my singaporean girlfriend liked it a lot (excluding the or luak). *shrug*

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stop into Donut Plant for one of their fabulous cake donuts

Mmmm Doughnut Plant. I don't know how long they'll still be making them, but this weekend they had doughnuts with crystallized ginger glaze (for Chinese New Year) and rose petals+rose water glaze (for Valentine's Day). And you obviously don't know this, but I'm not big on sweets, and even less interested in doughnuts usually, but their doughnuts won me over. :smile:


"I know it's the bugs, that's what cheese is. Gone off milk with bugs and mould - that's why it tastes so good. Cows and bugs together have a good deal going down."

- Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), Chef!

eG Ethics Signatory

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....We're planning on doing a LES walking eatathon for Katz, Russ and Daughters, Yonah Schimmel's, egg creams, Kossars, Gus's Pickles, Il Laboratorio del Gelato (3 of us have been to the one in Rome, is the same thing?). We may also be venturing out to the Bronx (Arthur Ave), Brooklyn (pizza) and Staten Island (ferry ride and pizza).

Basically, for the rest, we're looking for non-Euro based food that is at it's best in Manhattan (if you leave out Flushing).  Due to budget constraints, we're not going to do sushi, but there are plenty of other places to choose from in the East and South East Asian category, some that we're thinking of are Yakitori Totto or Torys, Aburiya Kinnosuke, Ramenya Setagaya, Sobaya, Gyu-kaku or Suibi for Japanese.  I'm not a okonomiyaki fan, 2 of us are big ramen fans (Santoka is our favorite Japanese export so far). Any clear consensus on something must not miss on the list? We're also considering Grand Sichuan Intl, since our friends haven't had good Sichuan before. Other considerations are Skyway (because one of them loves Malaysian food, but the partner is dubious given his culinary background), Congee Village for when we're in that hood trying to find house made lap cheung, places in Koreatown like Han Bat or Mandoo Bar. Our interest was also piqued by Chinese-Cuban, but it seems like that is pretty much a dying cuisine in NYC? Are there any glaring omissions in our list? Any avoid at all costs?

We're not tied to just Asian, but its the easiest for us to figure out. You'll notice I didn't mention any Momofuku places, fusiony Asian places have a pretty high activation energy barrier for some people in the crowd to get over.

thanks in advance!

trillium

I know you'll be right there, but dont waste the calories/capacity on Yonah S's knishes. Eat more pastrami at Katz' or add something to your Russ order. You didnt specify where you're thinking of going but, if you come to Brooklyn for pizza, skip Grimaldi's (one of the places with a reputation that's undeserved for 10 years or more). If you're serious, go to DiFara's. But you probably know that.

In Manhattan, go to Devi. Not that it's cheap (Ssam Bar range) but it's quite an innovative take on Indian food. Good fried chicken to boot. For Cantonese, NY Noodletown in C'town (end of Bowery, near the Manhattan Bridge & Canal St) is still the best. For a quick but very nice lunch soup & some hacked chicken, pork &/or duck, I've been going to Chiou Chow (or something like that spelling) on Mott, a block north of Canal, for over 20 years. Simple and very good... and cheap. You probably wont listen to this but there's a family run Ghanan place in Harlem (W113 & Douglass) that's worth a visit. Called Florence's, it's so inexpensive that you should overorder by a bit, expecting to not like some of it. All my other ethnic places are in Queens or Brooklyn and you said Manhattan so...

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Eat at Ssam.  Without a doubt.

Everyone seems to think that Santouka just creams Setagaya.  I really like the latter; the broth is more interesting than at Santouka.  Santouka is "good" to me, Setagaya is "really good."

Gyukaku is kind of lame.  It's good quality but the prices are higher and the portions smaller than what you'll get at most proper Korean restaurants.

I consider Korean BBQ and yakiniku different cuisines with a common history - don't you?

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Thank you all very much for the suggestions, I'll keep them all gratefully in mind. I appreciate forewarning about relatives expense and waiting times. I have to be in a special mood to wait more then 30-40 minutes to be seated, and it doesn't happen all that frequently.

On pizza, at this point I'm completely overwhelmed with the adamant opinions both pro and con that pop up for the most commonly mentioned spots, which is why I didn't ask for opinions here! I like pizza, I do. I've waited to be seated for at good spots in north America and Italy. But I'm not sure I'm up for the madness that is DiFara, I have trouble with religious fanatics (hee). I only have 3 days and we'll just have to see. Given that I now live in a spot that offers macaroni and cheese as a topping for pizza, I figure even just plain good, instead of amazing pizza with be sufficient. Amazing would be nice though.

I'm going to try really hard to eat at one of the soba places, our one attempt at making our own soba was much more dismal then the passable ramen we make. I really like Santouka ramen but I never mind trying something new. The waiting in off-hours thing is bad though. Given that I'm not from Okinawa or a huge spam fan, I'll rule out Suibi.

I appreciate the add-ins for our LES tour, I'm a huge cake donut and pickle fan (no not together) so that's a bonus. I've never had a knish I thought was a good use of calories. I was kinda thinking I should give them one more shot, but it does sound like there are tastier things to be eating.

Michael, thanks for chiming in about Skyway, I was hoping you would. Our friends are excited about it, the spouse isn't (the joy and trouble of having enthusiastic food friends and lovers). I will swap out Grand Sichuan for Szechwan Gourmet.

Steve R., thanks for the noodle and dumpling recommends and the lap cheung place. I'll keep my eyes peeled.

Thank you all very much! I'm getting hungry just thinking about it and I just ate plenty of the sambar we brought in for soup day at work!

Trillium

ps: raji when should we plan on showing up at your place for an okonomiyaki that will convert me?

pps: I really don't like kewpie, which might be part of the problem!


Edited by trillium (log)

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I appreciate the add-ins for our LES tour, I'm a huge cake donut and pickle fan (no not together) so that's a bonus. I've never had a knish I thought was a good use of calories. I was kinda thinking I should give them one more shot, but it does sound like there are tastier things to be eating.

Order a knish at Katz's; different type of knish, but serviceable in a pinch.

DiFara's probably not worth your valuable time to schelp, wait on line, be aggravated, etc.

Don't forget the whitefish salad at Russ & Daughter's - they'll try to sell you bagels (H & H), but get your bialys at Kossar''s...remember, Kossar's is closed from Friday evening till Saturday around 8 PM.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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ps: raji when should we plan on showing up at your place for an okonomiyaki that will convert me?

pps: I really don't like kewpie, which might be part of the problem!

You can show up anytime, mine's totally authentic . I even have a half-pound nagaimo sitting in my fridge. You might also try this place

http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/otafuku/

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