Mon-Fri, 11:30am-3:30pm and 5pm-10:30pm; Sat, noon-3:30pm and 5pm-11:30pm; Sun, 4pm-10:30pm
4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R at 14th St.-Union Sq.; 6 at Astor Pl.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
This Japanese restaurant has an excellent pedigree (chefs George Ruan and Jack Wei studied under Masa Takayama) and pretty stellar food. What it doesn’t have are customers, which might be owing to the oddly out-of-the-way Astor Place location and also to the current lack of a liquor license. The space is a bit awkward, as well, all wood and hard surfaces, without any of the sense of ease you generally to find in traditional Japanese surroundings. Still, if you can get past all that, there are some great, even sublime, bites to be had. Start with an order of soup dumplings. They’re juicy, porky, and nearly as good as any New Yorkers clamor for, though at $7 an order, they’re a bit pricier. While it might seems redundant to order several things with yuba (tofu skin), the signature ingredient makes for some of the restaurant’s best eating. A yuba with uni starter is an absolute must, cold and so sublimely briney, you’re apt to see seascapes flash behind your closed eyelids as it slips down. On the sushi side, a vegetarian yuba roll is totally different yet also delicious: lightly crunchy tofu skin is rolled up inside rice seaweed, drizzled with a lightly sweet sauce. Other sushi — the kind containing fish — is extremely fresh and nicely presented.Recommended Dishes
Yuba with uni, $6; yuba roll, $7; sushi