To thank my husband for taking me to Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse for a wonderful Valentine’s Day dinner, I took him to Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya (187 Orchard St New York, NY 10002). In Japan, white-collared workers hang out at izakayas (sake shops) during “happy hour” and spend a few good yen on “tapas” and drinks. Afterward, they return home to eat full meals.
We arrived at Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya at seven pm and entered through the 187 Orchard entrance, and not through the Thompson LES hotel entrance. Large hanging lanterns with Japanese text transform an NYC restaurant into a place you might find in Tokyo.
We received hot towels and then a sampling of yummy sakes, from the sweetest to the driest. We settled on a sake with a hint of peach flavor. Having done some research in order to make my surprise to my husband great, I knew what to order.
For appetizers, we ordered the scallop skewers bathed in miso butter (delicious), the chicken liver mousse (good but was served cold), the blue fin toro (expensive for a little piece), the hamachi tataki (yellow tail tartare with a quail egg, fresh and delicate) and the leek sunomo (authentic, amazing ponzo and bonito-flaked flavor).
(The hamachi tataki is the dish that looks like a boob with a yellow nipple. The blue fin toro is a small slice of fish in the back for $17.00 USD. Scallops are self-explanatory in the picture and the leek sunomo is the bowl with a bonito flake afro.)
Our appetizers were pretty satisfying and despite being cold, I enjoyed the chicken liver mousse the most. It was like spreading exquisite protein-filled butter on a slice of crispy toast. Toast was abundant and you can ask for me. This appetizer is great for foodies who care about portion sizes. The portion sizes tend to be small here and the prices a bit high.
The tour de force of the night was definitely our entree. We picked the oxtail and bone marrow fried rice. The fried rice came with a fried egg that looked un-special until we broke it and realized that it was filled with delicious buttery cubes of bone marrow. For me, the rice was a little on the oily and salty side. The meat from the oxtail is separated from the bone and tasted amazing. The hot sauce that the rice came with completely transformed its taste. For me, I preferred the rice with the hot sauce. My husband liked it with or without. He said he had never had more heavenly fried rice. I’m really spoiling my man.
We’re delighted to discover the gems in the city. Hopefully, after our Tokyo visit this year, NYC Japanese joints will continue to delight us.
After finishing our rice, our waitress asked if we wanted to order more food. She was a bit pushy and wanted us to order more. After finishing the bowl of rice, my husband was about the explode. We politely told her that we’re full but can order dessert. For dessert, we had a green tea ice cream mochi and a black sesame ice cream mochi, taking our waitress’ recommendation. I definitely recommend the black sesame one. Our waitress asked if we also wanted to order the green tea creme brulee. Tempting as it was, we were already suffering from food coma.
Overall, we had a wonderful experience the night after Valentine’s Day. We weren’t rushed. The total for the night: $142 USD with tips. We would definitely come back to try the omakase, or go to the original Blue Ribbon Sushi in the city.
Kat’s Review: 3.5 out of 5
Photos Taken with Jake’s Sony Alpha 99. Photos Copyright (c) Nummyz Productions 2013.