With the NYC omakase craze, it’s hard to go to a nice Japanese meal without burning paper like Kim & Kanye. Fortunately, I stumbled into a small, affordable, and super hip find: Okonomi.
Okonomi is a walk-in only breakfast and lunch ichiju-sansai restaurant in East Williamburg (right next to the Blind Barber so def hipster). Ichiju-sansai means one soup, three dishes. At Okonomi you get exactly one soup, three dishes, and tea. However, the quality of ingredients and the care that goes into preparing the minimalist dishes and décor creates an atmosphere of artistic appreciation. I felt like I was eating in a Jiro-style documentary.
Suprisingly, sushi and ramen are not the daily fare of an average Japanese family, and Okonomi makes you feel like you’ve been adopted into a loving, traditional Japanese home. What makes Okonomi truly unique is its culture and connection. The restaurant is actually owned by the Osakana Fish Market in Brooklyn, so you know that you’re getting fresh ingredients. As part of their motto of “Mottainai” or don’t waste, they started Okonomi and YUJI Ramen. The two restaurants share the same space but are open at different times (definitely recommend trying YUJI at some point)
The day I visited Okonomi, I was offered a choice of four fresh fish. I chose my waiter’s recommendation, the blue fish, and snuggled up in the window to wait for my meal.
Everything and everyone was so clean, nice, and calming. From my friendly waiter to the locally sourced ceramics, it seemed like the kind of environment that Trump will soon fence off with a Mexico funded wall.
Within no time, I had my meal (pictured below).
- The blue fish was light, bright, and super refreshing. It was soft and succulent yet crispy and rich.
- The rice with the runny egg was sweet, savory, and filling. Paired with the roasted green tea, it was the perfect flavor profile for a cold day pick me up.
- The vegetables were a tad bit under pickled for my taste, but they definitely had a clean crunch.
- The greens were fresh and tart. They definitely made my liver feel healthier than the night before.
- The miso soup was to die for! This miso tasted like it had all the love of a caring grandmother and lacked any cheap processed taste.
The service at Okonomi was excellent, and the wait staff does not accept tips! They are paid in living wages and in passion for an authentic, high quality Mottainai ichiju-sansai experience. I highly recommend Okonomi, and it is definitely worth the $25 hit.