Konichiwa again! Last time, I listed three of some of my favorite hot spots in the little section of the East Village known informally as Little Japan. Now here’s another three picks to satisfy your cravings for more tasty Japanese morsels.
Best Grocery Store: Sunrise Mart (4 Stuyvesant St)
Located on the same block as Panya and Village Yokocho, Sunrise Mart offers all your Japanese grocery needs right in the middle of Manhattan. Like Village Yokocho, the entrance is sorta hidden…a fluorescent sign sits above a doorway that leads straight to an elevator. Take the elevator upstairs and you’re met with aisles of Japanese goodies. Whenever I go, I always have a rought time not putting everything in my shopping basket.
They have all kinds of sauces, packaged ramen, frozen foods, snacks, and even fresh sashimi fish for sushi. You can even buy home goods including dishes, noodle bowls, chopsticks, and bento boxes! Sunrise Mart’s even a great spot to grab a cheap snack, like their $1 ongiri and $6 sushi boxes.
Best Sushi: Sushi Park (121 E 2nd Ave)
Okay, so it’s obviously not “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” quality, but for the price, Sushi Park really takes the cake. The menu is extensive—almost overwhelming. They offer so many varieties of sushi rolls, noodles, rice, and appetizers, so there’s definitely something to please everyone. Not to mention, they offer a crazy promotion where their sushi rolls are 50% off all day, every day! Maybe it’s just a psychological marketing scheme…but even so, their $6-$12 rolls can’t be beat. Monday through Thursday, Sushi Park even offers a dollar menu, which includes various types of sushi, sashimi, and a whole slew of appetizers.
Best Ramen: Ippudo (65 4th Ave)
Forget your preconceived notions of ramen. This isn’t your $0.79 pack of instant noodles you grabbed off the bodega shelf…this is the real deal! Ippudo NY opened in 2008 as the first American outpost of this Japanese chain of ramen joints. As an import straight from Japan, you can only expect quality, authentic ramen…and it doesn’t disappoint! The typical wait time for dinner can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours during peak time, so plan accordingly since they don’t accept reservations! (Side note: Ippudo opened another NYC location in Midtown last summer, and sources say the lines there aren’t nearly as long) Though I wouldn’t consider Ippudo a bargain restaurant, my favorite Akamura Modern ramen bowl is surely worth the $15. I always upgrade for $2 to include a nitamago (seasoned salt boiled egg) because YOLO. After you try their handmade ramen noodles and homemade tonkatsu broth, you really wonder why the plastic-packaged can even bear the same name.
There’s still more Japanese goodies around the mini-neighborhood of Little Japan, so take a stroll on an empty stomach and you’ll be sure to find something to satisfy your taste buds.