NYC — Spring 2013: Kobeyaki

Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Since my brother was picking my dad up from the airport on Tuesday night, my mom and I went off in search of dinner by ourselves. My mom is not one to explore or trek very far for food because she's not very adventurous (and also quite paranoid in general), so we decided to check out a Japanese fusion fast food place around the corner from our hotel that had intrigued us earlier in the day (we were actually going to go there for lunch, but it was way too busy and it would've been impossible to get seats), called Kobeyaki.

Salmon volcano roll

Salmon volcano roll (innards)

My mom and I decided to share a maki roll to start, and despite my efforts in convincing her to try some of the raw options (I wanted the sashimi roll), she just would not trust the freshness of the raw fish outside of a "real sushi place," so we finally decided on the salmon volcano roll, which is under the "broiled" section. It includes spicy (cooked) smoked salmon, red onion, avocado, and tempura flakes, and then is topped with their creamy sweet and spicy sauce, togarashi pepper, sesame seeds, and scallions. Obviously, the rolls here are by no means authentic, and they aren't meant to be — they are a twist on maki that you'd find at typical North American sushi places, playing with different flavours, textures, and ingredients to create a new hybrid of maki. And even though I generally think maki that doesn't include raw fish isn't worth eating, the salmon volcano roll was surprisingly tasty — the smokiness of the (cooked) salmon works well with the mild flavour of the avocado and sweet spiciness of the sauce on top (no soy sauce needed here). The rolls are huge, too, so if you plan on trying out other items on the menu, it's best to share.

Soft shell crab bun

Tempura sweet potato fries

The moment I glanced at the menu, I knew I was going to have to get the soft shell crab bun. I mean, there's a huge poster of it hanging on the wall and everything. And I am so glad I did, because it is glorious. Slightly spicy soft shell crab, deep-fried to golden crispy perfection, is paired with a Japanese-style coleslaw that's been tossed with spicy mayo and unagi sauce, and then stuffed into a toasted kaiser-style bun. It's probably a million calories, but it's so worth it. To me, that's a great marriage of Japanese- and New York-style foods. So is the tempura sweet potato fries, a definite must-order no matter what else you get. As we all know, sweet potato fries are already delicious on their own, but these ones have lightly panko-crusted, perfectly crispy exteriors that just make them extra fantastic and seem less greasy. And make sure you ask for some wasabi mayo and teriyaki ketchup on the side for dipping. Yummmm.

On that note, my mom ordered the grilled chicken bowl with udon noodles and was totally unsatisfied; the ingredients were good and fresh, but the sauce they were tossed in was way too sweet. She actually had to get a cup of water to wash off some of the sauce, and I thought she was overreacting as usual because we have rather opposing opinions on food (she likes it more bland). But I tried some of the noodles, and she was actually right for once — the teriyaki sauce was almost sickly sweet. I'm not sure if this is because the sauce itself is too sweet or if they just put too much sauce in, but her noodle bowl wasn't great. The reviews I've read so far haven't really mentioned a problem with sickly sweet teriyaki sauce, though, so maybe they did just put too much sauce in. My mom should really just let me order for her next time, 'cause she had some serious food envy when she saw me eating my meal. Just sayin'. Either way, I would be inclined to return here to eat, as it's fast, decently priced, tasty, and fresh, with interesting combinations of ingredients — the kobe beef burger, braised pork bun, and green tea ice cream sandwich are calling my name.

293 7th Avenue
New York, NY 10001
(212) 242-5500
2 comments on "NYC — Spring 2013: Kobeyaki"
  1. Argh, they look SO GOOD. I'm not a big sushi fan (irony being that my parents run a take-out sushi joint) and prefer my fish cooked. That roll looks delicious as does your crab bun!

    1. Liz, that soft shell crab bun was insane. Like, if you're gonna do fast food, try this place, it's delightful!

      And if you like cooked fish in sushi, then that roll is totally for you. I'm the total opposite -- I rarely eat cooked fish, and usually prefer it raw. :P


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