Recently I met a friend for lunch at Ukiyo. It has been quite a while since I was there, and the cold days make ramen sound good. I was happy when we got there to see they have sort of condensed the lunch and dinner menu into one and include ramen for both. I love the new small plates format as well. Of course, they still have the full sushi menu, but the rest is focused on shareable plates.
At lunch I had a half portion of the pork shoyu ramen ($9) and my friend the half order of chicken ramen ($9). They also have a vegetarian option, and I love that they offer the half portions, because I think they are plenty big. Plus, then you don’t feel like you’re over ordering if you want to try something else, which we did. The ramen is good—it is not spicy at all but has a nice depth of flavor in the broth. They were both on the mild side, but all the ingredients were tasty—I liked the fact that the slices of pork in mine weren’t fatty and were very tender. The only bad part of the ramen was in my friend’s chicken version. The pieces of chicken suffered from being a little gristly.
We also had the bacon and cheese okonomiyaki ($10), which was the standout. So glad I ordered this, and the feeling was held by my friend as well. So okonomiyaki are Japanese pancakes made with shredded scallions and cabbage, and I believe some mountain yam was in there. Plus, of course, the bacon and cheese. There was a sauce drizzled on top and bonito flakes. This was the reason that I went back less than a week later with my daughter. That pancake was so tasty. Lots of flavors in there, lots of umami as they say. Seriously, next time you go, give it a try. It is rich though, so you will want to share it.
So at dinner, we ordered it again, and enjoyed it just as much except that it came at the very end of our meal and we had overordered and were getting pretty full. The first thing that came out was their version of tuna tartare called maguro zuke ($16). It is large cubes of tuna with chunks of nagaimo, which is a type of Japanese yam. These chunks are raw and it has a really interesting light and crunchy texture that is a cool contrast to the tuna. Not going to lie though, I would rather have more of the tuna and a little less of the yam. There were also some Chrysanthemum greens. It had a light shoyu sauce, that was maybe just a little light for my taste. I appreciate the freshness of the fish etc., but I would have loved a little more of the salty flavor of the sauce.
We also had a hot chicken bun to share ($3), which was also quite delicious. I love a good Japanese bun, and this was a good one. The bun itself was really tender and I appreciated that it wasn’t as fat as some I have had, so it had a good ratio of bun to fried chicken. The crispy coating on the fried chicken was so crisp it just shattered when you bit into it. It was coated in a kind of hot honey sauce that didn’t feel ridiculously hot at first but built up in your mouth. Add some pickles, and you have a great little bite.
We also shared the pork katsu donburi ($14), which I also really enjoyed. The pork was breaded and fried crisp, egg, and these melty sweet soy onions. It was all served on top of steamed rice. A really nice dish with crunchy bits and lots of smooth silky texture as well. It had a good, slightly sweet flavor, but also with the hit of soy. We both really enjoyed this.
We also felt like we should order a sushi roll as well, since well, it’s a sushi place right? My daughter picked the crab, avocado and salmon roll ($17). The ingredients are some of the freshest around, and I love the actual crab in there—but I guess maybe I am realizing that I like some of the gooey sauces on my sushi. This one had a very light sauce on top, but honestly, it was so light, it isn’t particularly memorable to me. I get letting the fish shine, but I like a little burst of flavor too I guess. Bottom line, I think there’s a lot more flavor in the small plates, and I would probably just stick with that part of the menu on future visits. It is certainly the part of the menu that lures me back in.
All in all, it’s a great addition and I like that we have a lunch and dinner place with such an interesting Japanese menu. I like that you are no longer limited to only ramen for lunch and that you can get ramen at dinner and have more options than just sushi as well. It’s funny, because my first review I thought the sushi was the star compared to the other dishes we had, but now I think my opinion has flip flopped.
I am excited to see how the menu keeps evolving and changing with the seasons. I look forward to checking it out again soon. Let me know your menu favorites.
4907 49th Street