The Evolution of Japanese Dining In New York

February 21st, 2015 § 0 comments

The first time HG ever dined in a Japanese restaurant was in 1958. The restaurant was Suehiro, a tiny room near Columbia University. It was one of two Japanese restaurants in New York (the other was in the East 20’s). There were no sushi or ramen eateries in this very cosmopolitan city. HG’s Suehiro meal consisted of miso soup (with some tiny cubes of tofu), beef sukiyaki cooked table side in an electric pan by a kimono clad waitperson. Sliced orange for dessert. A pot of hot green tea. The check was laughably small and the satisfaction was great. HG was hooked. Never tasted sushi until the 1960’s when the first sushi bar opened in the West 40’s. First taste didn’t impress. But, subsequent visits made HG a raw fish convert. Now, of course, New York has scores of Japanese restaurants specializing in everything from fried chicken to curry to traditional Japanese pub food. The choices for sushi and ramen are limitless — from small dive joints to $800 omakase feasts at one of the city’s most exclusive sushi emporiums. HG is bemused at the fact that Japanese restaurants now vastly outnumber Jewish delicatessens (there are less than ten) in Manhattan. HG/BSK delighted in the food they consumed in Tokyo and Osaka (HG/BSK were in Japan some ten years ago for the marriage of SJ and Exquisite Maiko). SJ and EM guided HG/BSK through the vast food markets in the two cities. There were visits to a delightful sake bar and stops for grilled chicken and pork, fried balls of chopped octopus and much more. Slurped a lot of memorable ramen. One of the benefits of having a Japanese daughter-in-law (besides her production with assistance of SJ of Haru and Teru, HG/BSK’s wonderful grandkids) is cuisine. EM is HG/BSK’s favorite cook. As HG has noted in many posts, EM produces the world’s best tempura, robust stews and soups and life enhancing seafood. Her meals at SJ/EM’s Brooklyn home or in the family Prince Edward Island ocean front paradise are among life’s most joyous occasions.

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