NYC (EAST VILLAGE): BEST SHRIMP SHUMAI & BEEF NEGIMAKI & EVERYTHING ELSE!
By Nora Zelevansky / April 20th, 2009
I can't even look at these pictures. It's too depressing.
I'm writing this post just minutes before leaving for the airport to depart NYC, which means I won't be able to eat the above Hasaki miracles for another while. Sad, sad story.
I know I chat up a lot of yummy finds on this POCKET LINT bidness, but Hasaki is TRULY one of my favorite restaurants on earth. If ever I visit NYC and somehow miss going to this little treasured spot, I feel like my trip was somehow incomplete (kind of like that whole thing on Passover, where you haven't truly experienced the holiday unless you say "Matzo" and "Bitter Herbs" or whatever, but in this case it actually tastes like a dream).
This trip I hit up H-town with K., where–down the little steps and inside the cozy sweet spot–we ordered the must-haves, mais oui. The miso soup, which (while one friend of mine swears the smokier than usual soup tastes like licking a saddle) is amazing and much more intense than the usual beige miso mixture. I think it's a red miso vs. the usual white? Eh, who knows. But, either way, it's special.
Second MUST MUST MUST have dish: Steamed Shrimp Shumai. See the pic above that looks like a fiesta of little heavenly Koosh balls (yup, I pulled out the koosh reference) or like little jelly fish or something? These are the most amazing, light, flavorful shumai you have ever ever had and the sauce is just to cry for. Yes, instead of to die for because even I wouldn't harikari my ass for dumpling sauce.
I would, however, leap tall buildings in a single bound in pursuit of the Beef Negimaki sauce (also pictured above). I have literally seen diners angrily protect this sauce against waiters' grabby hands. I've seen endless chopsticks stuck in the sauce (long after the beef is gone) and sucked dry; I have seen someone DRINK the sauce. That's how good it is. SPECIAL SAUCE. Got it?
The sushi is also great and fresh (even by Cali standards), not to mention the green tea ice cream with red bean paste, which–if you like that sort of thing–is beyond delicious. Just the constrast of the cold and warm, sweet and rich. SO GOOD.
No reservations at this joint, but it's well worth the wait. Just drop my name and, well, nothing will happen. But it would be funny, no?
Also, the bathrooms have brand new Toto toilets with warming seats etc. and the sake comes in those great traditional wooden boxes, overflowing onto the plates below. I mean. What could be better than this?
Alright . . . Au revoir, Les Enfants. My chariot (ahem, old school Lincoln Town Car with no seat belts) has arrived. Bye bye, Hasaki, Bergen Bagels and meandering walks through cherry blossom-lined streets. Goodbye my metro cards that keep demangnetizing. Good bye, New York. For now, that is.
xo – N.