Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Onya 09-15-2009

Location: 143 East 47th St.
Time: 7pm
People: RB and myself

Feelings: Onya, a new Sanuki style Udon restaurant, opened its doors yesterday in Midtown East. Unfortunately, it took me until today to try this delicacy from my home town. Sanuki udon is a style of udon noodle from Kagawa Prefecture in Japan, and it is known for its thick and chewiness. For Osakan/Kansai people like myself, udon is the starch of choice. If I do not get some good udon in my system, I may lose my Osakan identity.

This former Cafe Zest location was turned into a nice udon and kushikatsu restaurant. They have a nice counter for some quick udon slurping action as well as back seating area. Since it was the opening week, there was a 15 minute wait. As we sat down, I heard the Osaka dialects coming from everywhere in the restaurant. Oh, my dear Osakans, we are drawn to udon, anywhere in the world.

There was a choice of half or full size for all udon dishes, which is perfect for someone like me who wants to eat everything on the menu. I decided to get half cold udon with plum ($6) and shared six kushikatsu set ($9) with RB. He ordered protein packed half cold udon ($6) that came with beef, shrimp and a soft boiled egg.

The flavor of dashi was very good for udon, and I enjoyed the thick, almost cube like shape of noodles. I wished to be a bit more chewy since it was cold udon, but overall, it was tasty and satisfied my Osakan starch craving. But if you are hungry, I advise you getting full size udon ($10 and up) since half size was about five slurps.

RB thought the udon was cooked well and had a pleasant bite, but the dashi lacked salt. Breaking the egg yolk open definitely helped extend the flavors. The beef was forgettable, but the panko fried shrimp was cooked very well.

They marketed kushikatsu as "Osaka's famous kushikatsu from Shinsekai" at Onya, but it was not quite like the kushikatsu from Shinsekai area of Osaka I remember. The authentic kushikatsu is usually too heavy, and the sauce is thicker than melted vegan cheese, but their version was lighter and a pleasant side dish to udon.

If you want a quick, mean and hearty udon satisfaction, I would go to Udon West, but Onya offers a nicer atmosphere and amazing service. I am glad to see a nice udon addition in the city.

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