Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Robataya NY - 231 E 9th St (between Stuyvesant St & 2nd Ave) New York, NY 10003 (212) 979-9674
As soon as you walked into this restaurant, you will notice to the right are two chefs sitting behind a seafood bar preparing and serving food to customers on a long wooden paddle. Since the bar itself is big and not everything is within reach, it's entertaining to watch them jump over the bar to select the ingredients they need to prepare the dishes with. Once they have gathered all the ingredients, they start cooking it over a charcoal grill, yakitori-style. On the menu, Robataya claims that they use premium mineral rich sea salt, called Suzu salt, imported from Japan to season all their food. Customers sitting patiently around the bar will grab their food and drinks from the paddle once it's ready. This technique, called robata, is a type of Japanese cooking style that is not something you see everyday.
The menu offers a wide array of meats, seafood, and vegetables for you to choose from to throw onto the grill. If you are not in the mood for their yakitori, you can order other dishes such as rice or udon. The Kamameshi, a rice dish cooked in an earthenware pot, was not bad. You can select what you want in your Kamameshi: salmon and salmon roe, snow crab, or chicken burdock. I liked the salmon and salmon roe I ordered because they give you a lot of salmon and it tasted really fresh. But make sure you order ahead of time, it takes them about a half an hour to prepare.
However, if you go to Robataya, you should not miss out on their charcoal grilled robata dishes. This is what they are known for. Customers will sometimes wait a little longer just to get a seat around the seafood bar to go through the full experience of robata. The only problem is that the portions are small, it's similar to tapas style dishes. So if you go on an empty stomach, the amount of food you order can add up really fast and it can get really expensive. Two people can run up a tab of over $100 easily, without even ordering drinks.
What I've heard is that their lunch special is really good. You can order any set of lunch you like and it comes with salad, appetizer, soup and rice. It even opens on Saturday and Sunday for lunch too.
Price: Expensive $30-$50 PP
Main Course: Free Range Chicken, Aussie Kobe Beef, Asparagus w/Salt, Kamameshi