Of course, lately, we have all been thinking of Japan. And though it might seem gauche to say so, those thoughts have taken me more frequently than usual to my favorite Japanese restaurant. Normally, it’s always the same thing. King Crab Gyoza, and a Golden Passion Roll, with charred white tuna and yuzu tobiko. But I had been eating too much of it. Sushi is like teenage love. It’s one of those things you obsess over for weeks, and then eat and eat and then you just need a break. I needed a break, but I found myself, again, sitting in my favorite Japanese place.
That’s when Mr. English suggested, let’s get udon. My father and I looked at him with utter disbelief. No one had overthrown the imperialist reign of the King Crab Dumplings and Golden Passion Roll in years…years. “I’m in.”
I ordered the tempura udon. A cauldron of broth emerged from the kitchen, full of these thick, white noodles, soft and yet chewy. Steamed spinach floated like a raft above it all. The broth was one of those things I know it would be impossible for me to ever recreate. So savory, and yet slightly sweet. Brown with I have no idea what. Clear, and light and luscious. On the side were battered prawns and squash and broccoli, that I dunked into the soup. It was just so vitally good.
I usually have Japanese food because I want sushi. And I want sushi because I want to be healthy and virtuous. I loved the feeling of being in a Japanese restaurant just to eat Japanese, something I could never recreate at home, and something that wasn’t particularly overwhelmingly great for me. Now I can’t stop ordering udon. I hope this won’t lead to a premature breaking off of another culinary puppy love, but I just can’t stop myself. So, this is just a little PSA to say, next time you’re ordering sushi, look at the rest of the menu. Japan has a lot of great stuff going on.
For great, and I mean really great, udon or soba in NYC,
check out Haru.