I haven’t done a T41 in a while! Well, here’s one. More TK.
A fancy Japanese place on 40th street, right next door to The New York Times building. I’ve had numerous occasions to treat myself to a seat at what looks like a sushi bar, but it’s since it’s not all sushi, I’m not sure what to call it. Maybe a robata/sushi bar? In any case, it’s great to sit there, because sometimes you can catch a frozen but still living crab fidget a little in it’s grave of crushed ice, which is kind of creepy and neat, like watching the end of a thriller about crabs. But it’s also fun because the guys preparing your food will pass your robata orders to you on a long wooden serving paddle, while yelling something purportedly uplifting. Every time they do something there, they yell something out in Japanese, and everyone on the staff joins in. You walk in, they yell, you sit down, they yell, it’s kind of like letting hapy people in a Japanese boot camp serve you. It’s amusing when you get up to use the toilet and they yell something, which I’m sure only happens when they think you’re leaving. (I don’t think they’re saying, “enjoy the super high-tech wand-washing fountain toilet with the heated seat and automatic hiney-dryer.” But they might be. Yes, by all means use that toilet! You’ll be in there all day marveling at the technology.
You’re wondering what robata is? It’s Japanese BBQ. I really like the sweet potato robata, but the okra is also delicious, not gooey at all. My favorite thing to have for lunch is the chirashi sushi lunch special, $18, which comes with soup or salad. I always get the miso soup, which is rich and delicious. If I’m hungrier than usual, I’ll order a side of robata. I’ve also had the bento boxes, which are copious and delicious, but a little more expensive. The cheapest one is still plenty filling.
Inakaya is pricey, but worth it. They do have lunch specials, which are in the high but reasonable range if you’re looking for something extra-special, as well as someplace a little quieter than the rest of the places midtown. I once met a friend there for drinks and sat at the bar for quite a while alone while she was delayed, and felt very comfortable with my little wooden box of saké, and some robata. It’s definitely a place where you can feel at home alone.
That’s a picture of me above at Happy Hour, where they pound “mochi” and let the guests participate. They also share the pounded mochi amongst all the guests present. Full disclosure: I was not alone when I did the pounding (I don’t drink alone at Happy Hour!), but I go there for lunch mostly alone.
Inakaya: 620 Eighth Avenue (Aka: 231 West 40th Street), New York, NY 10018