I was on the lookout for a sushi place for dinner, and I just so happened to find out that Blue Ribbon Sushi just opened a new restaurant in mid-April, Blue Ribbon Izakaya. I looked at Izakaya's menu and noticed not only did they have sushi, but they also had yakitori, and more importantly, fried chicken. Sushi and fried chicken? I'm so in. I went with Michael on a Tuesday night, so there was no wait. Walking in the unassuming door, I did not expect a cascade of lanterns and a lengthy staircase to greet us. Knowing Blue Ribbon, the decor was a lot trendier than I expected.
It was the first night of the unexpected heat wave, so I was looking for something refreshing. We started with the leek sunomono, a chilled dish with bonito and ponzu. The light citrus soy was cooling indeed! Out of the kushi yakis (skewers), we decided on trying the pork belly with pickled onions, which turned out to be a great choice, for the pork belly was exactly as it should have been: juicy, tender, and fatty.
We also ordered their signature wings, which turned out to be fried chicken seasoned heavily with the Japanese chili powder served with wasabi honey and their own izakaya sauce, a mild hot sauce. Honestly, the wings were okay. They are definitely not something that I would go out of my way for to attain again. The chili powder seasoning got old pretty fast, and the wasabi honey was too much honey and too little wasabi. Enjoyable, but not my favorite.
We also shared two sushi rolls. We were trying to go for light, and decided on the enoki with yellowtail and the Kyuri special. The enoki and yellowtail were a weird combination. I couldn't really get the enoki, and Michael said that it made the overall sushi a bit mushy. I thought the seaweed was really great quality, though. The Kyuri special was splendid. What they don't tell you on the menu is that it is wrapped in a layer of cucumber, giving it an extremely cooling bite. It's exactly what you need on a hot night.
Finally, we had the oxtail and bone marrow fried rice. This is definitely something that I would order again. The fried rice tasted teppanyaki style, to me, meaning extra buttery and fragrant. We had to first break an egg pocket with the bone marrow and mix it up with the rest of fried rice. And it was good. Like... MSG good. I couldn't stop thinking about it even until the next day and beyond.
Blue Ribbon Izakaya definitely has some exciting stuff going on, and everything was fresh and tasty. Located on the trendy lower east side, prices can be quite steep. This is definitely going to be another yuppie locale.
|Pork belly and pickled onions|
|Chicken wings with wasabi honey and chili sauce|
|Kyuri special and enoki with hamachi|
|Bone marrow and oxtail fried rice|
Blue Ribbon Izakaya
187 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002