— Noted.

Uni.

I very clearly remember the first time I had uni. My cousin forced me into it. I was resistant because her description of the texture sounded scary. We were at this restaurant in soho, before I lived in NYC, the kind of restaurant that my uncle (this cousin’s dad) would scoff at for its fancy prices and delicate portions.

I don’t like obsessing over expensive food, but uni is definitely the thing that makes me weak all over and swiftly becomes the topic of my conversation on the internet.

My best friend from junior high school was just in town and there is something that happens when we get together and all we want to do is eat. I’ve thought about it, and I think it is about the comfort of it, sharing a meal, taking us back to the days when our biggest worries were spanish homework and how we were going to get to the beach after school. It’s our solace. Our escape. Our time to indulge in each other’s rare in-person company and couple it with good food.

Somehow or another we boarded the crazy train for an uni craving. It started with the uni panini at El Quinto Pino. Then we decided we should get it while having dinner at Tomoe sushi. They were out. We were sad. I told her we would make up for it the next day by going to get the best uni don in town at Robataya. They were out. I remembered Soba-ya next door had it on their menu, so we proceeded to eat dinner #1 (we had to eat my favorite dish at Robataya which is the salmon kamameshi) and then went next door for dinner #2. They no longer had the uni don on their menu, so we settled for uni soba. It was disappointing.

This is all a long-winded way to say, that I have rounded up my favorite uni dishes in the city in hopes of luring my dear friend back to town for more successful uni adventures.

 

Hands down, best uni don at Robataya, served with ikura. Currently not on the menu (see sob story above) but they tell me it should be back. I’m also realizing this is potentially more reliably available on the lunch menu. PSA: Robataya is closed for a few weeks for renovation.

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Photo by Robyn Lee

 

 

Uni panini at El Quinto Pino. This dish came out at the start of the uni surge in NYC a few years ago. It has been cherished and also bashed by people who were expecting more. I don’t usually like the fusion of foods like Japanese and Spanish, nor the idea that uni needs bread to make it better, but I thought it was tasty.

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Photo by Melissa Hom.

 

 

Linguine with uni at Basta Pasta. I don’t usually like fusion foods like Japanese and Italian, but I crave this dish. It’s very satisfying with the uni mixed into the sauce and hanging out in-between noodles.

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Photo from Yelp.

 

 

Uni Lover at Wasan. I did not make this name up, it is actually on their menu. It’s a generous piece of uni on an uni cracker. I just had this for dinner tonight, followed by an uni don. It fulfilled my craving.

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Photo by Niko.

 

 

And here are the places I have not tried, but are on my uni radar.

15 East (uni sushi)

Sushi Nakawaza (uni sushi, best of NY Mag)

Toqueville (sea urchin and angel hair carbonara)

Soto (various possibly fussy sushi dishes, named unipalooza by former NY Times food critic Frank Bruni)

Neta (uni porridge)

Red Gravy (bucatini with sea urchin, and a skip from my home)

And many of these are ridiculously over-indulgent, but I can’t deny my curiosity is piqued.

3 comments
  1. Ana says: May 12, 20146:02 pm

    And, now I’m craving uni all over again. You should turn this into a global uni fix, and include the gratin we had at Xef Pirata in Altea. So good!

    [Reply]

    melyjun Reply:

    I am just now realizing that I ordered seconds that night, just like I ordered seconds of the squid in ink sauce in Valencia.

    [Reply]

  2. Recipe: kamameshi. | Noted. says: April 20, 20151:13 am

    […] took my friend Ana to have the kamameshi when she was last visiting NYC, and it’s a bit of a dream and a curse, […]

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