Just three dishes, all favorite street-fair snack foods in Japan, are available—o-konomiyaki (a savory pancake), yakisoba (fried noodles with seafood and cabbage) and takoyaki (balls of chopped octopus). Filled with beef, pork, shrimp or squid, the o-konomiyaki is topped with mayonnaise, bonito flakes and generous squirts of a pungent, sweet-and-salty brown sauce. When the place is busy, the kitchen crew goes at breakneck speed—tossing noodles and frying pancakes on a griddle in front of a street-facing window, and sizzling the takoyaki in a special iron pan that makes a deep growling sound as it rotates. Probably in a nod to Western squeamishness, the takoyaki can be ordered with cheese instead of octopus. It’s not something you’d ever see in Japan, but it works.
236 E 9th St
|Cross street:||between Second and Third Aves|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Thu 1–10pm; Fri, Sat noon–1am; Sun noon–10pm|
|Transport:||Subway: 6 to Astor Pl|
|Price:||Average snack: $6. Cash only|