Eating in Midtown can be tough. There are so many restaurants, and yet the prospects still seem bleak. When you find a place that’s consistent and tasty, you stick to it. one such restaurant is Norikoh, located just a few blocks south of Bryant Park. Though the restaurant’s interior is reminiscent of any Asian fusion restaurant in the city (stone walls, deep woods and the like), the food is not—it’s better.
An order of shrimp cilantro gyoza ($6.75), pan-fried dumplings filled with the aforementioned seafood, scallions and celery, emerged from the kitchen piping hot and extremely enjoyable—these fresh, thin-skinned pockets went quickly. Also delicious was an appetizer of sweet bun sliders ($7), a riff on the ubiquitous pork belly bao sound in many Asian restaurants in New York. This time, though, you get to choose your meat (barbecue ribeye, braised pork belly or spicy pork). They’re garnished with pickled cabbage, cilantro and peanut powder, all of which help cut through the unctuous, fatty meat. Sushi is dependable here—a tuna avocado hand roll ($6.50) was fresh if a bit unwieldy. The namesake roll of the restaurant ($16) combines spicy salmon and jalapenos with tuna and tops it off with lemon, cilantro and tobiko. A volcano roll ($14) of crunchy spicy tuna, avocado, and cucumber topped with spicy kani salad, scallions, sesame and sweet Thai chili sauce was less successful, overwhelmed by its cloying sauce. In case you need warming, the restaurant offers an array of ramen and other Asian soups—a large bowl of beef noodle soup ($13) arrived hot and fragrant, with tender pieces of marinated beef and a flavorful oxtail broth.
Service is friendly but comes in bursts—sometimes, it can be hard to find someone to refill your water, and later, it seems to be filled every two minutes. Norikoh always seems full, however, so that may have something to do with the ebbing and flowing of the staff. All in all, Norikoh offers a dependable oasis in a sea of middling Midtown restaurants.
BY TIME OUT COMMUNITY REVIEWER: LINDSAY DENNINGER
10 E 39th Street
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 11am-10pm; Sat-Sun 4pm-10pm|
|Transport:||B, D, F or M to Bryant Park/42nd Street|
|Price:||$30 and under|
|Do you own this business?|