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This innovative Japanese joint in the East Village is honoring the humble rice ball with a ritual that's already been bestowed upon the likes of pizza and teddy bears – build your own. O! Nigiri – which is a play on onigiri, the Japanese for rice ball – is an informal little walk-up with a bit of bench seating. You can order your rice ball, which is in fact triangular in shape and about the size of your palm, individually wrapped or get a couple as part of a meal deal.
The way it works is you first pick your rice (white, brown, beet or pruple cabbage), then choose a sauce, followed by a couple of veggies and a meat option. There's even the added option to have it deep fried with cheese. But if you can't get your brain into gear, you can always go for the pre-prepared onigiri. These include 'The Meat Ball' (dried pork and beet rice), 'The Cheeseburger' (sauteed beef, cheese, sour cabbage and ketchup) and 'The Health Nut' (seaweed, cucumber and boiled egg).
If you're building a meal, then you may want to consider accompanying your rice ball with a 'mochi dog' – essentially a hot dog wrapped in piping hot mochi or popcorn chicken. Alternatively, opt for the more traditional dumplings or miso soup.