>> [CLOSED] Onya | Eat the World NYC

15 February 2010

[CLOSED] Onya

JAPAN

[UPDATE: CLOSED]

With all the ramen craze going on around town for the last few years, it came to my attention that udon was the centerpiece at one midtown restaurant, Onya. They brought a highly-trained noodle chef from Japan and placed him front and center as you walk in, definitely the main attraction. On a busy night you can watch him working frantically, making each bowl to order.


It's nice to start with the fresh tofu ($5, above), two generous dollops in a basket. They can be eaten solo or with the ginger and chives provided.

On this Sunday night he had a fairly relaxing evening as not many diners came to this packed-on-weeknights hotspot. The one benefit of this low weekend traffic was the eye-popping $13 weekend special (below), that included a small bowl of the famous Sanuki udon, a donburi special of the day, and six izakaya-style skewers of various deep-fried goodies.


The $13 weekend special.

Sanuki, a region of Kagawa prefecture in Shikoku claims to be the first place in Japan to adapt similar Chinese noodle-making methods, and today creates a variety that is a bit thicker and stiffer than most. I would not be someone able to readily distinguish different styles of udon apart with accuracy, but the bowl here was obviously of the highest caliber, warranting return trips on weeknights to eat their different varieties exclusively.

The donburi was nothing special, without extras or much taste, but still good because of its perfectly textured sticky rice. It actually made a better counterpoint to the udon than anything by itself. Meanwhile, the skewers seemed a bit like an afterthought, simple breading lightly fried on meats and vegetables, all with the same taste.


I normally don't like modern decorations when I am eating, but somehow despite its slightly unfinished feel, Onya pulled off a nice effect with is tasteful murals on the dark walls at each end. The minimalist surroundings seem proper when eating a dish like the udon, which while seemingly very simple is most certainly not.


Onya on Urbanspoon