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Uminoie (Beach House) - Homestyle Japanese comfort food in the East Village

I heard about this great hidden gem in the East Village - a "beach house" serving homestyle, Japanese comfort food owned by 2 Japanese girls with no restaurant experience at all - just a dream and the irrepresible will to open up a restaurant in one of the toughest markets in the world. They must have done something right since they're still very much in business and churning out some really good comfort food.

The Exterior:

I nearly walked right by this place even though I knew how inconspicuous it would be.

The Interior: (8/10)

Very comfortable and low-key interior - we were seated at one of the tables but I'd go for the sitting area, cushions and all, the next time I visit.

The Food: (7/10)

Fruity sochu sangria

Goto Udon (Special udon noodles from Goto Island in agedashi fish broth ) $6 - Definitely the highlight of the meal. All of the food is served in the style of Goto Island (where one of the owners grew up) but this dish really felt like it captured the spirit of the cuisine the best - simple, mellow, warming and hearty.

Japanese style seafood pancake made with glutinous rice flour - delicious and highly recommended! This was the perfect blend of crunchy and chewy and wasn't overly oily as many of the korean seafood pancakes I've had tend to be.

Niku Jaga ($6) - beef and potato stew simmered in a traditional Japanese broth. This was fairly average and very mild.

Simmered pork belly - extremely delicate flavor and great fatty texture. Doesn't it seem like a lot of restaurants these days have great pork belly dishes? The only experiences I've had with pork belly prior to this year have been with my grandmother's traditional style stewed pork dishes or "red cooking" as Grand Sichuan calls it.

Final Thoughts:
Overall, I had a great time at this restaurant. It's fairly small so reservations are recommended but the atmosphere is great - the crowd mostly japanese and generally boisterous and in good spirits. The food is very authentic and filling though a bit more expensive than you might expect once you've gotten through a few rounds of plates.

Uminoie on Urbanspoon
Urbandaddy review
NYT review

Reader Comments (1)

looks delish..

September 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJames

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