- Bob Dively May 13, 1999 04:48 PM
At the beginning of the 90's I used to go to a little
Japanese place in midtown that served something called
okinomiaki (I know I'm butchering the spelling--please
bear with me). It was a sort of layered pancake-like
thing that was grilled right in front of you. I was
hooked on it enough to go there once a week for lunch
until I arrived one to find that the place had been
closed by the health department. Since then I've
forgotten about the stuff until recently when I
suddenly remembered and want to have it again.
Anybody know where I might find some?
If you're referring to the place on Vanderbilt, I was
also surprised one day by its closing. There were a
few places in the East Village that used to serve it,
but one by one, they closed or took it off the menu.
Since I no longer live in New York, I'm afraid I can't
be of much help. I think Saka-Gura in midtown used
to have it. If you're really desperate, Decibel, a
sake bar on 9th St. & 2nd Ave. serves okonomiyaki. I
don't recommend it strongly, but it's good as a bar
snack (especially after a few drinks!).
I too lamented the closing of that Okonomiyaki joint ("Chibo") on Vanderbilt. It's virtue lay in the fact that it served dozens of variations, and, if you begged your waitress earnestly enough, she'd let you cook your own at the table griddle in front of you. (They also had a chef, who'd cook them for you, and this is what they always assumed the Occidentals wanted. When I'd cook my own, she'd stand over me to make sure I did it right.) The walls were a lovely shade of dark brown, and the premises cave like. It was like a railroad station in some ancient decaying prefecture.
Now the best ones are available freshly made at Yaohan Plaza in Edgewater, NJ. The ones at the saki bars are usually premade and precooked, and they usually only have one kind.