THE best Udon / Home Style Japanese In New York City!!!!!!!!
My wife is Japanese and one of the all time great home style Japanese cooks. Her Gyozo mark the zenith of the dumpling art; her pork belly is a thing of wonder...Her tempura floats on air. Suffice it to say that I have a high standard for precisely the type of food that Samurai Mama serves up. To my surprise Samurai Mama (despite the goofy name) hits those standards with flying colors. One, the room is lovely -- big, communal tables carved out of wood, comfortable booths and a generally warm and pleasant vibe with none of the pretentious hipsterisms that I associate with Williamsburg restaurants. We started with gyoza and they were PERFECT -- delicate wrappings, juicy interior and best of all, finished with rice flour water so that they are cooked with a delicate and CRISP glaze on the bottom. Also, the gyoza were served with a really interesting sauce (on the side) made of fermented seaweed. We then had their pork belly appetizer -- with was delicious. Slowly simmered pork belly in a sake/soy sauce/mirin broth with poached daikon radish and a softly boiled egg -- open that egg up and mix the yolk into the broth and the result is one of the best Winter dishes that you can have in New York City. Absolutely splendid. Then we had superior fried chicken -- peppery, crispy, greaseless exterior and moist and tender interior! What could be better? Then...the Udon. Oh yes, my friends....THE UDON!!!! I have to say that it was the best Udon that I have had outside of Japan. The noodles are of a very very very high quality -- with a perfect combination of soft, mouth feel and springiness . The broth was perfect as well. Altogether, it blows my old standard udon spot, OMEN out of the water. The service was wonderful also -- which for me is very important plus the wait staff and the chef were super nice to my 4 year old son and his friend.
This is a spot I would return to again and again -- the warmth of the Samurai Mama makes it a perfect neighberhood spot and the quality of the cooking makes it a somewhere that people should travel to. All in all, I would name it the BEST restaurant for home-style Japanese food in the city.
205 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
My wife is Japanese as well. We both recognize that gyoza and pork belly are basically ethnic Chinese dishes adopted by Japanese... Anyway, we found Samurai Mama alright. The udon was decent. The gyoza and other dishes were decent. We both preferred Onya in Manhattan for udon though. And we found dumplings from the Chinatown places and even the Saint`s Alps on Bedford, taste better and are a better value. For homestyle Japanese, I`m not convinced of the best in the city tag. Some of the izakaya in the city do decent versions of different homestyle items. And a place like Uminoue will at least cook them in front of you. We went to SM right around opening, so maybe they`ve upped a notch. We aren`t in a hurry to return as a destination spot, but that`s not a pan of the place.