Thursday, November 19, 2009

Aoki

I had a really bad craving for sushi lately. I haven't had it in months. That is way too long in my book. I love sushi and sashimi. It's so tasty. I would have it every day if I could but it would be too expensive and I would end up like Jeremy Piven. Yeah, not so good. But lunch was on my mind and I just couldn't get sushi off my mind. I didn't want to spend too much on very high quality fish. That's left for special times. I just wanted a decent neighborhood place that will offer fresh, decent sushi at a nice price. Then, I stumbled across Aoki. I pass by it every day on my walk home from the gym. I tend to notice a lot of food places on this walk. I'm ravenous after a good workout but only allow myself water until I get home. I digress. So I ordered take out from Aoki. They have a very nice Express Lunch Special that is 2 rolls for $9 or 3 rolls for $11. It also comes with choice of soup or salad. I picked 3 rolls: eel and avocado, spicy tuna, and shrimp tempura. I also picked miso soup as an accompaniment. And for hoots, I added an order of gyoza ($6). The soup was packed in a typical styrofoam cup with lid. But what I appreciated is that they put the whole thing in a plastic bag to prevent other stuff from getting soaked. Thank you Aoki! I've had too many accidents with poor containers and soup. The miso soup was pretty good. Not the best but much better than what I've had around the Midtown area. You can taste miso but there's also seaweed and tofu found in there. Flavorful and solid on a cool day. Warmed me right up. Next the rolls. They were decent sized. I'm not a fan of giant sushi rolls. I think that Americans bastardized that. I like perfect bites of sushi. It is supposed to be a one biter. The eel was nice and sweet with a creaminess of the avocado. The spicy tuna was okay. You can't really tell the freshness due to the spiciness. But it seemed fresh enough to me. Lastly, the shrimp tempura was very nice. It was still crispy through the whole time. I enjoyed that very much. And to finish this Japanese lunch for a glutton, an order of gyoza. These were very simple and most likely frozen and cooked to order. They were cold by the time I got to them. I don't blame the restaurant though. I had a miso soup and tons of sushi before I got to this. The skin was a little chewy and the filling was your typical pork and cabbage kind. A nice dipping sauce came with the order. In the end, I thought it was just okay. I feel like I can buy the same gyoza from the market and be able to replicate this at home. Therefore, I wouldn't really order this again unless I really wanted gyoza badly and was too lazy to order from other places. Aoki treated me well. The place looked nice and I would definitely try a sit down meal there one day. The service was friendly too. Most importantly, the food was good enough for me. Tasty miso soup and 3 rolls for $11 is a good deal in my book. Aoki 234 W48th Street New York, NY 10036 (212) 956-2356 aokinyc.com

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