eat. shop. love. nyc.

Kimbap from E-Mo tastes like Korea
February 28, 2011, 8:20 am
Filed under: Eat | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

When I think of kimbap, I think of my childhood. My mom used to make what can perhaps best be described as Korean sushi sans raw fish (basically, rice, pickles, veggies, and some sort of meat stuffed and rolled up in dried seaweed) for all of our road trips and picnics. It is the quintessential to-go Korean food item. When I lived in Seoul, we’d pick up some kimbap before heading off to the mountains to hike, and they would be just as tasty four hours later as right when they were made.

E-Mo is a takeout kimbap joint in Koreatown, and it’s just about as authentic a kimbap experience as I’ve ever seen in the States. Like its Korean cousins, the ingredients are true to Korea (they even use shisho leaves, American cheese, and canned tuna among other things – just like Korea), there is just a little counter at which to stand and eat, it’s cash only, and the kimbap is inexpensive – $5.50 or $6 a roll, plus 50 cents if you want brown rice instead of white rice – and served with a side of odeng broth.

This is the spicy tuna kimbap – I got mine with brown rice, and it came stuffed with tuna spiced with either sriracha or gochujang, pickled sweet daikon, sesame oil dressed spinach, julienned carrots, and this other pickled veggie that I don’t know the name of in English. It was  good ratio of rice to veggies to meat, though a tad dry, but that’s what the soup is for. If you’re looking for a quick bite or something to go in the Koreatown area, I recommend you give it a shot. This place will likely become a lunch staple for me once I start my new gig in March.

Eat: E-Mo (Koreatown/Midtown West) 2 W. 32nd Street between 5th Ave. and Broadway, New York, NY 10001. (212) 594-1466. Open Monday – Friday 8:30am-8:30pm, open Saturday 8:30am-7:30pm. See menu here – note that they are now also offering odeng ggotchi (fish cake skewers) for $2.50 apiece.


Michael Stipe eats at sushi speakeasy Sushi UO
March 25, 2010, 1:15 pm
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A few weeks back, Sara, Jilly, John and I were walking down Rivington in LES just as Michael Stipe stepped out of a cab. John was the first to spot (and correctly place) him, and he shout-whispered to the rest of us, “That’s the lead singer of R.E.M.” as we not-so-surreptitiously turned to look. A guy brushed past me, and the cab drove off. The guy who brushed past me was Michael Stipes, and he picked up his pace when he saw us beginning to fuss. Before we knew it, he had ascended a tiny staircase up to an apartment building at 151 Rivington. Maybe he has friends there?

As it turns out, those stairs lead to five month-old LES sushi spot Sushi UO, one of the NYC sushi places that serves spicy tuna on crispy rice. It is hidden away on the first floor of an apartment building on 151 Rivington, sort of like a sushi speakeasy. Yelpers and Menupage folk seem to think it’s great, but a tad overpriced. I haven’t been yet, but if it’s good enough for Michael Stipe, it’s probably good enough for me (the question of affordability is another issue altogether).

Eater reports that its 23 year old chef, David Bouhadana, is no longer with the restaurant. Not sure why he’s left, and not sure who has replaced him.

Click here for the menu.

Self-constructed 3-course meal

Yesterday’s eatventure with Sara consisted of three stops (unplanned) and a self-made three-course meal.

First stop: Jo’s (SoHo/Nolita)
Ate: 1/2 dozen $1 HH Miyagi oysters – these were normal sized, not on steroids – still buttery and meaty
Drank: HH draft of Ommegang Witte $4 for me, glass of Vouvray for S $10
Note: Angus the Aussie bartender has fabulous hair – he works Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Pardon the crappy camera but can you see how deep this Miyagi shell is? Not at all like the European flat oyster.

Second stop: Sachiko’s (LES)
Ate: Spicy Crunchy Rice (Spicy tuna on crispy rice) 6 pieces $8 – I am addicted.
Drank: HH sake for me, a very full champagne flute for $4; HH sake Cosmo for S $6
Note: We only ended up at Sachiko’s because when we arrived at CSBC (below) at 7pm, there was a 40+ minute wait for a table and we knew Sachiko’s has happy hour till 7:30 on weekdays.

The Spicy Crunchy Rice is good every time. Your choice of tuna or salmon. Also very good for HH is the tonkatsu ($10 – normally $14 if not HH). Sapporo drafts just $2.50 but I was afraid I’d be too full for Stop 3.

Third stop: Clinton St. Baking Company (LES) – February is Pancake Month!
Ate: BBQ Sugar Bacon Cheeseburger (BBQ sauce on the side) $16 & Fresh Blackberry Pancakes with Pecan Streusel and Warm Maple Butter
Drank: Water. We were already tipsy from HH boozing.
Note: 1/2 price bottles of wine on Mondays and Tuesdays. Also, they’ve just introduced a $16 Crab Cake Sandwich & Amstel Light combo deal on Mondays & Tuesdays. By the time we finished dinner at 9pm, there was an hour+ wait! Get there early, put your name on the list, and grab a drink elsewhere until your turn is up.

Spicy tuna on crispy rice in NYC
February 9, 2010, 1:26 pm
Filed under: Eat | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

[tweetmeme]Of the many things I miss about living in Los Angeles (weather being number one – duh), the ubiquity of spicy tuna on crispy rice at LA sushi joints is certainly one of the most important. Yeah, yeah, so the tuna they use for “spicy tuna” is made from leftover scraps or less desirable cuts of tuna. I don’t care. It’s delicious.

Photo credit:

The sushi rice is molded into little rectangles and then pan-fried until crispy on the outside, which adds a great crunchy texture to what is otherwise essentially mushed up pieces of tuna with some sriracha (or other spicy Asian) sauce and a jalapeno slice.

It’s much tougher to find spicy tuna on crispy rice in New York City, and some of my go-tos have closed (Sachiko’s and Sushi UO). However, the following remain (updated 8-22-11):

  • Bond St.: Tuna Crispy Rice with Korean kochujang sauce, $15.00 – This is excellent. If you want something a little different (and pricier), they also have Alaska King Crab Crispy Rice with lemon aioli, serrano chili, and micro cilantro for $22.
  • Koi: Crispy Rice topped with spicy tuna, $16.00
  • Tao: Spicy Tuna Tartare On Crispy Rice, $14.00
  • Co-op at the Hotel on Rivington: Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice, $14.00