A food blog exploring cuisines from the U.S. and South Korea
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Skinny Udon at SEO Restaurant in NYC
On my first night in NYC, Audrey and I went to my namesake restaurant called Seo Japanese Restaurant in midtown east just a couple of blocks away from the apartment. When we walked into the restaurant at around 6:45pm, there was literally nobody in there. As soon as we got our menus and ordered, an influx of people came in to fill up all the seats. I suppose New Yorkers eat later, especially on a Friday night.
I have an undying love for all things squash (except for summer squash). When I saw the Kabocha Squash ($7.50) on the menu, I knew I had to order.
We got four little pieces, which is sort of overpriced considering how Mom usually buys a whole kabocha squash (Japanese sweet squash) for about $5 from the market. I could probably eat five plates of this and still crave more squash.
I like my squash the way Mom cooks it: just steam it without any flavors. If you steam it long enough, the skin also becomes soft. I didn't like that they peeled off the skin and that the squash was cooked in some kind of sweet, honey-glazed sauce. Nonetheless, the pieces I had were so delicious. Yumm I wouldn't be surprised if I turned orange one of these days...
We also ordered Shumai Steamed Crab Dumplings ($10) to share. We got three of these dumplings on a bed of green with spicy mustard sauce on the side.
Unlike traditional shumai that is entirely wrapped around with wide noodles, these dumplings were wrapped around thin udon noodles. The outside was just the right amount of chewiness and texture.
Luckily my tongue didn't burn as I bit into the shumai. I put a little bit of the spicy mustard on top, but the sauce overwhelmed the taste of the actual cram meat inside.
The dumplings were good, though I wished it had more crab taste. I liked that there were plenty of inside fillings and the outside wasn't too thick.
For my main course, I ordered the Inaniwa Hiyamori Udon ($12), or cold inaniwa udon with cold dipping sauce.
I don't typically enjoy thick udon noodles, but the Inaniwa Udon, which is the "Top Quality Japanese Udon noodle," was so chewy! The noodle is similar to linguine and is made from selected wheat, spring water, and the finest sea salt that the restaurant imported directly from the producer in Akita, Japan. The strips of seaweed on top was a nice touch.
The dish also came with ground radish, garlic, and scallions to be added to the dipping sauce for more flavor.
The two pieces Inarizushi, a pouch of fried tofu filled with sushi rice, was a bit too bland, although the pickled ginger on the side helped a little.
I managed to get the chopstick shot! Audrey said it looked like those plastic displays of food in a lot of Korean restaurants.
The dipping sauce was a bit too salty for my liking, so towards the end I just ended up eating the noodle by itself. It needed no extra seasoning because the noodle itself was quite savory! I really loved the texture.
The inarizushi had an unbalance of saltiness and blandness. The sushi rice, which had sprinkles of black sesame seeds, wasn't too flavorful. The tofu wrap outside was a bit jerky.
Audrey had Inaniwa on Udon in warm soup ($12), which was similar to mine except in warm rather than cold soup.