Reviews

07.18.2012

Robataya: Edible Beauty

For years the foodies I trust have been urging me to go try Robataya, the Japanese robatayaki restaurant on East 9th Street. In the evenings, the front of the restaurant dominates the action with its semi-circle of seats around the boisterous central hearth (ro meaning fireplace, bata meaning around and yaki meaning grill).

However, on a recent Tuesday at lunchtime the scene is placid and inspiring. With Japanese restauranteur Kazusa Jibiki of Lovely Day as my guide, we swanned past the resting robatayaki room into the sun-filled chamber behind. Decorated for the Tanabata festival, serene paper constellations evoking the stars and deep sea life hung from the bamboo ceiling. Light filtered down to us as it would if we were sitting on the ocean floor, illuminating the jewel-like sashimi and uni ikura don in front of me.

In addition to the plentiful portions (lunch includes a green salad, entrée and miso soup), there is a “bar” of pickled vegetables which patrons are welcome to graze at: fresh crudités with miso sauce to dip them in, sautéed spinach, lotus roots, yams and konjac.

Robataya at lunch time reminded me of the restorative power of a carefully curated Japanese environment. With more sultry uni than I could finish, a delicate little bouquet of thistles on our table and the serene paper shapes swaying ever so slightly over our heads, it was an ideal meal that I cannot wait to repeat.

 

Robataya
231 East 9th St.
New York, NY 10003
Telephone: (212) 979-9674

 

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8 Responses to “Robataya: Edible Beauty”

  1. Amuse Bouche says:

    I cannot believe I’ve never been here. Its so near to other restaurants I love, Cha-An, Hasaki, Decibel… Robataya sounds like it might become my favorite of them all! Thank you.

  2. Irene Hopkins says:

    Tarajia,

    You have sold me. I would go there in a minute if I still lived in NY. Have you thought about being a restaurant critic? You would be great at that. Such a way with words and descriptions. Plus you just know what you’re talking about.

    Irene from Seattle

  3. Wrecka G says:

    how’s it possible i haven’t heard of this place? i miss NY sushi!!

  4. Bananita says:

    Can I be your next date to Robataya?

  5. Bronson Moorehead says:

    Mmm. Deeeelicious.

  6. Melissa Millay says:

    I’m always looking for a good (healthy) lunch time spot, and as the restaurant is near my office, I went today.

    “Restorative” is the perfect word to describe Robataya. I walked in peckish and stressed and left happy and relaxed. Wonderful fresh sushi and good service.

    Thank you for this gem.

  7. sauci says:

    I was so excited to see a new Lovage post when I opened my e-mail this morning. Thank you for this introduction to Robataya.

  8. Sally Branson Lynch says:

    Robataya? You have forced me to add another restaurant to my “Go To List”!
    Beautiful writing– beautiful photos. Thank you.

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