Sakagura 211 East 43rd Street B-level, New York, NY 10017 has been on my to-go list for a long time, certainly one of the elders and in danger of passing away in that retirement spot. I’ve been curious about going, but not revved up for it. To top it off, it’s across the street from Sushi Yasuda. If I’m going to be in the area, SY is always my first choice. The tipping point was reading about their lunch special on The Silver Spork. They have an $11.50 lunch with two catches.

cold soba Sliced Beef Bowl
hot soba fried mackerel

Catch 1: The lunch special is only available for the first 30 people (except Thurs, which allows 50 people).

Catch 2: There’s only one dish being offered each day so check the menu to see if that’s what you want.

Seeing as how Sakagura is tucked away in the basement of an office building, they like playing into that whole elusive and inconvenient thing. Normally, I’m not really into that but an $11.50 lunch is cheap for a sit-down meal in a clean and decorated space in midtown. I went twice, the first time was a Wednesday with Amy Cao. The lunch was Simmered Sliced Beef over rice. It’s a generous portion but served cold. They give you a raw egg to crack on top which is usually something I love but since the meat is cold, it doesn’t work out so well.

beef bowl with egg
I went again on a Friday, with Lon and some of his co-workers. Friday was Fried Mackerel, pretty nice chunks of de-boned fish. Again, it was generous, but again served cold. Fried food cold is not great. I started imagining these 30 lunch special plates being made in the morning, and left on the side, collecting dust and attracting critters. Both times, I arrived before they opened and so it’s no fluke, they don’t care that they are serving it all cold.

fried mackerel

All the lunches are served with a choice of hot or cold soba. This is the best part and the hot soba is actually hot (Lon had it hot). I prefer soba cold and both times I was happy with the bouncy texture of the noodles served on the little draining mats (note to self: buy them when kitchen is done).

cold soba noodles

The classic topping of scallions and wasabi is given a little extra freshness with some yuzu peels.

Soba toppings

With this in mind, I recommend going on the days where the dish is a cold dish anyway, like sashimi or chirashi. Or, just know going in that the food will be cold. All things considered ( it includes tea, the bathroom is clean, you can sit and chat) it’s still a pretty good deal, but let’s just say I’m not going to get tons of thank you e-mails for this one.

But, on my visit with Lon’s co-workers, we also ordered dessert. I would go back, just to have the black sesame creme brulee, so deeply sesame and sophisticated. It’s served with a cold and creamy vanilla ice cream that has black sesame swirled through like a piece of expensive marble. The layers come together so nicely and you get a little crunch from the tuile. Everyone else was happy with their dessert as well, and it looks like regular prices here are pretty reasonable.

Black Sesame Creme Brulee Mantu

If you work in East midtown, jot Sakagura down. If not, I’d only make a special trip for the Black Sesame Creme Brulee.

posted by jessica at 10:18 AM Filed under Asian, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.