Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Je'bon Sushi & Noodle House - East Village, NYC

I'm not sure if you noticed, but there is no official Japantown in NYC. Tourist can find Chinatown as well as Koreatown on the map of NYC but Japantown is nowhere to be found. However, if you were to ask somebody relatively familiar with the city, they would tell you that there IS an unofficial Japantown in NYC. It is located in the East Village, between 2nd and 3rd Ave on St Marks Pl (another name for East 8th St). All you need to do is take the 6 Train to Astor Pl and walk along 8th St towards St Marks Pl. You will find all kinds of yakitori houses, sushi restaurants, Japanese grocery stores and quite a few karaoke bars located along that short stretch.
We heard quite a lot about Je'bon and also read quite a number of positive reviews about this place. When we found out that Groupon was running a '$20 for $40 worth of food and drinks' deal a few months ago, we took advantage of that and bought that Groupon. We finally found some time to head out to the East Village a couple of weeks back to use that Groupon as well as to check out Je'bon. The best way to get to Je'bon is by subway. Just take the 6 Train and get off at Astor Pl. There is also street side parking if you choose to drive but just like any other place in the city, parking is really limited.
We arrived at around 3pm, so the place was pretty empty. I was told that it gets really packed during peak hours. The waiters were really friendly and I was pretty impressed with the fast service. I also liked the decor. Exposed brick walls with simple wooden furniture and rather cool lighting. Very very nice. They also have a special room for private parties downstairs. The menu was mainly Japanese but they also have a small selection of Pan Asian food.
After taking our drinks (green tea is on the house) and food order, our server brought out some complimentary miso soup. Nothing really to shout about but I cannot find anything bad to say about it either. Just your regular miso soup. It was nice though, especially on a chilly day.
For our appetizer, we shared a serving of their famous Smiley Buns ($4). It was so so so yummy! A thick slice of stewed pork belly in soy sauce, a slice of cucumber and leek on a Chinese style steamed bun. It came with a small dish of sweet sauce, somewhat similar to the sauce that is usually served with Peking Duck. I kinda regretted that we only ordered one serving, cos it was so good, one piece each just wasn't enough!! :P
Since it's a sushi place, we had to try one of their rolls. There were so many different types of rolls to choose from and everything looked so good. We finally decided to share a Black Dragon Roll ($10). Crab, avocado, cucumber and masago with yummy eel and sesame seeds on top. Mmmm mmmm mmmmmm, it was really good. A nice balance of different textures and the hint of sweetness in the sauce just adds to the entire dish. Out of everything that we ordered, I believe that this was Kevin's favorite.
For my main, I ordered the Salmon Lover Combo ($18). It consist of 3 pieces of salmon sushi, 5 pieces of salmon sashimi and one salmon avocado roll. I am a huge salmon fan, so this was perfect for me! The fish was really fresh and the meat was really firm. Also, the cut of the salmon was really thick (unlike some other places that serves paper thin salmon on their sushi). I must say that it's been a while since I had such yummy and fresh salmon. Two thumbs up.
Kevin ordered the Je'bon Noodle Broth ($14). Fresh homemade fish noodles, fish noodles fish paste, sea scallops, crab, shrimp, mussel, chicken, mushrooms,vegetables and bamboo shoots in a delicious broth. The seafood was really fresh and they were really generous with the portion too! The fresh homemade fish noodles can be a little bit 'fishy' smelling and might need some getting used to (especially if you have never tried it before) but both Kevin and I loved it. Just sprinkle on some chili powder and slurp away. Very yummy dish too. Overall, we both loved the food at Je'bon. It might be a little on the pricey side but trust me, it's worth every penny spent. We will most definitely return in the near future.

Je'bon Sushi & Noodle House - East Village, NYC
15 St Marks Pl,
New York, NY 10003
Tel: (212) 388 1313

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