Omen

by Susan on October 25, 2007

[Food:3/5]

While its name, and the dark building in which Omen resides might be a bit foreboding, once you step inside you’re instantly transported across the Pacific. This establishment, with roots in Kyoto, has an authentic Japanese menu and atmosphere. Warm wood, sliding screen doors, and a welcoming staff invite you settle in and savor the food. But don’t enter this Japanese oasis expecting nigiri and spicy tuna rolls; the only raw fish offering is sashimi. Contemplate one of the Japanese Tasting Dinners as they give you a great sampling of tastes and flavors. Most importantly, remember to bring lots of cash. Omen is pricey and they only accept American Express.

The Crab and Yuba roll, devoid of both rice and seaweed, is unlike any roll you’ve had before. A sweet pea, enveloped by dense and tender crabmeat, is then rolled in fried soy bean curd. A small dip into the pool of vinegar, served on the side in a shallow dish, added the perfect tang of acid.

We opted for the Special Sashimi plate, a combination of tuna, fluke, yellowtail, red snapper, sea urchin, salmon, salmon-roe, and avocado. Having chosen seats at the small counter, we were afforded a view of this dish’s laborious creation. Each piece of fish was cut lovingly, salmon-roe was gently laid atop a lemon half, sea urchin spread upon a cucumber disk, and garnishes were crafted by the order, not taken from a water bath. The homemade wasabi, with finely minced horse radish, gave each melt-in-your-mouth piece just the right pop. The thought of the red snapper, with a slightly spiced skin, has since awoken my taste buds in the middle of the night.

The Black Cod, marinated in miso and grilled, while not unfamiliar in Japanese cuisine, is hard to pass up. This generous portion of cod was more savory than many of its relatives. An abundance of crispy skin protected glistening and flaky fish.

We saved the famous bowl of Omen noodles for our last course. When the restaurant first opened, it was actually nameless; the ensuing fame of their omen udon is what eventually provided it. Omen noodles are pale, round noodles with significant nutritional value. At Omen, the diner is brought a bowl of broth, a bowl of udon noodles, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, and traditional vegetables (daikon, spinach, sprouts). If you’re feeling overwhelmed, the server is happy to explain assembly guidelines. The result is hearty, well-seasoned, and slippery. The best part being that as the assembler, you can take some credit.

Omen
113 Thompson Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 925-8923
Cash or American Express Only

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