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Y Canteen review

Lambretta76 | Jul 28, 2005 11:35 AM

Spurred on by Louise's recent favorable recommendation of this place, we decided to hit Y Canteen last night for dinner.

I never went in before, but it seems that perhaps the layout has been rearranged since first opening? Also, they now offer sushi, which I don't think they did originally. (Pretty much the same sushi menu as Nana on 5th.)

They have several bottle of sake (180-300mL) in the $8-$15 range, and we ordered the nigorizake. It was the standard one you see served here in the city, Ozeki I believe is the name, but it was good and only $12.

We ordered the vegetable okonomiyaki, an avocado roll and tempura sweet potato roll, and the vegetable Yakitori tasting menu. (We also added a single piece of bacon-wrapped asparagus yakitori.)

The complimentary salad arrived, a nice mix of greens and beets witha yuzu dressing. The dressing was a bit sweet, but I liked it as it was quite refreshing and went well with the sake.

The okonomiyaki ($6) was a disaster. This place is run by Chinese people and the okonomiyaki was essentially a scallion pancake with asparagus, tomatoes, and eggplant chopped up into it. There wasn't a piece of cabbage in sight. It had okonomi sauce on it, and tuna flakes, but was missing the mayo. All that said, it wasn't bad, and I could perhaps be persuaded to order it again, but they really shouldn't call it okonomiyaki. (I've only had good okonomiyaki at two places in this city, Otafuku on 9th in Manhattan and my kitchen.)

The sushi rolls ($3 each) were fine, as they were being used as our "salad course". Ripe avocado, nicely fried sweet potato. Served their purpose.

The yakitori sampler ($10) was nice - two each of the following grilled veggies - asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, portabella mushroom, and ginkgo nuts. All were perfectly done, and the mushroom, zucchini, and eggplant were all nicely spiced. I wasn't crazy about the ginkgo nuts, but they were fine. Kind of a mushy, rice cake texture to them. Improved a lot when I added the Japanese red pepper. The added bacon-wrapped asparagus ($2.50) were three segments of asparagus wrapped in bacon and grilled. Actually, a pretty good rendition of this, not as fatty as most places. Would I compare it to some of the better yakitori establishments in the city - no. But, for where it is and what they're doing, it was actually quite good. I'll definitely return and try the different meat yakitori options and hope that they live up to these standards.

The final bill came to $39 including tax, but not tip, and we left stuffed, but not disgustingly so. This should definietly be on every veggie and vegans radar as they do some nice things with vegetarian dishes. (And presumably some of the grilled veggies are vegan.)

Thanks for the tip Louise! Hope your final days of chowing in the city go well!

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