Restaurants & Bars

Manhattan Japanese

new meaning to "Japanese Homestyle"


Live your best food life.

Sign up to discover your next favorite restaurant, recipe, or cookbook in the largest community of knowledgeable food enthusiasts.
Sign Up For Free
Restaurants & Bars 8

new meaning to "Japanese Homestyle"

adamclyde | Apr 22, 2003 03:15 PM

tired of the normal lunch places near grand central and prompted by the many postings about japanese curry lately, I decided to find an inexpensive japanese curry dish. After confirming that Hanami was closed, as Eric Eto mentioned, I went wandering north and eventually came across this obscure place called Izakaya Merry on 51st street between 2nd and 3rd).

The place is a total trip, to say the least. It's located directly underneath an indian restaurant called Amma, on the sub-street level. I walked into the place and felt like I walked into someone's living room. I opened the door and found myself alone in a small room with three tables, a wet-bar and a cat sitting on the bar. I had to call out to find out if anyone lived/worked there. A nice Japanese gentleman came from the back and handed me a menu.

The menu said they made "homestyle Japanese" (which I believed in a very literal sense) and offered only a few dishes like broiled eel, teriyaki chicken, beef curry, etc. The lunches are all $6.50 (curry was $7.50). There was a japanese-only menu that remained a mystery to this non-japanese customer.

Anyhow, despite my serious misgivings about eating at a place with a cat hanging out in the dining area, I gave in to my curiousity and ordered the beef curry. While I'm not an expert on Japanese curry, the meal was really good. It came on a huge plate with rice. The curry was sweet, with a hint of something like banana or plaintain. Very interesting, but very good.

Throughout the whole time, I was the only one in the place, aside from the owner and the cat, that is. I entertained myself by watching the guy's VCR that had this Japanese TV show on it that looked like a cross between the Price is Right and Iron Chef.

Honestly, it was just as though I had accidentally walked into this nice Japanese gentleman's small apartment and he offered to cook me lunch. He doesn't even accept tips because, "no waitress, just me. and I just cook."

I'd love to hear about someone else's experience at the place, if anyone has gone. If you decide to go (which I recommend) a couple of caveats: first, don't expect a restaurant experience. Expect to get the kind of meal you would if you joined a Japanese friend at home for dinner. Second, don't go if you are allergic to cats.

- Adam

Izakaya Merry
246 East 51st Street (Between 2nd and 3rd)

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound