The first thing that might strike you about Otafuku is that its rather small. Petite, even. Nearly microscopic. This, luckily, does not hinder the production of extremely cool and, one imagines, extremely authentic Japanese comfort food.
Okonomiyaki is something between a pizza, a pancake, and an omelet. Enormously popular in Japan, (so Ive heard) these are grilled up in front of you, with your choice of topping: pork, beef, shrimp, or squid. I tried the pork and the shrimp both cooked to perfection, though just so you know; the pork is essentially bacon, if you were expecting something different. Once cooked, its covered in a medley of assorted materials; a vaguely unidentifiable sauce, bonito flakes, something like mayonnaise, and a dark powder. All somehow come together and produce a flavor completely unrecognizable to the average New Yorker, yet filling and wonderful. Two big ones to an order, too. I went with an extremely picky eater, and even he had a good time with it. Refused to try the squid, though. So sad.
Also offered is takoyaki, billed as Octopus Balls. As catchy as the description is, theyre really good. Six to an order, and covered in a similar array of items as the okinomiyaki. When you bite into one, a creamy mixture of chopped octopus, scallions, and ginger burst forth. I could eat those things three meals a day. They DO offer non-octopus versions, for the more timid.
Desert is perfectly good, though not impressive. Red bean buns, ice-creams, etc. Didnt notice anything too original.
Its such a JAPANESE place. The magazines lying about supposedly mention other branches of the restaurant back in Japan, according to the slightly incomprehensible chef, and she seemed very proud of it. If I had one complaint, it would be the lack of anywhere to sit. Either you stand at the counter and eat, or take the food with you, during which time it can lose its freshness. Ah well. Other than that, a unique find, worth trecking for. I dont think theres anywhere else quite like it within the entire time zone.
Otafuku: East 9th, between 2nd and 3rd