On a Stick! The Early Word on Daruma


Daruma is a new yakitori/sushi bar in Nolita with a long, narrow blond wood bar, a few tables and, on the wall, giant images of multi-culti yakitori-eaters wielding meat on a stick and baring their teeth.

There are $5 sushi rolls, but the yakitori is the point here. Each skewer is $2. From a perch at the bar, you can watch your choice of foodstuff get jammed on a stick, grilled or fried, and then zapped to crispiness with a torch. There’s nothing funky going on—no chicken sternum or ovaries—but there are sixteen different options, ranging from Japanese sausage to fried fish ball to bacon/scallop to chicken wing. The yakitori are tiny (especially the bacon/scallop, which is more like small scraps of scallop wrapped in bacon), so the two dollar price tag isn’t quite the fantastic deal I thought it was, but it’s still very fair.

I’d go with two or three people and order one of each yakitori, plus beer. Heads up if you live or work nearby: Daruma delivers.

The on-a-stick-highlights:

Left to right: Rice stick (a corn-dog-shaped oblong of rice, nicely crispy on the outside, like the bits at the bottom of a bi bim bap bowl); gyu tender beef; shrimp

Left to right: Meager scallops wrapped in bacon; bouncy, mild squid balls; seafood shu mai with spicy mayo

227 Mott Street