Japanese izakayas often offer many dishes in different categories–noodles, fried stuff, cold dishes, grilled meats, rice porridge, and sometimes sashimi. But executing a long menu well is hard, and Matsukado, the new Japanese noodle and small plates place on Second Avenue, is not doing a very good job of it right now. On the other hand, it’s only been open about a week and a half, and is family-owned, with two other branches in Japan.
It would be one thing if Matsukado had opened in a noodle-starved neighborhood. But it’s in the East Village, where you can’t walk a block without tripping over ramen. So Matsukado has got to give you a reason to choose it. If there is one right now, it’s the fried dishes. The fried baby octopus, above, is agreeably crisp and chewy. That, and a plate of crusty, panko-breaded, fried Spanish mackerel were the best dishes of the night.
A mess of tempura came with soba noodles. The shrimp in the pile were delicious, but overall this was a tiny bit too oil-sodden.
This miso ramen was ordered spicy (an extra dollar). It’s tasty enough, but the broth is a little anemic, especially given the plethora of excellent broth in the neighborhood. Roast pork, bamboo, and egg toppings are satisfactory, and the noodles are springy but nothing to write home about.
104 Second Avenue