Corinne M. asks: Hi, I’m looking for decent okonomiyaki that’s not made in a stall or a cheapish restaurant (i.e., not the place on 9th Street, or Sunrise Mart). There used to be a restaurant near Grand Central that had this. I miss it. Know of any others?
Dear Corinne: You’re in luck! Although I think Otafuku serves a decent okonomiyaki, here are a few options for other spots to get your Japanese fried-pancake fix.
I’d suggest beginning your quest at Izakaya Moku, a cheery Japanese pub located in Koreatown. When former Voice critic Sarah DiGregorio reviewed the spot, she proclaimed the savory pancakes — which are the size of a hubcap and covered in a thick blanket of bonito flakes — to be pleasantly goopy, benefiting from the crunch of bean sprouts.
Since you’re already in Midtown, walk a few blocks farther to Sake Bar Hagi, which can be less buzzy and hectic than some of the East Village izakayas. The okonomiyaki here comes slicked in sauce, perfect snack fare for knocking back a few Asahi beers.
Among the downtown eateries, though, you might want to start off at Decibel, which is probably my favorite sake bar in the city. Go early, though, before it gets jam-packed. Their version sort of recalls Otafuku’s in that it’s big and kind of doughy, but isn’t that the point of okonomiyaki?
You could also check out Village Yokocho, which offers a huge pancake as well. It’s not my favorite, but if you’re already on a okonomiyaki adventure, why not sample all the goods?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 21, 2011