Why Not Udon?


Inari Udon at Mai Sushi is Dish #31 in our countdown.

Welcome to 100 Dishes to Eat Now, the tasty countdown leading up to our “Best of 2012” issue. Tune in each day (weekends too!) for a new dish from the Fork in the Road team.

Udon don’t get no respect. While foodies line up for as long as two hours for a single precious bowl of pig-foot-broth ramen, and soba is produced so carefully that it has attained the status of a complex scientific procedure, udon struggles along, puffy, fantastically white, and underappreciated.

Welll maybe udon is poised to become the next big thing. These white wheat noodles are easy to chew, and have a playful, slippery texture. Eating them is a test of chopstick dexterity, since the udon noodles have no “tooth.”

There’s something delightful and refreshing about the inari udon at Mai Cuisine. Rather than the catalog of crap thrown into your ramen bowl, there’s nothing here except fundamentals: rafts of inari, the soaked-in-sweet-sauce manifestation of tofu, usually stuffed with vinegared rice but here not; a plain brown broth that nevertheless satisfies; and udon, in a context that makes you grateful for each wiggly noodle.

And think of all the calories you’re saving.

Mai Cuisine
16 East 41st Street

Mai Cuisine by night