Fans of home-style Japanese fare will soon be able to avoid the trek uptown to get a taste of Ootoya‘s (11th Street and University Place) expansive menu. The Japanese chain is slated to open its third Manhattan location at the beginning of next month.
With over 400 locations throughout Asia, this will also be the third stateside location of the multi-specialty mega-chain, which launched in New York in 2012. The menu — which has been called the Denny’s of Japan — incorporates a wide range of Japanese dishes and styles, ranging from sushi and sashimi to soba and grilled proteins.
“We’re a traditional Japanese restaurant,” says manager Satoshi Mitsumori. “Sushi isn’t really traditional; we don’t eat it at home. We do home-cooked food — mother’s food, as they call it.”
The style of restaurant, labeled a teishoku in Japan, specializes in set meals. Dishes like hokke yuan ($22), grilled mackerel marinated in yuan sauce (a blend of soy sauce, mirin, and sake) are served with rice, pork and vegetable miso soup, assorted pickles, and steamed egg custard. Oyako Ju ($17), grilled free-range chicken and onions, simmered in dashi broth and wrapped with custard, comes with the same. Add-ons include hijiki seaweed ($1), grated Japanese yam ($2), and brown rice with grains ($1). A la carte options are also available.
The pork tonkatsu ($16 a la carte, $19 for set) is the most popular dish on the menu.
“We use high-quality ingredients,” says Mitsumori. “Most of our material comes straight from Japan, with the exception of some of our meat and some fishes. We try to stick to the same quality as our locations in Japan and Asia.”
The eatery does not offer spirits; however, it serves beer, wine, sake, and apéritifs made from fermented beverages.
The decision to open the upcoming location has to do with overflow. Both the Chelsea and Times Square outposts are running at max capacity. “Our two locations are just packed,” says Mitsumori.
The company also owns counter-style robata grill Robataya on East 9th Street.
And if you happen to be looking for a job, the eatery is now taking applications. Submit your résumé to firstname.lastname@example.org.