NYC finally has an Izakaya Brunch!
I’ve been advocating for an izakaya brunch in NYC since at least the summer of 2011 when Uminoie had a series of summer afternoon patio parties. I guess I’ve worn down the owners at SakaMai (157 Ludlow between Stanton and Rivington, LES), because they are now serving brunch 11:30-2:30 Saturday & Sunday.
Several of the brunch items come from their dinner or late-night menus, but some are all new.
My personal favorite late-night menu item is the Teriyaki Burger, which I describe as “everything you love about a Big Mac, but with quality ingredients and teriyaki glaze”. It’s terrific and now you don’t have to wait until 11pm on a Friday or Saturday night to indulge. This may become my new favorite hangover meal.
Another one of my favorite’s from the main menu is the decadent Uni Mazemen, which is a soupless ramen made with sea urchin and bone marrow. It’s an umami bomb unlike any other ramen in NYC. But you’d better be hungry, because it’s rich.
A couple spins on brunch are available as well including a delicious Eggs Benedict, which is actually spam musubi (spam sushi rolls) topped with a poached egg and a decadent house made Hollandaise sauce.
Spam sushi is a thing in Hawaii, and the menu also includes another popular Hawaiian dish, Loco Moco, which I’m told is essentially kimchi fried rice, though I haven’t tried it since it’s topped with the hamburger patty and an egg!
A final brunch menu option, which I thought was perfect, was the Cha Soba Salad, which is a soba version of hiyashi chuka ramen (cold summer ramen), which is perfectly seasoned with a sesame soy dressing.
If you’d rather go with a traditional Japanese breakfast, you can do that as well, with a full selection of Japanese Teishoku (set meals). Choose from Chicken Nanban, fried mackerel, black sea bass, or kakuni (pork belly). All are served with miso soup, a poached egg, housemade tsukemono (Japanese pickles), and rice.
Boozy brunches are not my thing (ironic given my love of shochu), but if they’re yours, there are a number of Japanese spins on brunchy cocktails.
I can’t believe there is finally an izakaya brunch in NYC, we only get to have nice things when we use them, so get over to SakaMai and give it a try.