Blue Ribbon Izakaya
187 Orchard Street
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 466-0404
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Area: Lower East Side
Follow a cluster of paper lanterns one flight up to Blue Ribbon Izakaya, a chic spot for Japanese cuisine on Orchard Street. Hang by the bar while sipping designer cocktails like Gold Coast Punch made with Banks rum, pineapple juice, fresh lime and 5 spice syrup. Or, choose from a nice selection Sochu, a Japanese spirit, and sake, along with Japanese beers like "Tokyo Black Porter" by Yo-Ho Brewery. I settled on a "Sorache Ace" nicely chilled on tap by Brooklyn Brewery.
There is seating by the bar and in the main dining area where groups gather at communal tables while couples may way to seek out a more intimate spot. The center of attention is the sushi bar, where the sushi chefs create made-to-order sashimi, sushi and signature rolls. We shared a plate of four rolls for a late lunch; spicy lobster, yellowtail with scallion, a California roll and shrimp tempura. All of the flavors were crisp and fresh. The yellowytail stood out to me. The fish was wonderfully rich and fatty.
Aside from sushi, the restaurant also offers other Blue Ribbon specialties like fried chicken with wasabi honey, pork meatballs with a sesame glaze and grilled strip steak with a miso pepper sauce. Green tea creme brulee and ginger bread pudding are among the desserts, or continue the party with another round at the adjacent beer garden.
Review By: Thomas Rafael