What makes a restaurant essential? Not “Essential” in that meaningless, buzzword way. Essential in the sense that it offers something – or a combination of things – you can’t get anywhere else. And Suzume does exactly that. Holler at us if you know of any other place that serves sushi AND ramen AND tacos AND wings, because this is a revelation. Add to that its charming space, reasonable prices, and solid cocktail selection and Suzume is a true restaurant anomaly.
Despite all of those ANDs, Suzume packs a lot of good things into a surprisingly concise menu. There are a few sushi options, a few “snacks” (tacos, wings), a few bowls of ramen, and a few other items just in case you’re the hardest person in New York to please. As for prices - the most expensive thing on the menu is $11. The addition of a great drinks list also makes Suzume a place where you can have a gin-beet-carrot-apple-ginger cocktail while eating a spicy tuna roll and feel neither like you’re at a spa nor Tao. What this all boils down to is a happiness free-for-all – no matter how or what you order, it’s going to be good, and it’s going to be fun.
Suzume also gets major points for its atmosphere. It’s a tiny space, but it’s simultaneously cool enough for a date and comfortable enough for a weeknight solo dinner. And while we’ve encountered slight waits for a table, getting in is never a production.
Ultimately, Suzume is not a place you come because you want the best sushi or ramen in the city. It’s a place you come because it fulfills all your needs in one fell swoop, with its quirky yet accessible menu, reasonable prices, and feel-good vibes. And that, in itself, is a real rarity. Suzume may not be on everyone’s list of essential restaurants, but if you’re anywhere near this part of Brooklyn it should be on yours.
There are three kinds of sushi at Suzume, and all of them need to be on your table. The salmon and tuna pokes are generous spoonfuls of very fresh chopped fish in tasty dressings, and they're genius. Ok, maybe not genius. We just really like poke. As for the spicy scallop sushi, this is a little bomb of happiness: scallop, avocado, spicy mayo, and masago.
Up top: Spicy tuna and crispy rice is never a bad idea. But a spicy tuna roll topped with shoestring fried potatoes? We’re not sharing. Below: Your usual salmon and avocado roll, plus a basil/mayo dipping sauce. Order it.
Fact: salmon on top of anything makes it healthy. Even a pile of noodles. In a rich broth. If you've been around the ramen block at all and are looking for something you haven't tried before, order this.
Our favorite ramen at Suzume. Instead of the usual slices of pork, this bowl is topped with pulled pork. Translation: BITS OF PORK IN EVERY NOODLE-Y BITE.
Want a warm bowl of goodness that isn’t noodles? This is a solid option – save for the pineapple macaroni salad that comes with it. Something about cold, vaguely sweet pasta just doesn’t excite.
Can we all just acknowledge that no one is really excited about raw mackerel? Feel free to skip this one.