In need of a light bite before a show at Williamsburg Waterfront, we hit Twitter to see what the people would recommend. Multiple familiar and now trusted handles suggested Zenkichi. Done. After walking right by the unmarked exterior twice, we finally figured out that the bamboo building on the corner was what we were looking for. Idiots.
Zenkichi is a trip. It prides itself on being an authentic Tokyo establishment. I've never been to Japan, but can only imagine that private booths with blackout curtains and a buzzer to call the wait staff are commonplace. You don't find many of this type of Japanese restaurant around NYC, so this experience was definitely a fun change of pace - but for two dudes lookin' to get a little buzz on before a Modest Mouse show, Zenkichi proved to be a little on the romantic side. It's best utilized for Date Night or a First/Early in the Game Date spot. There could be fellatio being performed in the booth next to you and you wouldn't have a clue.
The food is solid, but takes a back seat in terms of the whole experience. The $55, 8-course Omakase Tasting Menu is definitely the way to go as ordering a la carte can get expensive. Also, don't sleep on the sake tasting. While I'm not making plans to go back next week, if you're in the hood, Zenkichi is an excellent neighborhood option.
Same Nankotsu aka Shark Cartilage
We thought we'd be gangsters and eat some shark. Bad idea. This was some of the saltiest, stinkiest shit I've ever eaten and the texture was tough and hard to chew. Thankfully, the rest of the meal was way better.
Small oysters served in an incredibly thick, sweet sauce. We enjoyed this dish, but could only handle a couple of bites as it's incredibly sweet. The presentation was also cool. Check it out.Nagoya Taba Wings
Triangles of crispy chicken wings made with a blend of Japanese spices. Juicy and quite tasty. A good appetizer to share.Yellowtail Zuke
It's rare I notice the dishware at restaurants, but this Hiramasa Yellowtail was served in some sweet looking Japanese bowl. Yellowtail lightly cured in soy sauce with raw quail egg? Yes please. Anything topped with a raw quail egg is bound to be good, and this fresh white fish delivered.Kobe Beef Tataki
This was really freakin' good - possibly the best thing we ate all night. This is a rare kobe beef rib eye thinly sliced and served with an incredible ginger-garlic sauce.Saikyo Black Cod
How well a Japanese restaurant does their miso black cod is always a telling sign as to the overall quality of the kitchen. This one was very good - tastes like butter and melts in your mouth. Get on it.Maguro Carpaccio
Another solid fish dish, this tuna sashimi with green yuzu pepper definitely does the trick.