Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Nancy's Quick Pick #6, Rajio Japanese Public House

I just tried the new Rajio Japanese Public House at West 10th at Alma St. for the first time and loved it.  This doesn't surprise me too much, as this is the new sister restaurant to Suika on Broadway, which I also love.  Rajio (as in radio) has only been open about three months, but everything seems to be running smoothly.  Perhaps as smoothly as their "smooth pudding" which is this amazing creme caramel cold dessert that so lives up to its name.  I've visited twice in total but on the first visit, it was a very chilly night and their big bowl of oden is perfect.  Thank you Y's Mommy (as credited in the menu for the oden)!

Kushi katsu - it's hard to go wrong with fried things on sticks.  They are served with a Japanese tartar sauce, onion relish, lemon salt, and kushi katsu sauce (thin and salty).  I liked all of the ones I had, but there was definitely a stand out for me - the braised pork belly was both melty and crispy.  I also love the chewy texture of mochi, so the rice cake was delicious.  You can customize and choose your own, go with one of their combos.  My first set on the first visit was on the fresh sheet and was called the premium set.  On my second visit, I chose eggplant, oyster, gyoza, camembert and pancake (which was really chunks of okonomyaki, Japanese "pancake" with pieces of cabbage) and they were all tasty (though I recommend going with the premium set if you can).  On the topic of cabbage, you are given a complimentary bowl of salt cabbage with some sort of salty relish on it.  They say it is for digestion, and it is the perfect light, crunch complement for the fattier izakaya foods.  I've tried two cocktails so far, and they were both fantastic - the homemade ginger highball and the special pineapple sour.   The tuna from the fresh sheet wasn't that great to be honest, but these things vary so much from day to day, I wasn't too worried about it.

 Homemade Ginger Highball, Complimentary Salt Cabbage and Condiments for Kushi Katsu

 Kushi Katsu Premium Set

 Disney glass is to put used skewers, Japanese Tartar, Lemon Salt, Onion Relish, Kushi Katsu Sauce

 Secret Oden (yes, there's a little weiner, and mochi in a soybean wrap)

Local Tuna (Albacore) on the fresh sheet 

Seafood Rice Cake Pizza

 Mentaiko Kimchi Yaki Udon

Mango Pudding

 Smooth Pudding (SO smooth!)

The seafood rice cake pizza (like a giant rice cracker) was a special, and was pretty good.  The udon dish was very tasty, but I would say that the texture of the noodles at Suika is slightly better, but I still gobbled this dish up here.  Mango pudding was excellent with a layer of tender  mango on top and a relatively light and creamy pudding underneath.

Their decor was pretty cute (lit up children's character masks on one wall) and casual, but I hope they replace metal folding chairs which are a little too casual looking and not that comfortable. There are some banquettes though, which were quite comfortable.

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