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.
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.