Fresh, chilled fish crown the hand-cut rolls of sushi at Wild Ginger, where the Japanese delicacies comprise only a small part of the robust Asian fusion menu. Diners can stick to one cuisine or construct meals that pull from all over the East, beginning with an appetizer of edamame, moving on to aromatic platters of pad thai or takeout-classic general tso’s chicken, and sides such as Singapore-influenced rice noodles. Skilled culinary professionals hand-blend the restaurant's broad repertoire of sauces from ingredients so fresh that they regularly deposit coins into the kitchen's swear jar.
For lunch, design your own dish with a yakiniku grilling set. Try the U.S. Kobe beef set ($22), which includes 3.5-ounce portions of both Harami skirt steak and chuck rib. For non-grillers, the garlic-noodles bowl (from $8) or hot-stone-pot bibimbap (from $8) side well with an order of Kurosawa cold sake ($9). The dinner menu includes everything from grilled veggies such as fresh asparagus ($5), broccoli ($4), or garlic button mushrooms ($4) to spicy Chilean sea bass ($15). Noodle dishes including goma negi ramen or udon ($9) and chicken garlic noodles ($10) round out the menu. For dessert, save room for dorayaki ice cream ($6), in which ice cream is sandwiched between two fluffy pancakes. View complete menus for the Midtown and the East Village locations here.
Twelve dollars goes far at Oms/b, the rice ball specialists that New York magazine named Best Japanese Fast Food in 2004. Oms/b's name comes from omusubi, sticky balls of rice ($1.50-$3.25) stuffed with different kinds of meat and sauce, wrapped in seaweed, and delivered to diners via a neon-colored drifting sportscar. Oms/b serves more than 45 types of rice balls, including a California rice ball (crab, cucumber, avocado, and lettuce with vinegar rice), a spicy scallop roll (butter-sautéed scallop with Japanese red pepper), and Hijiki (seaweed and edamame beans mixed with rice, wrapped in yellow soy sheet). Oms/b is a small restaurant, so most diners grab and go, making it the lunch of choice for on-the-go vocations such as spy, marathon spy-cyclist, or spydiver. It's a clean, bright space with friendly staff serving the fresh fish, natural ingredients, and carefully selected white rice, brown rice, and mineral-rich salts.
Asian Station 82nd indulges diners with a sumptuous fusion menu that blends classic Japanese fare with modern and traditional Thai dishes. Chefs flaunt their creativity with specialty rolls that artfully envelop fresh seafood such as king crab, spicy scallops, or tuna, and they assemble entrees including tangerine beef and mango chicken that showcase light Asian flavors.
Though the restaurant flaunts an elegant, modern interior design, a sound system playing Top 40 tunes, a mounted flat-screen television, and a vast selection of sake all help forge a more relaxed atmosphere. Diners can eat in the main room or in an auxiliary dining room, where cushioned benches support guests looking up at the illuminated cerulean dome or walls adorned with oversize red and black squares left over from the painting crew's checkers tourneys.