Once in a while I feel like doing a quick cheap lunch and walking down memory lane. The place that provides both is Sharaku, on the East Village. Opened in 1984, it offers decent sushi at affordable prices and it reminds me of my first years in New York, on the late 90s, a newly arrived transplant from Southern Spain that loved people watching on East 9 Street/Stuyvensant and catching up with friends over Japanese beers, hot miso soup and chirashi or a sushi dinner, all under $20.
And because it’s still there and because once in a while I still need to believe that I am somewhat young and without responsibilities, I decided to stop by with La Petite Wasabi, who has recently decided that maki rolls (or, as she calls it, sushi) are the way to go for any meal after noon, and have a quick lunch. The experience was obviously very different from my pre-kids days but just as good and fun as I remembered it.
The place is pretty ample and given that we went on a Saturday at around noon, it was not incredibly packed. The crowd is still the same 15 years later: a mix of nearby NYU students; some long time East Village residents, whose downtown coolness vibe hasn’t been lost to age; a couple of random lost tourists and, something I didn’t pay attention when I first dined there, some families with kids, which explains the high chairs and booster seats by the entrance.
The menu is pretty straight forward with some decently priced lunch specials all for under $20 (have to love that 90s pricing!). They have a simple sake list, both by the glass and bottle and some wines and beers. They don’t have kids menu, but that didn’t stop La Petite Wasabi from enjoying edamame and a maki roll, while I had the mini spicy sea food don (with soup or salad and for only $8.95!!) with a Kirin Ichiban.
The bathroom is ample without a changing table and it is not crazy clean, so I feel it would be a bit complicated to change a little one in there.
The best part is that after having your sushi fix you can just walk to the Japanese bakery Panya Bakery and finish your meal with a nice sweet or go to Sunrise Mart and get a Japanese canned coffee. As weird as it sounds, the canned coffees are actually a perfect way to end up your meal.
14 Stuyvensant Street
New York, NY 10003
Sunday – Thursday: 12:00pm – 11:45pm
Friday – Saturday: 12:00pm – 2:45am