It is hard to create something that really stands out in the crowded NYC food scene, but Takayuki Watanabe and chef Takatoshi Nagara are hoping to do just that with their latest Lower East Side creation.
The new restaurant, called Karakatta, is set to focus exclusively on spicy ramen dishes and offers diners the choice of four main options, as well as a handful of appetizers, that the owners hope will set them apart from other ramen eateries in the city.
The first option, that the owners call “spicy ginger stamina,” is a ginger packed bowl that is touted both for its health value as well as its taste. There is also a spicy vegetarian curry, a butter-miso, and a shoyu made with Chef Takatoshi’s secret recipe. Each of these dishes can also be customized a bit, with diners selecting how spicy they want their meal from a scale of one to three.
Rice bowls are also available, with the chef showing off his teriyaki pork belly and chicken dishes during a recent photo op, and appetizers like Karaage with a curry and ponzu-sesame sauce are also highly recommended. Guests also raved about the gyoza and pork belly bun starters, highlighting the fact that the location serves more than just bowls of noodles for those looking to expand their palate.
The restaurant is located in a cozy little spot on Thompson Street just south of Washington Square Park, and is divided into a bar area and a dining room. Although small, the dining area is definitely not uncomfortable, and diners can enjoy a unique experience as long as they don’t mind a little heat from their food!
New York City is a haven for restaurants that cater to select audiences that are expecting expertise in a particular culinary delight. That tradition is continuing with Karakatta, which is designed to appeal to audiences that are craving spicy ramen to fill them up, with that dish the entire focus of the establishment.
Ramen by itself has long been connected to economically-challenged college students just trying to get a filling meal. In the case of Karakatta, the goal takes on a broader approach, with unique touches that allow for a more sumptuous opportunity to embrace all that this often-derided food item has to offer.
Located just south of Washington South Park, Karakatta was designed to offer up a small footprint without being cramped when it comes to diner comfort. The result has thus far been welcoming, largely because of the tempting dishes that are offered. In addition, karaage is one of the main focal points when it comes to appetizers, with sauces such as ponzu-sesame and curry there to put some bite into the meal.
Yet like any restaurant, Karakatta will live and die based on its main dishes, one of which is spicy vegetable curry. Among the items in this dish are scallions, tofu and shredded red pepper. Others may be more comfortable choosing the butter miso, which helps mix together items like ground pork and pork belly with a dash of cilantro. Miso also finds its way into either the teriyaki chicken or pork belly, though this comes in the form of soup. Also along for the ride with the teriyaki is are Japanese pickles.
Of course, the chicken and pork belly are versatile enough to also be used in the Karakatta version of shoyu. Here, key components like cabbage, bean sprouts and leeks offer a new twist.