One of my resolutions for 2013 will be to eat out more often. Or perhaps more accurately, branching out a bit and doing a random lunch somewhere, rather than having a salad or sandwich at home. Eating *out*. None of this "paying forward" or being nice to people BS. We got a jump on that resolution today and headed off to Sakura Bana in Ridgewood, NJ.
Prompted by last night's take-out from Wasabi, a serviceable and at times very good Japanese place, also in Ridgewood, where I spied some sort of soup with vegetables, which as it turned out is simply an Udon soup, my intention was to get a bowl of this cold weather treat on this snowy, wet day. That sentence is perfectly constructed and clear, as far as I know.
A quick review of the specials board at Sakura Bana revealed a bunch of other interesting goodies, including grilled tongue and miso/butter cod. Two items we might not have known about had we not gone to the restaurant, and sat down at a table like normal, well-adjusted people do every day, everywhere. You see, this whole going out thing is paying off already. Good for me.
There's no point in describing each dish in detail when blurry, oversaturated, poorly composed iPhone photos are available. We ordered:
- Grilled tongue "sushi." Next time I'll get the grilled tongue appetizer. I could have eaten a pound of this.
- Spicy tuna salad. A salad, with avocado, and a big scoop of spicy tuna. I'm not sure if you'll find this in Tokyo, and I don't care. It was a wonderful lunch dish.
- Miso/butter cod. Miso cod is from the 90s, and I'm more than happy to eat it in the 10s. I believe it was first made famous at Nobu. Or, Nobu's, as it's called on the internet. It's a stupid easy dish to make, but one I rarely consider cooking or ordering at this point. Sakura Bana makes a very tasty version. With butter.
- Nabeyaki Udon. For the life of me I can't figure out why you'd put a tempura shrimp in a bowl of soup. But it's all good.
I have no idea if our service today was indicative of what you'd normally experience, but the kid who served us had the polish and charm of a career server 20 years his senior. A wonderful experience overall.
You, also, should go to Sakura Bana more often.
(Update: I've been going more. Here's another report...click me)
Sakura Bana : 43 Franklin Ave : Ridgewood, NJ : 201.447.6525 : BYOB