Did you really spend a night out in NYC if it didn’t end up with you stuffing yourself with a late night bite? Yeah, probably not. And the next time you find yourself galavanting around the streets at 3 a.m. looking for food, we’ve got a new spot to add onto your roster.
Chef Rutsuko “Ruth” Koga and Shin Araki opened up Ichibantei back in 2010, and it quickly made a name for itself as an East Village Japanese comfort food pioneer. Though they closed earlier this year–us New Yorkers love it so much they simply outgrew their original 20-seat space–they just recently opened a brand new location just two blocks away.
Now located in the former three-level swanky club/restaurant VNYL, Ichibantei is back and bigger than ever–and this time they have a full liquor license!
Don’t worry, their food is just as good as it always was, serving classic Japanese dishes along with Japanese set meals (teishoku) just like their mothers made when they were growing up in Japan with all the main courses accompanied by salad, rice, and miso soup.
Chef Koga, who learned to cook from her mother as a child in Kumamoto, makes almost everything from scratch just as she was taught.
Menu highlights include signatures like Ichibantei Steak topped with garlic chips, Tonteki Pork Steak, Chicken Nanban, a traditional Japanese meal featuring juicy, battered chicken in a tangy sauce, and Donburi Rice Bowls topped with chicken or a fluffy tamago Japanese omelet.
Though starting out with an appetizer is highly recommended and include the likes of Agenasu, Japanese eggplant in broth, Tako Wasabi spicy diced octopus, crispy fried Chicken Karaage, and more.
The best part–they serve their food til 3 a.m.!
But beyond the food the atmosphere also embodies the soul of authentic Japan, along with a hint of glamour.
Japanese film noir posters and a stunning lip mural by artist Cazul make for the perfect pop of color among dark floors, walls, and tables, and what’s created is a space that totally fits in what used to be a swanky club, while still honoring Japanese culture.
Plus, word on the street is that a new lounge is in the works to open on the top floor this summer!
Ichibantei is open Monday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 3 a.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. They’re located at 100 Third Avenue in the East Village.