|Takoyaki, aka octopus balls, with the works|
|Tasty snacks inside|
1. Takoyaki aka octopus balls: tender chunks of octopus in a velvety wheat dough batter
2. Okonomiyaki: dense Japanese cabbage pancakes with veggies and choice of protein
3. Yakisoba: stir-fried noodles with veggies and choice of protein.
I recently read that takoyaki for Osakans is the equivalent of pizza for New Yorkers. I get an order of 6 with a side of edamame for $6.
Ask for 'the works' to get a generous drizzle of BBQ sauce, mayo, seaweed flakes, and bonito, dried smoked fish flakes that literally dance in the heat. It's poetic. It's also so delicious. Hot off the specially cast griddle, one bite gives you a generous chunk of octopus swimming in a slightly creamy center.
|Takoyaki on the griddle|
The okonomiyaki is equally delicious. Two large pancakes ($8) come with your choice of either seafood or meat. I had the classic pork on one and squid on the other. Pork is thinly sliced and crisped like bacon. Squid is very satisfying too. The same toppings apply. If you can't decide between balls or pancakes, get the combo for $9.
|Okonomiyaki fully loaded|
The lone bench parked outside sees a lot of action. The regulars accept the 15 minute wait without any grumbling. I sat next to two friends visiting from Vancouver and staying in Queens. They heard it was worth the trek. Like me, they left satisfied.
Note: If you're in the mood for proper sit down Japanese fare, Otafuku has two sister restaurants on the same block - excellent Hasaki and Robataya.
236 E 9th St. (between 2nd + 3rd Aves)
Mon-Fri, 1-10 pm
Sat-Sun, 11 am - 10 pm
212 353 8503