I love Mitsuwa. Not only do they have amazing and wonderful treats like Sriracha Peas (think wasabi peas, but much spicier and more amazing), but they have all the Japanese goodies I could hope to buy for bento, munchies, goodies, and lovely items. And an AMAZING FOOD COURT with places like Katsuhama… So on my recent visit, yes I went and got two lunches. (Great to have friends with whom you can share!)
Pork tenderloin katsu… with pickles, rice, and miso soup.
And per usual, crispy exterior, deliciously tender and juicy insides… and a scoop of Japanese potato salad, though I admit this time, the potato salad was a little dry and not so good as I remember. But still yummy!
I always hear that Santouka has excellent ramen, so despite the gorgeous weather outside (I generally crave ramen on yucky, rainy days), I decided to grab a shio (salt broth) ramen with a “set” lunch that included…
salmon roe over rice, one of my very favorite quickie Japanese-style-home-foods. Mmm, so good, salty briny goodness.
As for the shio ramen itself, well, the broth was, in a word, amazing. The pork slices were deliciously tender and juicy, and the broth just had a deep, deep flavor to it. I was extremely pleased with the broth, drinking as much as I possibly could, considering the smallish soup spoons provided with the bowl. Mmm, nommy.
The noodles left much to be desired. I just couldn’t get into them; they reminded me of cheap Chinese noodles, with a soft chew to them, not quite as much bite as I’d like to them, and just not worthy of the broth in which they reside. I mean, the ramen was still great, but I think if just slightly better noodles had been used, the whole bowl would have been transcended to orgasmic levels. I mean, wow.
Also included in the set was a tea egg, which was fine, nothing offensive or amazing. Just a hard boiled egg, essentially.
After we were finished eating like piggies, I grabbed a small green tea ice cream cone from the stand outside Katsuhama for $2. I love getting this because it is bitter enough – it isn’t overwhelmingly sweet, nor is the green tea flavor masked by sugar or ice cream. The forward flavor is green tea, slightly bitter, slightly roasted, and overall, delicious. Yummm! The line was too long at the stand next door, or we’d have also gotten some taiyaki – sweet bean paste and/or custard filled pastries. Mmm, yes, even grocery shopping with me is time to pig out 🙂
Last but not least, inside Mitsuwa itself along the left wall is row upon row of pre-made goodies for purchase and consumption. I bought a buffalo shrimp tempura handroll – with the tail still on, this was pretty difficult to eat, and the buffalo flavor didn’t come through too easily. I wouldn’t bother with this again next time. Next up were eel onigiri (soaked in eel sauce, a lil too saucy for me); spicy cod roe onigiri (not that spicy, honestly); cod roe onigiri (meh); and beef yakiniku onigiri (chewy; I’m not a big fan of beef in onigiri anyway). But still, around $2 each, great for fuel for shopping at Mitsuwa. Ahhh, I love Mitsuwa.
Yvo says: Mitsuwa is an awesome place to shop for all your Japanese needs – there’s also a Japanese bookstore and a Japanese toy store in the same strip mall/parking lot as Mitsuwa. The bus from Port Authority (Gate 51) is now $3 one way, but with the intense variety and availability of items, it is totally worth it just to go and get what you need or want to try. The prices are reasonable (on this trip, a 15 lb. bag of Nishiki rice (for sushi/etc. – Japanese short grain rice) was on sale for $15, down from $20 – a great deal!), and if you’re one of those people who believes the clientele of any given place gives you a good idea of what’s what… the vast majority of the people who shop here are actually Japanese/Japanese-descent.
Mitsuwa Shopping Center
Take the $3 shuttle bus from Gate 51 at Port Authority,
schedule available here.