The Budget: $10.95
The Specs: Omu Soba
The Mood: Japanese Date in a Basement
The Place: 53 W. 35th St. Basement
There are first dates where you take a girl out and keep it pretty casual. But then there are dates where you go the extra mile, where you’re really looking to set the mood and impress. Lucky for you, you can go that extra mile for exactly the same price. Welcome to Izakaya MEW.
This place is probably one of the best first date spots in the city. Right from the beginning, it’s a little hard to find, so it looks like you really did your research.
Maybe underground restaurants are a New York cliche, but maybe they are a New York cliche for a reason. It sets a mood, a mood that usually comes with a bigger price tag. Notice how I strategically used the word “usually.”
The tables are just close enough together where you can still put on your jacket without knocking over your neighbor’s drink, yet you’re close enough to hear enough of their conversation to keep things interesting.
This is the emptiest you will probably ever see this place. If you don’t come right at opening on an off-day, be prepared for a wait, especially later on in the night.
Before we get into the food, there’s something you need to know. 5:30-7p.m. marks happy hour. What does this mean? Beer for $3 and wine for $4. You read it correctly the first time. They also have a fun list of cocktails for under $10, and they come in mason jars which is just adorable.
Kimchi Cream Udon ($10.95)
In the best way possible, imagine you are eating alfredo, but with kimchi. Yes, this is a real thing, and it is a beautiful thing. You have some Udon noodles in a cream-based sauce with kimchi and shrimp right on top. It’s rich, it’s flavorful, with just the right amount of spice. This dish holds a special place in my heart.
Double Spicy Roll ($10.95)
I’m a sushi girl–there is no denying it. I love it. I crave it. I want it all the time. And I will be the first to tell you there is something special about this roll. Want to know what it is? Listen close. Jalepeno.
You’ve got yellowtail, spicy mayo, and jalepenos wrapped in tuna and avocado. It’s like a rainbow roll, but spicy. I could eat this roll all day every day.
Omu Soba ($10.95)
Now this is an exciting thing to have on your table, probably because the Bonito flakes on top move as soon as the plate is in front of you. I am not lying–it’s like you have little flakes running around the omelette.
The surprise continues when you puncture the egg with your chopsticks and find sautéed Yakisoba noodles with pork and vegetables in the middle. It’s wrapped in the omelette with the flakes, aonori seaweed, mayo, and brown sauce. I had never tasted anything quite like it, and I felt like a whole new world had opened up to me.
It’s hard to go wrong at MEW. It’s cheap. It’s upbeat. It’s fun. Even if the date does not go too well, you’ll leave saying you had a good experience and are not too broke to regret it. If that doesn’t make for a good first-date spot, I don’t know what does.
Put a fork in it.