With the name ‘Method’ in cursive script and its darkened doors, it is sort of easy to mistake this establishment as another trendy bar specializing in cocktails, but over the last few months, Method Japanese Kitchen & Sake Bar has been getting attention from discerning foodies. Resy’s description of the restaurant says that Yasuhiro Honma is the chef-owner, and if he is that Yasuhiro Honma, he hailed from Sakagura and EN Japanese Brasserie.
Atmosphere and design: Subdued lighting and minimalist in design, the restaurant has counter and table seating. The restaurant quickly filled up on the Friday evening I visited but the noise level did not result in a raspy voice by night’s end. The service was warm and courteous.
Menu: On its website, the restaurant describes itself as “a contemporary style of Izakaya restaurant influenced by [a] multi-cultural New York modernism approach to authentic Japanese cuisine.” One will find surprising pairings across the specials and standard menus like chicken liver pate with mochi waffles; daikon salad with bonito flakes and bacon-onion dressing; prosciutto-pressed sushi; and tempura options like brussels sprouts and shishamo (smelt). I focused on the food but the wine and sake menus were extensive.
Dishes: I started off with a glass of sake and oil-pickled oysters. This dish was completely unique (or at least to me). I could not tell what the chef had done to the oysters beyond the title of the dish but umami was maximized through flavor and texture. What I believe was dashi and the incredibly silkiness of the oysters from the pickling creates a richness savored with each bite.
Agedashi eggplant with namafu in dashi broth was topped with bonito flakes and was exactly the comforting dish I needed on a brisk cold evening. The eggplant and namafu (wheat gluten) were soft but had body. The chef is a real dashi master as the broth was bursting with umami and did not enter that ‘danger danger Will Robinson’ overly salty territory.
Tempura: You always see shrimp on a tempura list; I had never seen shishamo. Served with flaky salt, and a dipping sauce with lots of grated daikon, the shishamo were flavorful with a light crunch from the batter.
Steamed black cod with scallions and ginger was ‘eclectic-ized’ with enoki mushrooms. The dish was tasty and any black cod lover would be supremely satisfied.
I had been craving noodles all week so ordered chicken ramen with scallions and sliced lemon. The noodles had the right ‘koshi’ or al dente-ness and the broth was bright. It was a nice ending to the meal.
Overall I am looking forward to returning and trying more of the menu. Every dish using dashi was so flavorful so I would probably focus on those items. Usually, descriptions like ‘eclectic’ and ‘multicultural’ scare me off, but the chef’s mixing and matching of non-traditional flavors and textures showed off his sophisticated palette. I’m game to try more.
Method Japanese Kitchen & Sake Bar, 746 10th Ave, New York, NY 10019