Last weekend we were invited to dinner at the brand new hotspot in the Flatiron District Roki Le Izakaya. A modern take on a traditional Japanese restaurant that fuses typical fare like sushi and sashimi with a Ramen menu and tapas dishes meant to be shared. Using the freshest ingredients the dishes are created with a healthy flair.
Owned and operated by Keiko Ono Aoki and Executive Chef Koji Hagihara. Keiko is the wife of the late Rocky Aoki, owner and founder of the world famous Benihana chain.
The decor is modern and sleek, yet casual with murals and a communal table along with traditional banquettes and a seating area by the bar if you choose to watch the chef at work.
Our tasting menu consisted of Kanpachi Carpacchio, our favorite! Amberjack fish with onion, radish sprouts, wasabi, garlic and ponzu sauce. We then moved on to the Japanese canapés. The menu offers 9 options so we choose the Kani (snow crab & avocado), Amaebi (sweet shrimp) & the Ahi Poke (Tuna). They are served over crispy sushi rice which adds great texture to the dish. The Spicy shrimp tempura roll was crunchy and delicious served with spicy mayo.
Now it was time to try some hot appetizers. We went for the ROKI Shrimp steamed Gyoza. Tender shrimp, pork belly, water chestnut and bamboo wrapped in a gyoza wrapper. My companions favorite dish was the Wagyu shortribs. The meat was cooked just right served with seasonal vegetables.
Ramen is one of the most popular dishes at the brasserie. The ROKI ROKI Ramen Nabe is a hotpot for 2, although it’s enormous and can be shared amongst a larger party. The choices are seafood, original dan dan ramen, the most popular, and the beef & vegetable ramen. Individual ramen choices are the classic chashu shoyu( sliced pork belly, veggies in a soy sauce broth), chashu tonkutso premium ramen(chicken & pork broth, pork belly, sliced pork & veggies), and organic vegetable ramen(soy milk broth, miso, seasonal vegetables, kale noodles & seaweed).
For dessert we highly recommend the Earl Grey Creme Brûlée. Perfectly fluffy with a hint of Earl Grey and not too sweet.
As of last week ROKI is still working on a liquor license so guests are welcomed and encouraged to BYOB.
Beginning March 14th Roki Le Izakaya will be open for lunch with a special lunch menu served Mon- Fri noon till 2:30.
ROKI Le Izakaya 12 west 21st. New York, NY 10010 (646) 383- 7654 website: rokieleizakaya.com