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Beyond the sliding wooden gate, tucked away in the heart of Soho, on a quiet but hip and trendy corner of
Prince and Thompson streets, is Omen, an authentic Kyoto-style Japanese restaurant that even the most
highly trained Samurai's and Buddhist's would appreciate. Omen has been here as long as I can remember.
I know this as this corner is also the site of Milady's, a bar/restaurant that was my stomping ground for many
years. It is a very eclectic part of Soho, a place where I often met with friends or was the final destination of
a romantic excursion. Next door to Milady's is Linda, the British hat lady who designs the most fabulous
looking creations; even the mad hatter would take notice. There is also the tiny coffee shop, a neighbor that
has retained the funky, artsy feeling of the neighborhood.
Upon entering Omen, we were greeted by Mariko, a beautiful, petite Japanese woman would couldn't have
been more gracious. Mariko took us through many exotic to us, yet authentically Kyoto-style dishes and
spices that my guests and I were excited to be trying for the first time. Mikio and Mariko, the brother and
sister team of this family run restaurant, with several locations in Japan as well, have captured the spirit of
Kyoto in this intimate, tasteful and atmospheric setting. The decor, a mix of modernity and tradition,
perfectly complemented Omen's sophisticated and savory delicacies. Above our heads were abstract,
ghost-like "zucchini blossom-shaped" light fixtures that hung from the black painted ceiling. Adjacent to the
lamps, Omen's open kitchen was filled with ceramic bowls stacked on rustic wood and bamboo shelves.
As contrast to the hundreds of Japanese sushi restaurants scattered across Manhattan, Omen's
Kyoto-style cuisine opens your eyes, and tastebuds, to a delicious and completely unique
Japanese food experience.
Please enjoy the original photographs by Perrine Roux.
We started with the season special, "four appetizers of the season" ($21): abalone and white
turnip with wasabi-miso, duck and tokyo leek with green three spices, pumpkin, satsuma taro
with red azuki beans and gingko nuts with king trumpet mushroom. With each course, we sipped
warm sake from traditional, square wooden cups.
The avocado and arugula salad with cucumber, red radish and yuba mixed in a sesame
dressing ($10) came out next along with the tasty filet mignon tataki, filet mignon sliced rare
with spicy kizu citrus sauce ($15.50). The black codfish grilled and marinated in miso ($28.50)
was scrumptious, as was the broiled organic chicken with azen spicy garlic miso, mizuna, white
turnip and king trumpet mushroom ($28). Every one of these exquisite dishes reminded me of
some kind of art that I might have seen in a gallery or movie, but I definitely have never tasted
anything like this. They were strange, beautiful and delicious-- just the way I try to live my life :).
We finished off with the mushrooms, vegetables and yuba cooked Kyoto style ($23) and Omen's
homemade udon noodles in traditional style served with vegetables, seaweed, sesame seed
and Japanese broth ($18), and 18 grain, "ancient style" rice ($7). Each dish was presented with
with the utmost skill and excellence one would expect from any five star restaurant in New York,
with prices that are affordable and an experience that is priceless.
|Omen Japanese Cuisine
113 Thompson Street
Off The corner of Prince