All you can eat Japanese
After locking my small suitcase at the Amtrak baggage service at Penn Station, I wandered to Little Korea from 7th Avenue due east. Whenever I return to a place where I've visited many times before, I always tend to retrace my footsteps. It's a familiar, comfortable feeling to go where I've been before.
Today was a perfect day to be outdoors with not a worry in the world. After my transatlantic flight into Newark Airport, I could hardly keep still. My only concern was to find a good restaurant for dinner with an old friend. The last time we met was the weekend before that fateful 9/11.
Next to Hangawi was a new Japanese restaurant - an all-you-can-eat buffet. What's special about it was the Kawaii grand piano in the lobby. It lured me to enquire who played it. "Sometimes our customers play it," came the reply.
This was good enough for me to choose this restaurant (named Minado?) for tonight's reunion. My friend arrived at 6:30 pm to my improvisation of some Chinese melodies.
The restaurant was very spacious for Manhattan. It had only opened three months earlier and hence still trying to find customers. The long buffet counter presented fresh sushi and sashimi all the way to yakitori and other cooked dishes. I was surprised that you could even order your own kind of nigiri and teriyaki!
Over Japanese green tea (not included in the dinner buffet price of $23.95), we dove into our colourful selections. How I wished I could be hungry forever, for there were so many varieties of Japanese food to try out. I drank crab soup like a beverage and ate the green seaweed salad like there was no tomorrow. Soon our stomachs were full, even before we learned that the giant prawns and lobsters were the specialties of the evening.
All the while, I thought of how my brother and father would enjoy such a feast. A las! There were only a few of these in the states of New York and New Jersey - and all clustered near Manhattan!
If my culinary wish has been granted in this all-you-can-eat Japanese, then surely it's not too much to ask for all-you-can-eat gourmet French food --- cordon bleu indeed!
10 September 2003 Wednesday