Parting curtains reveal a door to ancient Feudal Japan…and delicious Japanese Udon noodles. My brother tipped me off and showed me this restaurant: Samurai Mama, in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, has one of the coolest interiors in all of New York; a series of wooden and brick chambers that recall a scene from an inn in Feudal Tokyo. The main dining area features a long (long!) wooden table smack in the middle of the dining room. If you’ve really imaginative (or had a lot to drink) you might just be able to envision a row of samurais sitting here, sipping sake. I’ve read the term “real Japanese restaurant” in a lot of reviews, and I completely agree. And it’s not just the interior, but also the food…
We were here for udon. And udon I got. Specifically, Niku Tsukejil Udon: pork belly noodles soaked in a scallion soup. And my girlfriend: Tori Kara, which was a fried chicken of sorts meant to be sprayed with lemon juice. It wasn’t your traditional fried chicken and it was really tasty.
But back to the noodles, which Samurai Mama prides itself on. The aroma hit me before the plate landed on the table. In fact, I sat there just taking deep breathes of the broth for about a minute before diving in. The udon was chewy and fantastic. There are different styles: dipping and dump style. My noodles came on a separate plate from the broth, so I ended up sliding the noodles into the bowl to soak in the broth. See that big wooden spoon? That’s a fun way to eat your broth after you’ve scoffed down all your noodles.
The customer service was excellent. Our waitress was kind and warm, and my glass barely hit half empty before it was full again. There was a healthy group of people in the restaurant but no wait (a Wednesday night) and the service didn’t suffer at all. The prices aren’t bad. The noodles run for around $10 per person. Samurai Mama also sells sushi (5-7 dollars per roll) and other Japanese dishes. And if you’d like to try something different, order the Ume (only around a dollar), for a small portion of pickled plum. This thing is packed with flavor and the term “explosion in your mouth” is appropriate.
I had a great time at Samurai Mama and will definitely be back. If you love Japanese food, you have to try this place.
Customer Service: A
Price: B (Not bad, about $10 pp for noodles)
205 Grand St. Brooklyn NY (between Bedford and Driggs)