DokoDemo

When I first heard about this restaurant opening up in NYC this Summer, I was very excited. But, didn’t really make my way over there until now. Even though I was very curious, I didn’t feel any immediate need or desire to check out their simple teppanyaki-style food, and also, I heard some say that the price is a bit high. But, we finally got to go check them out ourselves!

It was rather easy to spot them, with a big lantern with their logo lighting up the street. I like the simplicity of it, and really making the point of them being Japanese restaurant. This restaurant is actually a Japanese chain restaurant, and they have more than 90 locations (yes, that is ninety!!!) throughout Japan. This is their first location outside of Japan.

When we walked in, it was maybe less than half full. But, it got pretty busy very fast. They have high tables with bar stool chairs, and counter seating along the walls. All in all, about 22 seats total. Small but cozy and warm atmosphere.

To the left of the entrance is their kitchen. It is fun to see them cook up your food right in front of you. The ordering counter is all the way at the end. They are very efficient, so even if the line if forming, they are fast at taking orders.

They have three large grills side by side, each specializing in different item: Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki, and Yakisoba. They also have some side dishes like matcha potato chips and Japanese cucumber salad. Each station is maned by one staff, and they cook everything to order. So, it might not be a fast-food place, but you get a piping hot food, straight off the grill.

I watched them work while waiting to order our food. They are all very skilled at what they do at each station. I think the most fun thing make out of three main items is Takoyaki. It requires some practice but not so hard to make. Takoyaki is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a flour-based batter with diced octopus in the middle. It can contain other ingredients like tempura scraps, cabbage, green onion, etc..

Okonomiyaki takes a bit longer to make than Takoyaki, because it is bigger, and also usually contains meat. Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory pancake, and it can contain bacon, cabbage, egg, etc.. The name Okonomiyaki literary means “grill the way (and with what) you like.” So, the ingredients can be whatever you want, which is fun too.

I didn’t get a shot at the guy making yakisoba, but he was working hard too! This is a self-service spot, so you order at the counter, and then you go pick the food up when they are ready. All the utensils, paper napkins and condiments are places near the entrance.

In order to get the best experience out of this visit, we ordered one of each main dish: Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki, and Yakisoba. For takoyaki, we ordered Four Takoyaki Balls ($5.75). When you thing of street food, that might be really pricey. You can get twice as much at the same price point, or even less value in Japan. But now, this is NYC, and they don’t do low-quality, super-fast street food at this place.

They certainly looked really good, beautifully grilled with love and care. And the size of each ball was decent. Now, the taste test. And yes, it was a winner! It was really good, tasty, flavorful and cooked just right. Crispy exterior with super juicy, moist, soft inside. Really nice flavor, with high-quality ingredients. I was actually surprise with how good they were!

For yakisoba, there are few options with ingredients. It can be made with meat, seafood, or vegetarian. I chose Pork Yakisoba ($9.95). Again, the price is rather high… I don’t think I ever paid closed to $10 for yakisoba… But the quantity we received was pretty good, and it looked great.

It didn’t look anything like street food, rather, elevated to the next level. The noodle was nice and thick, much thicker than traditional, regular yakisoba. It had great texture, each noodle was cuddled by sweet tangy sauce. The cabbage was very fresh and crunchy, and pork was pretty good too. Even though I still think it is pricey, but it was a good dish.

The last one up was okonomiyaki, since it takes the longest time to cook. They had few options for different “toppings” like pork and shrimp. I chose Mochi Okonomiyaki ($9.50). If you want more than one topping, it will cost you extra $2 each. They were cut in half, I assume so that it can fit in the rectangular paper “plate.” It was nice and thick, good portion, had weight to it.

It was very good, flavorful and well seasoned. It was the perfect comfort food. The only thing was that I was expecting a large mochi pieces in it, hot and melty, almost like mozzarella cheese. But, the mochi were small cube pieces… So, it didn’t give me the effect that I wanted. Regardless, it was filling and satisfying.

They have a bathroom near the entrance. The retro-style sign was fun, but do you notice the “M” at the end is upside-down? I wonder if that was intentional…maybe a playful spirit made that sign?

There is only one uni-sex bathroom, so there might be line during a busy hours. Inside was clean and well lit. Simple design with only the items you need in there, so it doesn’t feel cluttered in small space. The toilet is placed on the left side rather than in the center for a reason.

the ceiling comes down by a lot on the right side. So, you can’t really stand straight on that side. Be careful in there so that you won’t hit you head!

It was a fun visit to DokoDemo. We enjoyed all the food here, much better quality than expected. The staffs were really nice, and they were all Japanese, which is excellent! They welcomed us with a big smile and enthusiasm, and welcomed any and all comments about the food. Again, the price point is high, but the quality of the food both in ingredients and flavor are high too. I am sure we will be back for more in a near future… I heard they are planning to expand into other areas in NYC, that is a great news too! If you want some Japanese teppanyaki comfort food, give this place a try!

DokoDemo – 89 E 4th St, New York, NY 10003

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