We were set to eat at a Pizza place in Hell's Kitchen when, on our way, we stumbled upon Yonekichi, a tiny restaurant that opened last November, which serves rice burgers. I admit that I would have never noticed this place if it was not from the sign outside.
It is a casual place with few seats, opened on the busy kitchen and with a bunch of paper cranes hanging around. You order at the counter and few minutes later, they will bring your order (or part of it) to your table. I was excited as I heard about rice burgers but never tried any. A rice burger is basically a burger where rice cakes replace the buns. But, at Yonekichi, they do not propose classic combinations, rather asian variations, the rice burgers coming from East Asia. We went for some combo:
Drink and burger for Jodi: she chose the iced maple matcha tea (that I did not like)
And the Tofu Ganmo, a rice burger made with a tofu, onion, kale and carrot tempura, shiso and akoh salt. I found it fairly good, although slightly on the bland side.
On my side, I went for the burger and fries combo. The fries, called "furi furi" were covered with a delicious wasabi salt, that had a nice kick. They had a thick cut (they were potato wedges) and were a bit too soft for my taste (I like fries crispy).
For the burger, I first was thinking about chicken as I was supposed to get a burger for dinner, but, when I saw that it was a meatball patty, I passed. I finally chose the Sukiyaki beef that was composed of a thinly sliced beef, onion, lettuce, and togarashi (chili pepper) threads. I liked it, the beef being tender and tasty, but, overall, it was slightly on the bland side, the rice cakes overpowering the burger. I wish they had put some more sauce in it.
Both burgers were small and I was still hungry. So, I ordered an original tastuta that is a fried chicken skewer. It was pretty good, crispy, the chicken being perfectly cooked and moist.
It was overall an interesting meal and although it was slightly bland, I liked it but not to the point to crave it like I would a burger, seeing it more as an original item. I thought that it was a bit pricey for the quantity you get and cannot say for sure that the price was justified by the quality of the ingredients. For me, Yonekichi is the kind of place to go to to surprise people who never had rice burgers or if you are eating gluten free. Going back there otherwise? I do not think so...
Enjoy (I did)!
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Yonekichi - 238A E 9th St, New York, NY 10003