By Dane Feldman

Photo by Dane Feldman.

HanaMichi is a Japanese restaurant based in the heart of Koreatown. It’s easy to miss, located on West 32nd Street between Broadway and 5th Avenue and surrounded by Korean restaurants. Because of that, this restaurant is something of a secret gem, but those who know about its existence are in for an experience.

The food
I was with two friends when I happened upon HanaMichi. We were heading for a different Japanese place in Koreatown, but the address took us to nothing. We started looking around for something similar and found a sign outside of HanaMichi advertising sushi and went promptly inside.

Once seated, however, we noticed that almost every other patron in the place was eating udon or ramen, not sushi. So, we asked our waitress and she suggested we order udon. It’s HanaMichi’s most successful dish.

With that decision made for me, I went for the fried shrimp udon. This dish was hands down the best udon I have tasted anywhere. It’s jam-packed with fresh vegetables (including enoki mushrooms, which are my favorite kind of mushrooms), spices, noodles, and broth.

The drinks
HanaMichi serves wine, beer, sake, soft drinks, and even Korean liquor. The restaurant also offers a buy one bottle of beer, get one free happy hour special every day from 3pm to 6pm.

The service/ambience
Originally, my two friends and I were expecting to dine with two more friends. However, when we stepped inside HanaMichi and said we were hoping for a table for five people, we were told there were no tables for five.

When I looked around, I realized how tightly packed the small restaurant was. Most of the tables were separated by hanging tapestries, but other than that were about as close as could possibly be.

The service, however, is absolutely terrific here. It was obvious that we’d not been to HanaMichi before and our waitress was quite attentive. She helped us look over the menu and made suggestions. The food comes out quickly, but we didn’t feel rushed. Next time I’m in the area, I’m making a beeline for this place.