I recently discovered that one of my favorite restaurants in Williamsburg, Samarai Mama, has a sister restaurant (or, spousal, I suppose) called Samarai Papa, located not too far away, in Bushwick. Everything I’ve tried at Samurai Mama has been special; perfectly seasoned and portioned morsels of heavenly goodness on a plate. Needless to say, I was more than a little excited to see what this new spot might have up its sleeve.
The original restaurant specializes in Udon Noodles, those thick, chewy, white wheat, slurp-worthy orbs. Samurai Papa, on the other hand, has an array of Ramen. Both have sushi and appetizer items as well. The menu also features “Sushi Shots,” served in glasses (a counterpoint to Samurai Mama’s signature “Sushi Tacos.”)
For an appetizer, we tried the Tsukemono, homemade Japanese pickles. I love starting dinner with these little palate cleansers, which are crisp and flavorful, perfect to wet your appetite before a meal.
My friend ordered the Shoya Ramen; the stock of which was chicken, bonito, mussel, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, scallion; and it was topped with: sliced pork, soy sauce, egg, kikurage mushroom, mixed vegetables and nori seaweed.
The flavors were pronounced, yet also mild. Unusual for Ramen, which often smacks you in the face with its salty goodness. These days a Ramen has to be pretty extraordinary for me to write home about. This was satisfying, but not worth the trip if you’re looking to have your mind blown.
We also got the Chirashi bowl, which is a fisherman’s assortment of raw fish over rice. This one was salmon and salmon roe, shrimp, tuna, and yellowtail. The fish was cut up, tartar style. Though everything was fresh and tasty, that preparation is not my personal favorite, as I would have preferred slices of raw fish, sashimi style.
If Samarai Mama is the accommodating, multi-tasking Mother, Samarai Papa is the supportive, though perhaps partially under-achieving, Father. Let’s just say Mom packs the lunch, cleans the house, handles finances, brings home the bacon and cooks it up for dinner. While Dad helps clean the dishes, cracks cute jokes, and takes the kids shopping for socks. Both contribute to creating a happy family, but perhaps one does it just a little bit better.