Since the recent re-opening of Panya in the East Village, I've been cutting down my trips to Cafe Zaiya and replacing them with trips to Panya.
With all that the new Panya has to offer, its neighbor has some serious competition to face. Panya not only covers the general gist of everything Cafe Zaiya offers, it steps it up a notch with hot breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes prepared to order. Solid food, awesome prices.
The lunch menu offers katsu, udon, and sandwiches. My choosing for the day was the fried salmon sandwich ($6.50). The bun: plush in that "Asian" bread style, with a sprinkle of herbs on top. Make sure to ask them to hold back on the tartar sauce—I've had this sandwich a few times and they always pour on the tartar excessively. Lettuce, tomatoes, a thin battered and fried salmon fillet, and cucumber. Portions and ratios were just right, but I couldn't help but taste something extremely bitter every few bites. I disassembled my sandwich, and found the culprit: thin slices of lemon, rind and skin included.
Red bean doughnuts and Japanese breakfasts, after the jump.
Complete your lunch with a plump, sugar rolled, and red bean paste stuffed An Donut ($2.25)...
...and a cup of hot Thai Tea ($2.25). Also on the drink menu: yuzu tea, barley tea, and coffee (though I would recommend staying far from the poorly done coffee).
If you can make it before 11:00 am, take advantage of their American Breakfast, smartly priced at $3.75. The meal comes with two eggs prepared as you please, a choice of breakfast meats (sausage, ham, and bacon), and croissant or toast. To accompany, a side of home fries and a salad. Satisfying, one of the best breakfast deals in the neighborhood.
A Japanese breakfast set ($8.95), is also available—rice, miso soup, nori, the broiled fish of the day (usually salmon), and a trio of small dishes: salad with a light vinagrette, hijiki and carrots, and sliced daikon with bonito flakes. And of course, the star of the show...
...natto, with a raw quail egg. Crack, pour, mix and you've truly got a complete meal.
10 Stuyvesant Street, New York NY 10003 map)