The storefront of Sunrise Mart on Broome Street is quiet most times, but come during lunch hours and you're guaranteed to find crowds—individuals from nearby tech offices and those from the fashion industry. Make your way to the back left of the store; that's where you'll find ramen and udon made to order, between $7-9 for a small serving. We prefer the salt-based noodle broths to the curry-based ones. Those itching for a more filling meal should go for various dons (rice bowls) which include a surprisingly good chicken katsu don, okayo don and shrimp tempura don. Order in the back, pay in the front, then go back with the receipt to pick up your food. This makes for a somewhat chaotic process, especially during prime hours in such a tight space.
But it's worth the hassle if you find a fresh batch of French Fries ($3.50). They're kept in a warmer and you should judge how fresh they are by how many cups are left. (My personal rule of thumb is to never pick the fries if there are less than five cups present on the warmer.) When hot, the thick-cut numbers are crisp on the outside and fluffy soft on the inside, speckled with a little salt and tons of pepper. At the register they'll ask you whether you'd like wasabi or chili mayo. Go with the wasabi, only mildly spicy and actually more sweet due to the use of kewpie mayo. Ketchup is certainly not an option here.
Sandwiches and sushi rolls ($4-$12) are kept in the refrigerated section, but much of this is lackluster, especially when compared to the likes of Cafe Zaiya and Ennju. Stick with the hot foods and dishes made to order and you'll be surprise by what a solid meal you can get in the $10 range. Don't forget to pick up gummies and marshmallows on your way out—no visit to Sunrise is complete with some fun Japanese sweets!
4 Stuyvesant Street, New York NY 10003 (map)
About the author: Originally from Honolulu, Kathy YL Chan writes A Passion For Food, where she chronicles her eats and travels adventures between Hawai'i, New York and beyond. She firmly believes that there is always room for dessert.