Nigori Sake ($6)

You’d be surprised how many places  actually close on a Thursday night in New York City before midnight. Sabrina and I wanted to grab some tapas, but the only places that were open were ‘inoteca and Bar Jamon, both of which are unfit for a random late night spur of the moment urge. So, I made the hike uptown to a Sake Bar near Times Square, which is actually open until 3am, every night. Huzzah!

We got there around 11:40pm and it was still full. Everyone there was Japanese (perhaps an indication of the authenticity of the place?) We waited around 10 minutes for a table, gossiping about work and whatnot. We got seated at this great 4 seat table which had 4 giant bulbs shining down upon us. It’s any food photographer’s dream! But then we got moved to another table that had less lighting. Sigh.

Duck and Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Skewers ($3.50 & $3.00)

Hagi is ridiculously cheap for both food and drinks (at least given the location). We got some Japanese styled BBQ in the form of duck and pork. All of the flavor from the duck comes from the fat, so don’t skimp out. It’s worth the clogged artery.

And the bacon wrapped asparagus? I think I need to start making those at home. We ordered a bottle of the Nigori sake, which tasted a bit like fermented rice wine that we call “jiu niang” in Chinese. It’s cloudy white and has 15% alcohol. All for $6. Of course, I ended up spilling some. Typical me. We both ended up getting about 2.5 shots out of it.

Wasabi Dumplings ($4.00)

These are out of the world. If you’re like me, you take a huge wab of wasabi and mix it into a minute amount of soy sauce when eating sushi. I love it when that wasabi flavor gets exhaled through your nose. These dumplings were awesome. Each bite that I had went through my nose. I don’t know how they make it, but perhaps the wasabi is integrated into the minced pork? You definitely need to try these for the experience.

Yaki-Udon with Chicken and Vegetables ($9.50)

I’m so glad we got this. We opted for the spicy sauce and I loved the Japanese mayo on the chicken. It’s one of those dishes that reminds you of your mother’s home cooked cabbage. My only complaint was that there was too much chicken and not enough udon. Either way, super cheap!

Finally, we get a server who can take photographs and what does Sabrina do?! She blinks! Unacceptable. But I felt like I was in Japan in this picture.

The total came out to around $21 each including tip! Our meals, brunches and dinners, usually end up being $35 per person. I think we might make this our traditional late night spot…

Somehow, we ended up chatting until 2:30am. By the time we left, most of the diners had emptied out.

And outside, Times Square was so empty and devoid of people. Still tons of cabs through!

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