All I have to say about Nonono is: yesyesyes. I offhandedly made a reservation when my father came to visit, and subsequently, we found our new favorite New York restaurant. The yakitori restaurant focuses on traditional Japanese grilling techniques and boasts fresh ingredients and a large menu of affordable delicacies. The kitchen receives whole chickens each morning, and breaks apart the chicken into skewers of thigh, wings, skin, heart, liver, knee cartilage, and more. The leftover chicken bones are then thrown into simmering ramen broth.
We sat amongst eager diners on a Tuesday night, and every single dish we ordered was noteworthy. Beginning with the vegetable carpaccio—pickled lotus root, radish, and cherry tomato garnished with micro cilantro, sesame vinaigrette, and a light sprinkling of chili pepper. Raw, refreshing, and crisp. Then, the famous skewers. One skirt steak and one chicken thigh. The juicy, melt-in-your-mouth skirt steak cubes are layered with charred shishito peppers, some surprisingly spicy and some sweet and mildly grassy. The kinoko cream chicken thigh skewer comes engulfed in a creamy truffle sauce, dotted with small chunks of nutty mushroom. As soon as I took one bite of the skewer, I spiraled into a creamy, truffle tornado paradise.
I could hardly wait for the next dish. Ikayaki--super thin slices of grilled squid with a warm lemon butter sauce. You’ll hardly need a knife, as the blade effortlessly cuts through the tender squid and hits the plate with the ever so slight drop of your pointer finger. And that sauce...nutty, buttery, and addictive. I could drink a gallon of it. Next—shio paitan, a salt-based milky chicken broth topped with thick, al dente ramen noodles, chicken, and crunchy bits of pork. The rich broth is laced with notes of clam, shrimp, and miso, and is delightfully thick and fatty. If you share the ramen amongst the table, get ready for a messy battle when it comes to pouring the broth into equal parts.
The final dish for me was tenmusu, a traditional Japanese dish consisting of a nori-wrapped rice ball--in this case, more like a log—filled with deep-fried tempura shrimp. The crispy, light-as-a-feather tempura shrimp is wrapped snugly with slices of onion, pickled radish, and creamy chipotle mayo into one long seaweed-wrapped, spicy hug. Take one bite and watch tempura flakes go flying and velvety mayo ooze out of the ends.
I haven’t stopped thinking about this meal for a week, and I knowknowknow I’ll be back very soon.