Dojo Izakaya Converts to Sushi Dojo NYC Noodle House

Posted By Brie Austin In Category: Business , Interviews , Travel

I’ve eaten at the highly acclaimed Sushi Dojo NYC (on 1st Ave in the East Village) before, as well as their sister restaurant Dojo Izakaya, Recently they converted that to the Sushi Dojo NYC Noodle House. So I stopped in to find out why.

I stopped in at 38 Ave. B (off the corner of 3rd St), a neighborhood in the East Village known as Alphabet City, to visit the new Sushi Dojo NYC Noodle House — which is focused on Japanese noodles and broth.

They also serve beers and sake.

The owner, who I’ve known for some time, happened to be there so I wanted to get more insight to the restaurant change over. And, I wanted to meet the chef.

Here are some excerpts of that conversation:

Sushi Dojo NYC Noodle HouseI liked the menu of Izakaya, so why the change?

We went to great lengths to serve up excellent cooked Japanese food with Izakaya, as a counter point to our top rate Sushi bar Sushi Dojo NYC. I think we succeeded on that score — we had very good reviews. But the menu, the space size, and the location wasn’t the right match.

So I had to look at the situation and see how to improve those elements.

First, because of the tiny space we needed a simpler menu. At that moment I was lucky to find chef Etsuo, who specializes in noodles and broth. It made sense that a bowl of ramen or udon with noodles and broth might work well here. The early indications have been encouraging.

What does that mean, ‘encouraging’ ? (I asked with a chuckle)

I’m a realist, not a promoter. I’m not going to sit here and tell you how great it is. While we strive to serve up the best food we can, it comes down to the consumers. So far people have been giving us the thumbs up. That along with our online delivery tracking upward, like I said, it’s been encouraging thus far 🙂

Dojo Izakaya Converts to Sushi Dojo NYC Noodle House

Japanese noodlesHave you made any other changes to the space or the business?

Yes, previously Izakaya had installed a sushi bar, which greatly cluttered the already small space. So first thing I did was to remove that, providing as much customer space as possible. I also cut the music to make it more relaxing and intimate. A place people could have a low-key conversation.

I also looked for operational areas where I could improve.  By combining and sharing resources with Sushi Dojo NYC, we created a more efficient online menu and delivery service. That has helped our bottom line in both locations, and deliveries on average are up.

Restaurants come and go quickly in NYC, what is your expectations for the noodle house?

When I launched Sushi Dojo NYC we did a big PR campaign (through Incognito Worldwide) , and were received so well by the press — the NY Times, Zagat, Village Voice, an many other leading publications, that we quickly gained a reputation for quality.

Consistent quality is why we still have advanced reservations.  With Sushi Dojo NYC Noodle House we have limited seating, so we’re looking to grow that following slower and more organically with locals.   Our real test will be in the weeks to come — as the weather gets cooler — when broth is more enticing. And we’ll have to see how the food critics and foodie bloggers like it.  I’m confident that they’ll be impressed with what chef Etsuo turns out.

I am really enjoying this ramen. But I don’t actually know how udon and other noodles and raman differ. Should I?

If it tastes good and you like it, no more effort is required. But if you’re inquisitive you can ask chef Etsuo and he’ll explain it to you. I’ve long been a connoisseur of Japanese cuisine. I love sushi, veggies, meats and fishes. But udon and noodles is a staple for me, personally.

If you’re a food critic or foodie influencer with a large following, and would like to arrange a food tasting, please contact marketing@inwwc.com to set up a time and day for you.  

 

 

 

 

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About Brie Austin

Co-author of I'd Do It Again, he is a columnist/reporter for a variety of magazines in the areas of music, lifestyle, nightlife, travel and business. He also writes business documents and creates copy for websites.

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