The Best Japanese Street Food in New York
New York City should be known as the street food capital of the world—and if you want the best Japanese street food (and sushi), you should definitely head out to this Manhattan restaurant.
For many of us, who don’t have the opportunity to enjoy homemade food everyday, we sometimes miss the days of the “automat” where you stuck a nickel or two into a slot and retrieved your food from behind a glass door.
I often dream of those hundreds of doors, with small glass panes, serving a variety of hot and cold items, like desserts and pastries. (You can check out a little bit of their history here: https://hornandhardartcoffee.com/history-horn-hardart/)
I like to imagine carousel restaurants as one of their fun descendants—especially ones dedicated to street food.
I’ve seen several of these types of restaurants and they are more common in Japan, but it wasn’t until recently that I had a chance to sit down and sample some of the goodies for myself and get more familiar with the concept.
Yo! Sushi pitches itself as serving Japanese street food and sushi.
The concept is fairly simple. The plates are all color coded and the corresponding pricing for each color is listed on the menu.
The actual, prepared menu items rotate around a very long two way carousel and you simply remove what looks good and enjoy it.
It’s the closest thing to The Jetsons that I’ve ever experienced. It really adds a fun element to eating and sharing.
In addition to the carousel items, the waitstaff will take your order for hot items and desserts.
On two recent visits I tried 5 different menu items.
Our booth happened to be just on the other side of the chef’s station, so I had an opportunity to watch him craft this masterpiece with care.
Personally, I think this is plenty of food to even share with one other person, and could easily be the main course for any visit.
Katsu Sando is basically a fried chicken sandwich. The chicken was moist and perfectly seasoned, with just a hint of sweetness to the breading on the chicken. A little bit messy but very filling and tasty.
Miso Chicken Bao
Similarly, I could probably get away with just having this, and maybe one of the carousel side dishes.
This is a nice chunk of fried chicken with some kimchi (Korean spicy fermented cabbage) on a soft bun.
Chicken Tsukune is grilled minced chicken with a teriyaki glaze. These were not my favorite and were really more like chicken nuggets from a fast food place.
Not really worth it, and the prep time seemed inordinately long. Being on the higher priced side of the menu at $6, the value just wasn’t there for me.
These babies are supposedly exclusive to 2 locations in the Yo! street food franchise.
Coated in spicy Korean gochujang sauce, these really did the job in filling me up.
The diced scallions on the top really bring the flavor alive. A bit messy, but nothing a few extra napkins can’t resolve.
They definitely saved the best for last, and I’d have no problem ordering two of these beautiful creations. If you want to end your street food ‘tour’ on a good note, this will do the trick.
The ice cream was really fresh but super cold, to where it held its form even after sitting on the table for a while.
The dusting of pistachio nuts on top really brings the flavor together with the bun, which is more like a soft but firm cookie.
A slight drizzle of miso caramel puts this over the top. The shell has a slight hint of vanilla flavor along with what tasted like some faint peanut oil. Worth every bite.
Some of the best Japanese street food in Brooklyn
Between the menu items and the carousel, there should be something here that pleases most people whether you love street food or not. It’s a really fun concept and fun to share with a small group.
Yo! Makes street food fun.