New York does an admirable job of covering its culinary bases, offering a range of specialties from Hawaiian spam musubi, to the cornmeal porridge of Moldova (which has lone representation with a restaurant in Midwood).
Alex Vadukul of the New York Times reports that the closure of the Japanese canteen Saburi in Kips Bay, however, means the disappearance of the only restaurant serving a hyper-regional form of Japanese cuisine known as wafu chuka.
The term roughly translates to Japanese-style Chinese food, which tempers the flavor profile of traditional Chinese food by “using fewer spices and oils and adding fresh Japanese ingredients.” According to the article, wafu chuka flourished during the 1900s during a fertile period of international trade.
Co-owner Mika Saburi speaks to its special appeal for Japanese living in the city:
The Chinese strain is not only apparent in dishes like kani tami (Chinese-style omelets), but also reflected in the short dresses that bartenders wear and shadow puppets framed on the interior walls. (Not to mention co-owner Jun Cui’s training under “Iron Chef Chinese” master, Chen Kenichi.)
For foodhounds looking to taste a fading relic of NYC’s gastronomical mosaic, head to the restaurant before Saburi officially closes its doors on Thursday.