At long last, after problems with a Con Ed gas line put then out of commission for six months, Yakitori Sun Chan is back! There has been much rejoicing at Dumpling Hunter.
The Con Ed issues shut down several businesses on the block, but most places were able to re-open within a week or two, it not clear why Sun Chan was shut for so long. But no matter, the best izakaya on the West Side is back (see my original review here) and it is packed with happy locals getting their izakaya fix. To help come back after their struggles, Sun Chan is asking that customers pay cash so that credit card fees can be avoided and they can keep the profits in the business.
Sun Chan serves a great Kimchi Buta (stir fried kimchi, scallions and pork belly), really good grilled rice balls stuffed with cod roe and some excellent meat skewers; the duck, the salmon with scallion and the pork belly are my favorite skewers. On the dumpling front, they serve Pork Gyoza, Vegetable Gyoza, Shrimp Shumai, Wasabi Shumai and Takoyaki. For this outing I reintroduced myself to some of my favorite dishes and tried the vegetable gyoza.
The dark green gyoza the waitress brought to the table looked a lot like the frozen veggie gyoza than I see on the kitchen appetizer section of a lot of Japanese sushi restaurants. But I think these were different than the ones I have had elsewhere, they were less of dark forest green and had more tofu and cabbage than the usual ones I see around town. The dumplings were fried crispy golden brown and crunchy on the bottom and the tops were soft and supple from the steaming. I quite enjoyed these dumplings.
My dining companion ordered the shrimp shu mai. I did not try these; after a bit of pork dumpling eating streak over the past few weeks I was trying to keep it vegetarian. But they they looked good though and he reported that they were tasty.
Sun Chan is on Broadway between 103rd and 104th streets in Manhattan’s Upper West Side neighborhood. My guess is that it is the northern-most Izakaya in Manhattan – uptown yakitori, Japanese bar snacks, shoju and sushi.