Udon Lab is an Udon bar and Izakaya that makes its udon from scratch and prepares each bowl fresh. They offer 11 hot udon dishes and 6 cold udon dishes, a selection of izakaya appetizers, some donburi dishes, a handful of sushi rolls and three styles of onigiri. My favorite appetizer was the Saba Miso-Ni, which is grilled Mackerel braised in a sweetened miso sauce and it is exceptional. The miso sauce was sweet, fishy (in a good way) and full of umami and had a silky texture – I asked for spoon so I could finish the sauce after I ate the Mackerel. The mentaiko onigiri was also delicious, salty pollock roe in perfectly cooked rice, wrapped in crispy seasoned seaweed.
The Dumplings: Unfortunately, while the menu describes the gyoza as being pork filled, they are actually filled with a mix of chicken and pork. Since I don’t eat chicken I can had to pass on trying the gyoza. Thankfully Udon Lab does really great Takoyaki, that had a crispy crunchy outer shell, a super creamy interior and big pieces of chewy octopus. The Takoyaki were served with lots of Japanese mayo, a pile of finely shredded bonito and lots of finely shredded seasoned seaweed. Each bite was a delicious mix of crispy and creamy textures and sweet and salty flavors.
The Location: Udon Lab is located in Manhattan’s Korea Town neighborhood, on the main drag of 32nd street between 5th and 6th Avenues. It is on the north side of the street closer to 6th than 5th Avenue.