Shalom Japan- No, really

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  • scene: JAPS, JAPS, and hipsters...
  • sip: Sake (thank goodness there is no Maneschevitz wine)
  • savor: lox bowl; matzoh ball ramen soup
  • sit: With your Jewish Asian friends; with anyone who is up to try something a little different; with another couple if they like to share, naughty naughty...
  • spend: $$
  • address: 310 South Fourth Street
  • phone number: (718) 388-4012
  • website:

Disclaimer: We are Jewish, and have Asian family, so we can make all the self-deprecating stereotype jokes we want…

This a scenario ripe with JAP jokes- Jewish food meets Japanese food. In Brooklyn.  This concept  would seem too gimmicky, except for a few simple facts: The food is delicious, and the place was packed to the beams. Sister will tell you that I was initially reluctant to try this joint, it just sounded too silly for me, but after some encouragement in the form of “matzoh ball ramen soup”, and obsessive creeping of the menu, I was getting off the M train at Marcy Avenue and heading to this J and J hybrid.  (A note about the Marcy Avenue station- its pretty close to teh restaurant, but not what I would call a scenic walk; Uber or taxi home, we were able to hail a cab pretty easily.) Shalom Japan is a bright wooden box of a place, not very big but  it has more seats than it appears. There is a full bar against one wall, and a large chalkboard that lists the night’s menu.  The story is this: Jewish dude married Asian girl, and they came up with this hybrid, tweaked, twisted and unique menu. They don’t take it too seriously as far as overly complicating the mixing of the two cultures, but instead have a little fun making creative hybrid dishes that taste good.  People kept piling into this place all night- it was actually most quiet when we got there at 730, and the crowd was a real mix- neighbrohood people who had been there before, Jews from Manhattan making the trek to see what it is all about, and hipster BK types out to pontificate on on the shared traits  of Jews and Japanese people and drink pale ales. Life is simple people, we are all all about the food…

Shalom Japan NYC
Challah at your boy
Shalom Japan restaurant
Suzuki…more than a car, apparently

We knew that we wanted the matzoh ball ramen and the lox bowl (rice, nori, avocado), and after ordering some yummy sake, we decided on the following course of action: sake kasu challah, suzuki sashimi, the Jew egg, two bowls of ramen and the lox bowl (the ramen and the lox bowl are entree sized, and everything else is a little bit smaller, for sharing).   The challah was good, a little cold on the inside, and the raisin butter was sweet and enjoyable.  This flavored butter thing seems to be a bit of a micro-trend,  we saw it at Piora and a few other places recently as well.  I think the reason that these dishes work is that the chef puts taste ahead of anything else; the suzuki wasn’t overly jewish in its preparation, it was a just a well done sashimi; the sauce was a little heavy for the delicate fish, enjoyable none the less.  The Jew Egg is Shalom Japan’s version of a Scotch Egg- it is a medium-boiled egg surrounded by a falafel shell.  The falafel was a little heavy, but it was a good dish for a few bites, could have used a little bit more seasoning.

Shalom Japan Brooklyn
This is a Jew Egg
Shalom Japan restaurant
Lox bowl

The larger plates were really the best part of the meal.  The lox bowl had smoked salmon draped over sushi rice that was authentically done, better rice than what you  find in some low budget sushi joints,  with shredded nori, some avocado and a splash of spicy sauce, a subtle tweak of a pretty traditional sushi dish.  The matzoh ball ramen obviously had both of those components, chicken and veggies, and additional dumplings filled with chicken and foie gras.  Every element of this dish was done completely right, and the broth was salted perfectly; the matzoh balls were light yet firm, the ramen was the perfect texture (thanks Sun Noodles) and the dumplings had a rich, deep flavor that was just heaven in the broth.  The portions are not gigantic, they are meant for one person to enjoy as their main course, so you are not dying if you finish it. We heard the mochi was good, but we were already oy’veying about the shlep home, so it was Shalom Brooklyn for us…


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