In Memory of Donburiya and the Best Donburi in New York City

Over the years, I’ve written a couple of reviews on Ogiue Maniax for a Japanese restaurant in Manhattan called Donburiya. It served many types of Japanese foods, but as per its name, its claim to fame was its donburi: large bowls of rice with various toppings on them. I’m truly sad to inform everyone that Donburiya closed its doors at some point over the past few months, and I only found out upon arriving and seeing the entire place abandoned.

I haven’t been this upset about losing an excellent food joint in a long while. The last time this happened, it was The Pink Teacup, a soul food restaurant that literally, literally served the best fried chicken I’ve ever eaten. In that case, the flavor penetrated the chicken all the way down to the bone, and in the case of Donburiya just about every dish I ever ordered there had a similar level of quality. Whether it was the Chirashidon (sashimi), Oyakodon (egg and chicken), Katsudon (pork cutlets), or Unatamadon (eel and egg), or even the curry, I will cherish my memories of that restaurant.

I know it might sound silly to some, but as people might have picked up from my writings, I’m a huge food enthusiast and food is a very emotional subject for me. To lose a place that has served me well, not only in terms of the quality of its dishes but also as a space to gather with friends and to celebrate, makes me wish I could’ve gone back just one last time.

By the way, if anyone knows any fantastic donburi places in New York City, I’m all ears. And mouth.

 

Curry at Donburiya: Sauce and Rice, to the Next Level

Let it be known that I am a proponent of curry. I’ve written many times about the fabulous Go Go Curry, but whether it’s Thai, Indian, Chinese, Malaysian, Caribbean, you name it, if you’ve got a curry dish then I want to try it. Still, there’s a special place in my heart for Japanese-style curry. In fact, all those Chinese-run sushi places that sprung up over the past decade? I think they should be making curry instead.

It is my delight then to discover that a place I’d already gone to for quality donburi (bowls filled with rice and other ingredients, generally some kind of meat + egg), the aptly named “Donburiya,” also houses a fantastically good curry as well.

I’ve talked before about how Go Go Curry differs from most Japanese curries in that its flavor is much bolder than the norm, and Donburiya’s curry is similar in the sense that it seems to have a more complex and spicier flavor than what I’ve come to expect, but without being “intense,” with layers of subtlety underlying the more immediate spiciness. The rice itself is on par with what they serve normally, which is to say “perfectly done” and the “hamburg” I ordered with it was very juicy, and the diced onion in the hamburg was in no way overwhelming.  If you’re not familiar with Japanese hamburg, it’s something akin to a salisbury steak or a meatloaf more than it is an actual hamburger patty. I also did not feel like I got cheated out of any hamburg at all as it was quite a hefty piece of meat.

That said, it’s also a sit-down restaurant so you have to pay tip, the dish itself costs more than what you’d get at Go Go Curry, and at the end of the day I think I prefer Go Go Curry overall just because it hits harder and I absolutely love the roux there.  Overall though, the biggest hurdles for curry at Donburiya are the donburi, and I’d advise everyone to try out those before they tackle the curry dishes, or for that matter the ochazuke (rice mixed with green tea or some kind of broth), which also by the way is delicious.

Basically what I’m saying is that you pretty much can’t lose at Donburiya, and if you’re looking a curry that’s more refined than what you’d get at Go Go Curry, I’d recommend this place in a heartbeat.

Donburiya: The Place for Donburi

In the past I’ve talked about a small Japanese-style curry shop in Manhattan called Go Go Curry, which serves a very authentically Japanese yet very unique take on the classic dish, and I tout it as one of my favorite restaurants to eat at for under $10. This time though, we’re gonna bump up the price past the $10 point and talk about another place that I’ve become fond of. This place also serves curry, but its main specialties are big bowls of rice with various other ingredients known as donburi. And thus, the name of the restaurant: Donburiya.

Located in Manhattan on 47th Ave between Lexington and 3rd Ave, every person I’ve ever known that has gone to Donburiya, including myself, has come away completely satisfied. The rice is perfect. The meat is perfect. Everything is as delicious as delicious can be, though in a way different from Go Go Curry. If Go Go Curry is like a high-quality mac & cheese place, then Donburiya is like a top-level classy diner serving the best burgers.

So far I’ve tried the Oyako Don (chicken and egg), the Yakiniku Don (beef and egg), and the Unatama Don (eel and egg), and all have been extremely memorable. I’ve also had their onigiri, which have also been tasty and satisfying.

There’s other things on the menu too, but while I do plan on trying their curry, the ochazuke takes priority for next time.