Kasadela – Pretty Good Japanese Izakaya in the East Village
Japanese izakaya-style restaurants (居酒屋) are casual places where you go to drink and eat, so the food is sort of comfort drinking food. They are usually fairly fun places with a lively atmosphere and pretty decent food.
Kasadela is an izakaya in the East Village / Alphabet City. They have a fairly standard menu of izakaya dishes. I like going to these types of restaurants with friends as they are a great place to have drinks and hang out with your friends.
The restaurant is pretty dark (it was hard for me to take good pics!) with two rooms, the first room has a bar and the second room has all the tables. The walls are exposed brick with the specials listed on the walls. It’s a nice and fun environment. The service was prompt, but our waiter was a little annoying as she was trying to jam 7 of us into 3 tables that were really small even though the restaurant was half full, but after putting our foot down about it then gave us another table.
Here’s what we got:
This was their homemade sesame custard. Normally tofu is made out of soy beans, but goma tofu is made of sesame and it’s much creamier and denser than normal tofu. Generally, I really like this dish, but there is a big difference between a good one and a mediocre one. The version here is just okay if you go to a place like Donguri who makes it very good you will notice the difference. It was too dense and the flavor while creamy doesn’t match a good version. I don’t think I’d order this again. 6.25/10
Shishito peppers are a type of Japanese green pepper; they are fairly mild in terms of being spicy and have a great flavor. Typically they are flash fried are charred and then sprinkled with salt. The version here is good although not as good as a really good version, but they were still quite tasty. I love the charred flavor with the salt. 7.25/10
Kakuni is pork belly. This is stewed pork belly in a broth of soy sauce, sugar and mirin I believe and then topped with sliced scallions. I liked the broth, the light soy flavor and the sweetness complimented pork belly well. The pork belly was flavorful, but was not as tender as it should be. If they got that right, it would’ve been really good. 7/10
This was simply grilled sausage with mustard. These were pretty simple, but fairly tasty. 7/10
This was stewed Japanese pumpkin. Japanese pumpkin done right is something that I really like a lot. The version here was served in a very light broth that had a nice flavor. The pumpkin was good, but wasn’t quite as tender as it should be, but overall it was a nice dish. 7/10
This is broiled Japanese eggplant smeared with den miso paste and sesame seeds. Den miso paste is fairly sweet, some people like it and some don’t, but I’m the type of person who does like it. The eggplant was cooked well, so it was quite tender and went well with the den miso paste. Overall, this was a good dish. 7.5/10
These are Japanese style fried chicken wings and are the house specialty. They are marinated in a semi-sweet soy glaze. They are beautifully crispy on the outside and the meat is tender. They are sort of like Korean fried chicken, but less sweet. Overall, these are very good, definitely the dish to come here for. 8.25/10
I love Japanese potato croquette, when I’m at home my mom makes these all the time. They are mashed potatoes mixed with minced ground beef covered in panko and then fried. They are served with katsu sauce. The version here was decent, but I think they over-fried them a little bit if they hadn’t done that they would’ve been good. 6.75/10
I was a little skeptical of this as it’s a Korean dish and I’m generally not much of a fan of the Japanese versions of Korean dishes as I generally find them too toned down. This was stir-fried kimchi and thinly sliced pork belly. It was surprisingly quite good. The kimchi and pork tasted excellent together and the pork belly was tender. I’d definitely order it again. 7.5/10
This was grilled tofu bricks served with soy sauce, minced ginger and chopped scallions. These are pretty self-explanatory and were pretty good. 7/10
Takoyaki are ball-shaped dumplings made of batter with a small piece of octopus in the middle that are covered with a sauce and green laver (a type of seaweed). I had low expectations because most of them are pretty bad at the NY Japanese izakayas. However, they were pretty good here. The batter was nice, the octopus was tender and the sauce was good. I liked this dish and I’d order it again. 7.25/10
This is grilled eel over rice in a sweet soy based sauce. Unagi donburi is one of my all time favorite dishes. I wanted some rice so I ordered this. It wasn’t amazing, but it was surprisingly decent as my expectations were quite low because this is not usually the type of dish you order at an izakaya. The eel was reasonably tender and the sauce was pretty good. 7/10
This is a Korean kimchi pancake. This was the one bad dish of the night, the pancake was mushy and oily and just not good. Don’t order this. 5.5/10
Rock Shrimp Tempura:
This was fried battered shrimp with a creamy spicy sauce. It was okay, but I think it had been left sitting around before it was served to us because the batter was a bit soggy from sitting around. The batter was also a little thicker than I prefer. Overall, it was just okay. 6.5/10
Rock Shrimp Donburi:
This was a pretty standard donburi. Its rock shrimp, egg, scallion and onion simmered together in a light sauce made of soy sauce, mirin and sugar, they then sprinkle shredded nori (dried bbq’d seaweed) over it. It’s pretty self-explanatory and it was pretty decent. 7/10
Overall, the food was pretty decent, there were some hits and misses, but I’d come back for the wings alone. It is also a pretty fun place to have drinks with friends. I’d recommend stopping by here with some friends.
647 E 11th St (between Avenue B & Avenue C)
New York, NY 10009
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