Ode to Restaurant SEO

April 15, 2011

My favorite place for a relaxing and restorative respite from running through the gauntlet of a hard day’s work here in midtown Manhattan, Restaurant SEO offers an unparalleled combination of value, quality and consistency: a virtual trifecta of delicousness.

If this all comes off as superlative, so be it.  Let the Good Herring further qualify the virtues of this enclave of Japanese culinary authenticity by illustrating two key reasons to believe:

Point 1: The lunch special

$12 affords you the choice between three delicious specials.  1) broiled mackeral (pictured above), 2) eel over rice, 3) chirashi.  Though you can’t go wrong with either of the selections, it’s the chirashi that never fails to send me into a spiral of epicurean ecstacy.  Layered atop a pillow of perfectly cooked rice, ever-so-lightly tinged with the sweet tang of rice wine vinegar, the featured sashimi selections–which change according to market availabilities–are consistently of the highest caliber.  Today’s selection included a generous total of 8 slices of sashimi: tuna (maguro), salmon, yellowtail, snapper, fluke and sea urchin along with a thick slab of egg omelette. Oishi.

In an effort to ensure the corners of your appetite are fully rounded out by meals-end, the lunch special is always accompanied by a  modest portion of delightfully crunchy vegetable tempura and a bowl of miso soup, which, in the case of Restaurant SEO, somehow elevates it’s ubiquitous role in Japanese restaurants to a higher level.

Point 2:  The ambiance

Ah, to be sitting in Restaurant SEO’s comfortable wood-paneled dining room, sipping green tea from a glazed earthenware cup, gazing out upon a traditional rock garden, perhaps catching tasty notes of Brazillian-influenced jazz playing between the soft pitched conversations of fellow diners.

Located at 249 East 49th street between 2nd and 3rd avenue, Restaurant SEO attracts an interesting blend of multinational clientele, owing likely to its position within walking distance from the United Nations.  As such, the flowing cadence of Japanese being spoken are as frequently juxtaposed by the lilting sounds of French or German.

In a bit of a departure from the traditional Japanese aesthetic, autographed photos of famous Yankees line the walls of the stairway down to the bathrooms downstairs.  Though seemingly out of place in SEO’s  Zen-like confines, the Good Herring (a New York Met fan, for the record) surmises their presence was a subtle nod to former Yankee World Series MVP and Japanese ex-pat Hideki Matsui who used to be a frequent customer…maybe it was the lunch special?


Return From The Sargasso

November 11, 2010

It’s been nigh a year since my previous post…a year has come and gone, and with its passing, the seasons have run their cycle…as is the nature of such magical things that come,  go, and are born again, The Good Herring may return.

Inspiration, move me brightly!

The idea to reinstate The Good Herring was born on a soft, warm breeze; an invigorating gust, blowing over a placid patch of algae-rich waters  smack-dab in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, a place known to some as the Sargasso Sea, but more widely known as the Bermuda Triangle.

Despite the supernatural connotations implied by this notorious location, however, the wind carried with it no government conspiracy, nor did it bear tidings of close encounters of the third kind.  It picked up speed, urged on by the simmering tides, gusting towards the North American landmass with a purpose.  When the wind finally made landfall on the rocky shoals of Eastern Long Island, it summoned great waves capped with yellow sea-foam to crash upon the feet of a sturdy lighthouse.

It happened to be sunset; the sprays brought up by these surges of ocean were painted a burnished orange by the setting sun.  Fisherfolk, casting for dinner from a sandy beach nearby pulled in their final catches of the day: a lucky man smiled at the 17 lb. striped bass caught on the end of the line, its scales mirroring the purple haze of dusk.

The night, of course, bore no hurdle to the inexorable path of that gale.  Soon it completed its long  journey, winding its way through the narrow, cobblestoned streets of Brooklyn to arrive at The Good Herrings’ very own shanty.

The back door blew open gently with a creak,  shaking me out of my reverie.  I just completed a great book; coincidentally, it was as myopically focused as the one that inspired the creation of this blog.  This particular piece of literature was entitled Consider The Eel: A Natural and Gastronomic History.

The casual reader might think me a bit strange, so intrigued by these deep-dives into aquatic creatures that are, at least in America, so unpopular.  Well, I don’t blame you.  To be honest, it’s true these animals are widely not in favor and it’s equally true I happen to love eating them both.  All that said however, these tomes are at once informative, intriguing and immensely enjoyable reads that can be savored by just about anyone with an interest in food and history.

Focusing on Consider The Eel for a moment, the long story short is that the Eel is a unique and mysterious creature to be sure.  Unlike most of it’s other aquatic cousins (eg: the Salmon) that are born in fresh water rivers, spend their lives in the open ocean and then return to those same rivers to reproduce and die, the eel is born in the ocean, migrates to fresh water rivers where it lives for several decades and then finally returns to where it was born to reproduce and pass away.  The crazy thing is: noone knows exactly where all these eels are born and die…but scientists have narrowed down the location to the Sargasso Sea, aka: The Bermuda Triangle.

It’s funny to think of an eel as your inspiration, but alas, sometimes an idea can come from the strangest of places.  For example, it’s lunchtime now, and I think I know just what I’ll be having.

Stay tuned–the Good Herring is back in town!