A cousin of mine was in town from Austin and since she studies Japanese, we thought it'd be fun to go to Hibino, (333 Henry St., on the corner of Pacific St., 718-260-8052), an authentic Japanese restaurant that offers more than just sushi to sate your appetite. It's a simply decorated, clean and open space, and we were seated in the back, near a window.
There is a large menu with appetizers, salads, entrees and Daily Obanzi, Japanese-style tapas. We ordered a mix of everything, with mixed results. I started with the Kamo Salad with duck, mizuna, daikon and carrot in a shiso dressing. The pieces of duck were plentiful, the dressing was tangy and sweet and everything was crispy & fresh.
I also got the Hirousu, a soy broth simmered fried tofu cake, which is handmade there on the premises. It was interesting; kind of dry, with an even consistency. It tasted slightly sweet, but overall was kind of bland. It made a nice reprieve from the more strongly flavored items, but it wouldn't be good as the only thing you ordered. Maybe the fresh homemade tofu is better?
I also got a side order of Tsuke Mono, Japanese pickles, an assortment of pickled veggies, some of which were delicious, some were a bit too funky for me. Not sure what everything was though.
There were two orders of the Yaki Nasu, the roasted eggplant from the Obanzi menu, which was not a hit at the table. It too was a bit bland, and had a chewy consistency. Maybe it's an acquired taste?
The Edamame was perfect - tender, well-salted little pods of green that burst in your mouth.
There was an order of Hibino Teriyaki Chicken which was great - light, tender and mixed with organic Spring vegetables.
The Salmon Miso Zuke was terrific as well. The fish was cooked to perfection, the sauce was lightly sweet and savory and the vegetables weren't overcooked one bit.
Another item from the Obanzi menu were these Daikon nugget things. Breaded and fried, they were just a bit too hard for me. My BF loved them however; another acquired taste!
We did get some sushi too. The Salmon Salad Roll and an Avocado Roll. The sushi was some of the best I've ever had. Fresh, soft, flavorful - all the ingredients popped, instead of getting lost among the mix.
I will definitely go back to Hibino for more of their sushi; it's clear that they take pride in what they're doing and pay close attention to the details.