Eating a meal before the theatre is tricky. You have to be close enough to the theatre to relax and enjoy your meal, but you have to eat somewhere that isn’t…horrible. With few exceptions, anything east of 9th Avenue and west of Park Avenue in the 40’s is either too casual, too expensive, or just too gross.
That is why you need to know about Kodama.
Kodama is not fancy. It isn’t authentic. But it is reliable, with excellent prices, fresh food, and a varied menu. It serves the kind of Japanese food that many foodies frown upon – soba alongside katsu with many Americanized sushi rolls. It has excellent service, awesome lunch specials, and is popular with Broadway actors in between shows. It is an unexpected gold mine for seeing movie stars dabbling in theatre chowing down on tekka maki on a Saturday night.
Tempura Lotus Root
Lotus root has a very mild taste that takes on the flavor of whatever it is served with. It has a texture in between jicama and french fries – firm, but not crunchy. This is dipped in an incredibly light, crisp batter and served with a sweet and salty soy dipping sauce. It is crunchy, it is salty, it is pretty much like more mild onion rings. Highly recommended.
Spicy Tuna Roll, Yellowtail Scallion Roll
Unlike many places that serve chopped fish in their spicy rolls, these are whole pieces of tuna and yellowtail, served with a spicy mayo based sauce and slivers of crunchy scallion, respectively. The fish is always pristine here – fresh, clean tasting, and lush but not too fatty. The spicy sauce is more spiced than really hot, and the scallions provide a sharp, clean contrast to the luscious yellowtail. The rice is always fresh, and while a bit mushy this time, it is well seasoned. Also, the pickled ginger is of high quality.
Yasuda, this ain’t. But if you want a meal that is well priced, quite tasty, and literally steps away from the theatre, you should really try Kodama.
And you might have lunch next to someone whose name rhymes with Killip Teymour Bloffman…just sayin. That happens here.