205 Grand St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Our Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Cards: Cash Only
Hours: Mon.-Sun. 12 p.m.-3 p.m, 6 p.m.-12 a.m.
Booze: Full Bar
Subway: L to Bedford Ave.
Menu: Click Here
The Scene: Once you get inside Samurai Mama, you realize you’re in a much more raw and rustic experience than your usual polished, clinical, neon, bright Japanese restaurant. A sister establishment to both Bozu and Bushwick’s Momo Sushi Shack — Samurai Mama is best known for some of the best udon, kitsune and appetizers around town. A hidden gem that doesn’t get the praise of every food blog that sets the tastes for this town, yet is always consistently good and one of the rare places where you can always experiment and know you will get a high quality dish that satisfies.
Who It’s For: If you prefer cream cheese, mayo and 4 types of fish wrapped around a $20 sushi roll or can’t understand why ramen is $13 when it was $.99 in your dorm room, this place is not for you. You go here to appreciate a simple dish that has really good ingredients, not flair and fireworks. The noodles are hand-crafted and paired with some of the most flavorful broths you will have. All of these appetizers and sushi dishes are simple in order to not distract from the flavor. No gimmicks or crazy colored flakes anywhere — just simple, good Japanese food.
How To Do It: If you’re looking to show off your mature taste buds, you probably want to come by before a show at next door’s Williamsburg Cinemas where you’ll soon embarrass yourself by ordering Goobers at the snackbar. The curry udons and the spicy bukake are the best way to warm up a cold winter night, while the sushi’s are simple but amazing. Sporting cocktail, wine, sake and beer choices, everyone’s drinking tastes are taken care of. But even those who fear sake, should know this is a place that you can usually have a great glass even if you’ve been burned by cheap, musty sake in the past. Once you get sushi here and experience the way they serve the wasabi infused soy sauce you will wonder why it isn’t like this everywhere.
Local Secret: The bar is the best seat in the house if you are a party of 2 and is often playing choice Jamaican dub music. If you show up too late and they’re closed, their sister spot Bozu is a 5 minute walk and serves after-midnight ramen nearly every night.
From the same folks behind Williamsburg sushi fave Bozu comes a noodle-centric Japanese spot just a few blocks away. The small room has a hidden bar in the back and a large communal table in the front, where diners slurp their way through a dozen udons, in hot soup form or as cold dishes with dipping sauces, with toppings from thin-sliced pork belly to mixed mushrooms ($8-$10). There’s also a section of the menu devoted to something called “taco sushi”—mini seaweed wraps folded around various fish and veggie fillings ($4-$7). Leave room for the ginger-yuzu tofu flan dessert—it’s better than it sounds.
The Downtown Diaries says:
There is no stopping Bozu owner/chef Makoto Suzuki. Just a few weeks ago, the Williamsburg staple Bozu, opened their second establishment Momo Sushi Shack in Bushwick. Now they are at it again with a new Udon Noodle Bar, Samurai Mama, located at 205 Grand St between Bedford and Driggs. The restaurant is quite small and consists of one large communal table with a few booths located along the right wall. The restaurant had their soft opening this past Friday and seemed to have steady traffic over the holiday weekend, even considering their not-so-ideal facade (they’re clearly working out the finishing touches.)