Otafuku is a tiny little place by Saint Marks. As far as I can tell, they only sell 4 things:
– Yakisoba: egg noodles that they sautee on the grill
– Takoyaki: Balls of octopus and dough
– Okonomiyaki: Cabbage pancakes with delicious sauce
– Mentadai: Chewy dessert batter with red bean paste inside… that is always shaped like a fish (I understand if you’re not Asian and you find eating sweet things that are shaped like a fish off-putting)
I came upon it one day when I really really really wanted some Cha An toast, but I arrived at 11:25, and Cha An doesn’t open on Sundays until noon. Otafuku, on the other hand, opens at 11:30 on Sunday. I tried the door a few times until a worker asked me to stop, so hungry little me stood outside the door forlornly for five minutes and stared at the guy making the takoyaki.
He filled these cast iron things with some batter,
Added some more batter…. and it spins!! A little girl and I watched him do this about 3 full cycles… it’s so exciting when the little balls spin! He then took a stick and poked the stuck ones free until the batter turned around and around into puffy little balls.
The finished takoyaki balls were then covered in bonito flakes, some soy based sweet sauce, and mayo. I know what you’re thinking, but this is no worse than a donut.
I also got some griddle-fresh okonomiyaki and yaki soba. The okonomiyaki had way more cabbage and way less meat than I fought. Everything was also covered in the same mayo sauce, which got old fast. But overall everything was enjoyable in small doses.
I also found this sour and sweet fermented yogurt gem. Bikkle is the better version of those tiny bottles of fermented yogurt. The little bottles were impossible to open cleanly, and it was always less than a shot. This is like drinking heaven! Or drinking concentrated milk without the guilt.
Looking back, this was a little aggressive on the taste buds first thing in the morning, but if you already had some oatmeal and want some midday flavor in your life, or a really cheap sweet and savory dinner, this is the place for you!