I am excited as hell on The Braised Shop. It’s a tiny restaurant hiding at the tail end of St. Marks that specializes in Taiwanese braised bowls. In Taiwan, it’s traditional street food. In New York, you can group it in with the brick-and-mortar fast-casual build-your-bowl places. But it definitely stands out from the rest due to it’s authenticity. While still delicious, most build-your-bowl places are not authentic to their cuisines in the way that The Braised Shop is (I’m looking at you, Chipotle). The Braised Shop beautifully marries the authenticity of Taiwanese street food with what you’d expect from a modern fast-casual spot in the East Village.
Walking in, you’re almost surprised at how small it is. With only two tables, the space is smaller than most ice cream shops. Luckily, it’s a surprisingly portable meal that you can take to-go and eat somewhere nearby if it’s busy. You order by circling meats, veggies, and noodles on a clipboard menu. They braise your selections, and pack all the goods into a tall soup bowl.
The food is fantastic. Everything is perfectly cooked and has a rich spiced-soy flavor. In Chinese, we call this “lu wei”, which directly translates to “braised flavor”. Everything is braised in the same liquid, but there are still very distinct flavors and textures in all of the ingredients. Make sure to try the beef shank and oyster mushrooms! So tender! If you like fatty meat, the pork belly is great too. At the counter, there’s a self-service tubs of minced garlic, green onion, and chili oil, where you can find me dumping obscene amounts of garlic into my bowl.
(look at how much meat they give you!)
The Braised Shop is something I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since I went for the first time last week. So much so that I went very far out of my way to get it a second time a week later. I’m still looking forward to going back next time I’m in the East Village. Make sure to give The Braised Shop a try next time you’re in the area!