Wednesday, April 14, 2010

rice ball heaven at oms/b

My first taste of onigiri (also known as omusubi) was upon landing in Tokyo. Starving after a long flight, we got a tuna rice ball and a tiny bottle of Yakult from an airport store to snack on while waiting for our ride. I still remember how that little ball of rice spiked with tuna and wrapped in nori was a little piece of heaven, an indication of more yummy meals to come in the week ahead.
Since coming back to New York, I've only had onigiri once, purchased from Sun Mart in St. Mark's Place. I thought it would be good since it did come from a Japanese store but to my disappointment, the rice was almost hard and the onigiri was completely unappetizing.

Then my friend Ludette told me about Oms/b, a tiny restaurant in Midtown that serves freshly made onigiri. We had been meaning to go there for ages, but I never got a chance to stop in until today. They have the most adorable little rice balls in fun colors and shapes.
On the left is the Hijiki onigiri, which has seaweed and edamame beans mixed with rice then wrapped in a yellow soy sheet. Perfect for my veggie days! The adorable looking pink onigiri is the Yukari-Plum rice ball, composed of Siso leaf (yukari) and white sesame mixed with rice, wrapped in a pink soy sheet, and topped with Kishu-Plum. I'm not a huge fan of plum so I'll just have to bask in the cuteness and move on. Not sure what the rightmost onigiri is, but liking the orange sherbet color of it!
I ended up ordering the wasabi shrimp onigiri in the middle, which was just delicious! The shrimp was plump and tender, and the rice was so freshly made that it was still a little warm when I bit into the onigiri. 
I meant to order that little bundle of yumminess in the center, topped with salmon roe (ikura). So I asked for ikura, not realizing they also had a regular onigiri with ikura on it. Note to self: next time, ask for the "Gorgeous Football Rice" to get the reward of biting into a mixed vegetable rice roll topped with salmon roe and eggs and enveloped in sweet fried tofu. I drooled a little, writing that sentence. 

The rice balls range in price from $2 to $3.25, which is not bad as far as Midtown lunch prices go. I think it's so worth it because the ingredients are so fresh and the onigiri is just yummy. Can't wait to try all the other goodies on the menu!

Oms/b is located at 156 East 45th Street (between Third and Lexington), New York, NY 10017-3115.

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