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Pia Mileaf-Patel

$30 a person

            Juban is absolutely amazing. They serve Japanese tapas, and every bite is perfect. For example, you cannot miss the fried chicken, which is tender inside and encased in a crisp, light batter. You also need to try the pork meatball skewers, which are savory with a hint of citrus.

            While Juban is fairly new, it is in the space formerly housed by Izakaya Ten, an old family favorite restaurant of mine (and one of my first blog posts, too!). It was our go-to dinner out: close, festive, and always delicious. My parents had also befriended the manager, Ashwin, who looks exactly like my uncle (something that my mother couldn’t refrain from sharing). When Izakaya Ten closed, I was devastated, but finally, Ashwin took over and opened Juban, with a revamped and somehow even better menu.

            The menu is awesome, and I find it difficult because I always want to get the same things since they are my favorite, but I also want to try everything there is. The spicy cucumber is something I always order. Fresh and crisp and just slightly tangy with vinegar, it just can’t be beat.

            The good thing is that the way the menu is set up it’s easy to try everything. You end up with a lot of little sharing plates and get to taste a lot of different foods that all compliment each other. This also makes it a little easier to order in groups. The restaurant is so fun, too! It’s nice, but not stuffy, and totally hip. There is a new mural now as well. Juban is the ultimate place to stop after a day of gallery hopping, or a visit to the new Whitney.

            My brother and I also have our kiddie cocktail made up, which is sprite with yuzu juice (a Japanese citrus fruit that has its own flavor somewhere between a lemon and a sweet grapefruit, yet also something totally different). I’m glad that our favorite place is back and better than ever!