The Art of Eating Chapter 5: Japanese Food (J’s Kitchen)

It’s officially the start of September which means that it’s also officially the start of the fall semester! Recently I finally moved back into the SVA dorms after four months away, and I was shocked at how hard it was to transition back. It feels like I was just here, but yet it’s also completely different. For me, one of the biggest adjustments is losing access to a kitchen. Yes, my dorm has a kitchen for the whole (20 floor!) building, but it’s just not quite the same. SVA also has no dining halls, which means a lot of my meals this semester will involve my small dorm fridge and microwave. Even if you do have a college dining hall, it’s still easy to miss getting meals straight from the kitchen during the school year. That’s why I’m at J’s Kitchen New York this Wednesday to seek out some of that more homey cooking that’s so hard to get once school is back in session.

Right off the bat the interior of J’s Kitchen has the perfect, inviting vibe I’m looking for. Throughout the restaurant there are plants everywhere: hanging from the ceiling, decorating the tables, placed on the floor, etc. Beyond that, the rest of the store is very simple. The decorations are few and far between, but it doesn’t feel empty or anything, just neat and welcoming. Furthermore, another nice thing about J’s Kitchen is that you can actually see their kitchen in the back behind the counter. The cooking area there is also very clean and neat, but obviously much more lived in, with signs of the chef moving about to make the food. It’s definitely exciting to be able to see people actually cooking once you order your food bringing a certain personal quality to eating out that you don’t get everywhere.

Interior of J’s Kitchen with kitchen area in background

Once said kitchen finishes preparing your food, they bring it out to you, which was also very nice. We ordered at the counter, so I was expecting to have to go pick it up. Instead, the staff was super friendly about it and both brought out our food and took it back when we were finished. As expected, the food is steaming hot when it arrives at our table. It already smells more delicious than anything I could procure in my dorm room, so I’m excited to dive in. For my lunch I ordered the main star of J’s Kitchen, the Tokeru Wagyu Hamburger with Teriyaki Sauce. Just to start, the size of it is impressive. I feel inclined to ask for a fork and knife just to deal with all of it. Still, not only is the burger seriously tall, they provide you with a side of fries and (very cutely) two mini pickles. Lots of food. The teriyaki sauce was definitely a solid call because it is so good and adds a really great layer to the burger which is super soft and warm and delicious inside. It’s totally the kind of food that warms you up and makes you feel better if you’ve been missing home. Their curry is also another favorite. For me, it feels like the more classic comfort food that I would seek out. It’s similarly very flavorful and warm– and it comes with a lot of options for cutlet you can pair with it, like chicken, pork, and beef. If you’re still looking for vegetarian options, they have those too with the same great quality and taste. Everything comes direct from their kitchen, so you can be sure that it will satisfy any craving you have for homey cooking. 

Tokeru Wagyu Hamburger with Teriyaki Sauce

Overall, J’s Kitchen is perfect for any student looking for some high quality meals in the midst of leaving home and going back to living on their own at the start of the year. Their food is delicious and the atmosphere in the restaurant is really welcoming. I absolutely recommend people to go there for their classic Japanese food favorites, or look for something new if you’re up to it! You can’t go wrong!

Planning a visit to J’s Kitchen New York? Be sure to bring your student ID and show this coupon when you go to get 10% off your order:

If you want to see more about my trip to J’s Kitchen check out my video on the Campus Clipper TikTok page!

Peter Schoenfeld is an illustrator and self proclaimed food fanatic from New York. If he’s not trying new food, he’s drawing it (and if he’s not doing either of those things, then you can probably find him curled up on the couch watching dramas). As an incoming sophomore at the School of Visual Art he focuses on creating art that connects people to his personal passions– like eating!

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services. At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.


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