Noreetuh which means “playground” in Korean, is the new casual Hawaiian inspired spot in the East Village. The chef grew up in Hawaii and lived in Japan. The menu is a mixture of Hawaiian with an Asian twist.
The decor is modern and surprisingly monotone. No sight of leis or hula girls. The music however, was dominated by beach, surf and happy times in the sun.
Corned Beef Tongue Musubi, Cilantro, Peanuts (pictured above)
I’ve always been a big fan of beef tongue. It’s meaty and lean. In this case, it’s a pretty waist conscious change from the usual spam used in musubis. I’m not bashing spam or fat, but you get what I mean. The peanuts and cilantro sauce add great texture and brightness. How do you say good stuff in Hawaiian?
Silken Tofu, Uni, Ikura, Shiitake, Shiso
First of all, it’s beautiful. Like a little edible koi pond. Plus, it had uni! One of my all time favorite things. The dish is good but not as amazing as it looked. I found the individual ingredients getting lost next to that thick layer of sticky soy sauce on top.
Big-eye Tuna Poke, Macadamia Nuts, Pickled Jalepeno, Seaweed
I could eat this everyday. What a perfect balance of textures caressed by sesame and soy. The fresh meaty tuna, the array of seaweed – each with its distinct crunch play nicely to the macadamia. Getting kicked by the jalepenos in between bites was fun and less painful than expected. One of our favorite dishes of the night.
Braised Honeycomb Tripe, Rice Cakes, Bamboo Shoots, Onion, Chili
My kind of comfort food. It almost reminded me of Italian tripe with tomato sauce. This sauce had a lot of depth and the crispy yet soft and chewy rice cakes brought me right back to Korean cuisine. It wasn’t as spicy as expected, but no one missed it. So good, I know I’ll be craving this dish a lot!
Spam Tortelloni, Poached Egg, Yu Choy, Goji Berries, Chrysanthemum
The minute I saw it on the menu, I asked myself why I never thought of it!? What an idea! Spam inside a pasta shell, of course! Genius. It was milder and less fatty than expected.
Is it weird to describe it as light and creamy? Maybe because of the fluffy center (almost seemed like a whipped potato puree in texture with spam flavor). The gorgeous egg #yolkporn added that silky “sauce” feel. Decadent without being heavy. Loved the creativity.
Crispy Mochi Waffles, Whipped Peanut Butter, Honey
I was most excited about this, read about it before coming and had to have it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the sticky, chewy texture of mochi I was hopping to find in the center. It turned out more like rice cracker. Practically eating a shell filled with air. StalkerHubby loved all that peanut butter, I found it overwhelming. It all sort of got stuck on the roof of my mouth. The flavors aren’t bad, but it really didn’t feel like a waffle or mochi.
Overall, the meal was great, the dishes were quite unique. My knowledge of Hawaiian food include spam musubi and tuna poke (I’ve never visited the islands). But even though I’m no expert, I believe good flavors and well composed dishes are universal. I would definitely be back for that tuna poke and tripe rice cake.
128 1st Ave.