New to the Murray Hill area, UK Asian fusion restaurant wagamama has opened its latest location in New York. wagamama, which has 197 locations across 27 countries, started in 1992 in England. In its early days, serving innovative Asian cuisine and craft cocktails before they were cool, celebrity chef David Chang visited wagamama as a student in London. Later he cited it as an influence in his culinary aspirations, which later turned into a pan-Asian chain of his own: Momofuku.
The wagamama menu blends flavors from Japan, Korea, China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam, thanks to Global Executive Chef Mangleshot. At wagamama you’ll get to choose from ramen with chicken bone broth, Korean barbecue buns, and vegan pad Thai.
wagamama is partnering with the ‘It Gets Better Project’ as a part of their ‘love every bun’ initiative. Throughout the month of June, the WorldPride celebration in New York City, wagamama will be donating 25c for every bun order purchased at all 5 locations in NYC and Boston. ‘It Gets Better’ works with teens around the world as they navigate affirming and asserting their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. wagamama will be also be holding hosted meet-ups groups on-site for those that need support in attending or walking pride at their NoMad location across from Madison Square Park. Everyone is welcome.
Chicken katsu curry. Photo: Danielle Adams.
The pan-Asian restaurant will enter the food culture of “Curry Hill,” where many Indian restaurants thrive along Murray Hill's nearby Lexington and Third Avenue stretches. “Katsu Curry is Japanese comfort food,” says Chef Mangleshot. “Traditionally the sauce is mild, but ours packs an aromatic punch.” In the UK, the chicken katsu curry is ordered 3.5 million times a year—so you know it’s good!
Tofu ramen. Photo: Danielle Adams.
Plant-based eaters can look forward to the new vegan menu at wagamama, featuring stuffed veggie wonton wrappers, Kare Burosu ramen, and Yasai Samla curry with lemongrass, coconut, shiitake mushrooms, and tofu. The ramen at wagamama, including the vegan version, is made with a flavorful broth inspired by the lightness of Vietnamese pho. The Yasai Samla curry won the PETA Vegan Food Award for Best Curry in 2017!
Photo: Danielle Adams.
While wagamama is a casual and convivial atmosphere, it doesn’t skimp on quality drinks. NYC mixologist Adam Schuman has assisted in crafting Asian-inspired cocktails like a lychee martini and a yuzu collins with gin, yuzu-flavored sake, and ginger liqueur. Get your whiskey fix with the wagamama old fashioned, made with a blend of three Japanese whiskeys, sherry, and lychee liqueur. The bar will also serve a flight of sakes and bottled beers, including a matcha brew.
Refreshing mocktails include the cranberry blossom with mint garnish, while the fresh-pressed juice menu features green juices like Positive: a sweet blend of pineapple, lime, spinach, cucumber, and apple. To wind down your meal, you can also order one of wagamama’s new specialty teas, one with lychee and another with red berry and hibiscus.
Along with its communal tables, modern blonde-wood paneling, and open kitchen, the focal point of the decor is a mural by London street artist Woskerski. In the striking wall-sized image, a child’s face peers from behind a white bowl, surrounded by the words, From our bowl to Murray Hill’s soul.
Photo: Danielle Adams.
The new wagamama is located near Grand Central Terminal and the Morgan Library & Museum. It's be perfect for a convivial dinner with friends and family, a date over drinks, or a party. 605 Third Ave., at 39th Street. Visit wagamama.us for more.