Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Recipe for a Friday Party: Otafuku Takoyaki and Wafels & Dinges !

The other day Thanan was mad craving some ambiguous octopus balls from the St. Marks area.  Having him describe it convinced me even less that I would want to eat it: "the balls are filled with octopus and mayonnaise and fried."  Huh. What.  

After agreeing to check out the place recently, I am happy to say that Thanan has a bad memory and the balls are not filled with mayonnaise at all!  (Phew!)  The balls appear to be made only of takoyaki flour, green onion, octopus bits, water and egg.

Otafuku specializes in three key things: takoyaki, okonomiyaki and yakisoba.  Typically fare at a Japanese street market, it is a treat to be able to eat in the city!

You can order them individually or as a combo plate.  We got combo plates of the takoyaki + yakisoba.

The kitchen.  The taoyoki are made in a pan that resembles an ebelskiver pan.  Recipe for all of their products are available on their website with super cute diagrams.  Takoyaki recipe here.
The place is tiny tiny, like a walk-in closet where you place your order at the register, then you wait outside until they call your number, come back inside to watch them finish off the takoyaki with healthy sprinklings of dried bonito flakes, green seaweed and takoyaki sauce. and then take your food back outside to eat.  They do ask if you want mayonnaise (which may be where Thanan was confused), so I quickly opted no. (Close one!)

We snagged two fortunate seats on the bench outside and chowed down!  The $9 meal was hefty with six fat takoyaki globs and a lovely pile of soba stirfry.

It's essential to eat the takoyaki while it's piping hot, so I tackled those first.

The takoyaki smelled strongly of octopus, but upon biting into the soft spheres, all I could taste was a strangely smooth paste.  Eventually I found some octopus chunks (I wish there were more) which I cheerfully chewed on.  

As I polished one off and licked my lips to gather the takoyaki sauce and the crisp bonito flakes, I looked at Thanan and said, "These are tasty!"  

He didn't care.  He had already eaten all six by the time I started on my third one.  Menace.

The takoyaki were almost too tasty - so savory and flavorful from the sauce, that I rotated polishing off a ball with eating several strands of soba which were much more mild in flavor and solidly chewy.  The yakisoba will never be in the starring role though and should remain in the supporting cast.

After, we walked to the Astor Place stop and grabbed a liege wafel from the Wafels & Dinges stand.  My eyes were drawn to the Specials board with the words "Peanut Butter" scrawled on it.  Love. Peanut. Butter.

I'm usually a Brussels wafel fan, but this liege was actually good - lighter than the first I have had from them.  But maybe I didn't care at all.  There was a thick layer of peanut butter topped with melty chocolate all over it and fat walnuts that added crunch; I coulda eaten cardboard and been so happy.

Octopus balls + wafels?  Proper fuel to kick off any weekend!

236 East 9th Street New York, NY 10003-7503 
Otafuku on Urbanspoon

Astor Place, Fridays
Offers Liege wafels only
Wafels & Dinges on Urbanspoon


  1. How funny! My boyfriend I went out last weekend for Otafuku, and although we ended up at Porchetta and Pommes Frites (oh, yeah, and Artichoke) instead, I'm sure we'll get back there soon. The first time I tried it a couple of years ago, I had never had octopus before and was so scared! But now that I've had it a few times, I totally pumped for some mollusk donuts.

  2. that layer of chocolate!! and i could probably JUST bonito flakes for dinner. ymmm ymmm good!!

  3. Octopus balls? Hmm... well I'm definitely intrigued. And you're right, anything covered in melted peanut butter is automatically awesome.