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Japanese Restaurant Week Brings Regional Fare, Ekiben Dishes to E. Village

By Serena Solomon | February 28, 2013 4:44pm

EAST VILLAGE — The East Village's bounty of bento boxes, sushi and ramen will soon be the focus of Japanese Restaurant Week, which returns to the city on Monday.

From March 4 through Mon., March 18, 35 restaurants in and around the East Village will serve their signature dishes for just $12 to $25. Amateur food critics taking advantage of the deals can also enter for a free trip to Japan by uploading reviews and photos of their meals to the Japanese Restaurant Week Facebook page.

"Japanese Restaurant Week is really a unique way for New Yorkers to experience many outstanding local and regional dishes typically found only in Japan," said Yuki Tanaka, the executive director of Japan National Tourism, which is behind the event.

East Village eateries participating in Japanese Restaurant Week include Cha-An and Hasaki on East Ninth Street between Second and Third avenues, as well as CURRY-YA on East 10th Street.

For this year’s theme, restaurants are being encouraged to serve dishes that highlight cuisine from particular regions or cities, such as Hiroshima, Kyoto or Osaka. To add to the local feel, many establishments will replace their bento box trays with ekiben-style platters, or the boxed meals served aboard Japanese trains.

For a list of participating restaurants, visit www.japanweek.us.