A traditional Japanese breakfast of miso soup, grilled fish, fermented soy beans, rice and pickles, was one of the favorite concepts that I took home from my first trip to Japan nearly 20 years ago. In the United States, such breakfasts seem limited to pricey hotels that cater to Asian travelers. Generally, I prefer avoiding breakfasts that cost $35 or more.
Fortunately, there is an Asian cafe in Manhattan that serves a proper Japanese style breakfast that comes with a perfectly reasonable $9.50 price tag.Located in the NYU neighborhood, Panya looks like a relatively ordinary bakery and cafe from the street, but inside, the Japanese pedigree is more obvious. The menu has traditional American style offerings — and a Japanese option. The Japanese breakfast was everything I wanted: grilled salmon; toasted nori seaweed; fermented soybeans (natto); miso soup; oshinko (pickles); salad; and, steamed rice. Although it takes longer to serve and prepare than the other fare, I got exactly what I wanted. Nothing fancy, no hotel surcharges, just a hearty, healthy breakfast, Japanese style.