Roll Call

Roll Call

“Wake up every morning as if something wonderful is about to happen.”

“Enjoy the little things in life for someday you’ll learn they were the big things.”

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

Such chipper lines adorn the walls and tables of Anaya Sushi, the youngest all-you-can-eat sushi spot in town. And while some of the quotes are a tad generic, there are those that will tickle your brain (“Behave! What happens today is on Facebook tomorrow.”) just as some choice dishes on the menu will please your stomach.

sponsored by

Yale Center for British Art - Reopening May 11
Anaya’s feel-good quotes are scattered throughout an Ivy League-compatible interior filled with dark wood and an air of sophistication, perked up with pink trees in perpetual plastic bloom and illuminated with a mix of light fixtures including Edison bulbs and square wall lanterns.

Like its decor, many of Anaya’s specialty rolls make nods to the ivy-covered walls down the road. On the a la carte menu you’ll find Yale’s Roll ($8.95), Handsome Dan’s Roll ($9.95) and Davenport’s Roll ($8.95), and it doesn’t forget the rest of the city, offering a New Haven Roll ($9.95), an East Rock Roll ($8.95) and even an Eli Whitney Roll ($8.95).

The rest of the menu has the usual host of soups, sashimi and classic American rolls named for California and Philadelphia. But why mince words about the a la carte when there’s a $20.90 button you can press to start an endless deluge of rice, broth, veggies and fish?

The all-you-can-eat menu offers different rolls than the a la carte. The Bulldog, named after Yale’s signature pooch, is a roll of diced red spicy tuna marbled with chunks of the same and a backbone of cucumber at the bottom of the roll. The Crispy Dragon is a roll with a soft outer hide of overlaid shrimp, eel and avocado. The Dragon’s real scales are on the inside, thanks to a crispy core of shrimp tempura.

The Green Haven stands out, among both Anaya’s eat-’til-you-burst bunch and the city’s broader vegan-friendly sushi options. Far from a basic bundle of matchstick cucumbers, the eight-piece roll is covered with a bright green layer of avocado over a rice-wrapped tube of seaweed salad that crunches lightly and tastes delicious.

But while certain rolls are very good, the very best of Anaya goes to the night owls. After the sushi stops rolling at 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, Anaya turns into a midnight ramen shop at the stroke of 11.

Two months ago, joining a growing chorus of restaurants offering late-night-specific options—from Meat & Co. to Salsa Fresca—owner Soraya Kaoraptham started running ramen to cater to the students and bar crawlers out and about on weekends. “I went to New York City often visiting all these ramen places,” she tells me. “It’s kind of a trend right now… a lot of people waiting in line.”

Modeled on Japan’s izakayas (after-work gastropubs), Anaya’s late-night ramen is a must-try. Made by Kaoraptham herself, the standard broth is made from bone marrow simmered for 10 hours. Variants include Spicy Miso, Tokyo Shoyu and Miso-Shio Sapporo Style, all priced at $8.95.

After spending most of the day on the stove, the umami-rich broth is ready for noodling. The noodles are thin but their dough has a bite, making them a tactile pleasure to chew. They can be ordered with beef, pork, chicken, tofu or vegetable (avocado—technically a fruit—and seaweed). And—surprise—the menu comes inside an upbeat, quotable card.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that the ramen is so good, given that noodles put Kaoraptham in her element. Some ten years ago, she opened the York Street Noodle House around the corner. The more casual and very affordably priced Noodle House is still going strong, and while Kaoraptham wanted to try something new with Anaya Sushi, it seems she’s also leaning back to her roots.

“I’m in the noodle world,” she says. “I couldn’t get away from noodles.”

Anaya Sushi
1150 Chapel St, New Haven (map)
Mon-Thurs 11:30am-4pm & 5-10pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-10pm & 11pm-3am
(203) 891-6716
Facebook | Midnight Ramen

Written and photographed by Daniel Shkolnik. Photo 3 depicts, from left, owner Soraya Kaoraptham and manager Vitri Putra.

More Stories