Well, we've found one for you.
On a small block in the East Village, look for an unmarked front with a woven placemat in the window, on which is handwritten "Uminoie." Inside you'll find a ramshackle little gem of a restaurant with fish nets and brick—think seaside hut meets Japanese kitchen (uminoie means "beach bar" in Japanese).
Behind a humble counter (complete with household pots and pans, family photos and Tupperware laying around), you'll find a cute Japanese girl named Mika who's leisurely whipping up tasty dishes. The menu proclaims "$9 minimum per person including drinks," which might have you wondering if you're still in New York.
Mika and co-chef Mutsumi haven't a day of professional restaurant experience between them—but that's probably why everything tastes so good. The hearty, authentic Japanese hot dishes are small, simple and tasty, so load up (the daily specials are always good picks). But the real way to go is the chef's tasting menu for just $30—Mika will send out a feast of "whatever she feels like" (just like Mom). Everything tastes like home...well, if your home is Goto, Japan.
Which might not sound like a bad move all of a sudden.