NYU students, nostalgic Greenwich Village residents, and passionate fans of cheap Japanese comfort food alike will all be mourning today with news that Dojo has been shuttered. We'll always have (the memories of) their addictive carrot-ginger dressing.
Dojo, which was located at 14 W 4th Street for over two decades, was shut down by the Department of Health on September 13th after getting 62 violation points (most notably, "evidence of mice"). It's since been cleared out entirely, and its phones are not working anymore. (All the signage is gone as well.)
The inexpensive, no-frills restaurant had been a favorite of locals, students and frugal diners since it opened in 1991, especially after the original sister location on St. Marks (which first opened in the mid-1970s) closed in 2007.
This wasn't the first time it seemed Dojo was doomed—back in 2013, it was reported it would be closing due to a rent hike. Instead, it underwent a extensive renovations and reopened the next year with a fancy new upscale look and a slightly changed menu.
"We have been here just over twenty years," owner Tony Yoshida told us at the time. "So we are changing the whole thing, the ambiance, everything." A year later, it got nailed by the Health Department for 50 violation points in an inspection (which it covered up with a conveniently placed flag).
Besides the cheap eats, the so-so service, the incredibly creepy bathroom, and the many hours spent loitering inside the restaurant with friends, the thing most people know, care, and will miss about the restaurant is that damn delicious dressing. They even took credit for the popularization of that carrot-ginger creation in general: "Speaking of being on the cutting edge, Dojo East introduced the Dojo Dressing in 1973. Its popularity led to imitation dressings all over the city (but Dojo's recipe will always be the original, the best, and kept a secret)."
— Sam Sifton (@SamSifton) October 25, 2018
I honestly can't remember one thing I ate at Dojo (and I ate there a lot) but I can't forget the taste of the carrot-ginger dressing. Weird.
— Jason Diamond (@imjasondiamond) October 25, 2018
It's sad watching every place I went & loved in my NYC decade close, but I'll particularly miss Dojo's carrot-ginger dressing, which I've been trying to recreate at home for years. I guess I really live in Philly now and New York is going on without me. https://t.co/DdlWe87RSn
— Retown (@Retown) October 25, 2018
A cash-strapped NYU student institution! I still have dreams about that carrot-ginger dressing... https://t.co/3RJYMm9PdU— Boo D. Curse 👻 (@JudyKurtz) October 25, 2018
What?! This was my go-to when I lived in the Village. Will pour out some carrot-ginger dressing in honor (snif) https://t.co/80AGiXURdT
— Shaila Manyam (@ShailaManyam) October 25, 2018