Author Archives: Kat Odell

Vegan World Celebrity Chef Will Open a Mexican Spot in the East Village

Source: Eater NY

Bar Verde is one of two restaurants Matthew Kenney is opening this fall

Self-anointed “world’s leading plant-based chef” Matthew Kenney is opening two restaurants back to back this fall: He’s following up hard-to-read XYST on November 1, with the more straightforward Bar Verde, a vegan Mexican restaurant in the East Village.

This will be the third restaurant for Kenney, who rose to prominence following Irving Place’s embroiled but now defunct Pure Food + Wine. Bar Verde will debut in the East Village, next door to 00 + Co. with the same address as the vegan pizza shop he opened on ...

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The Cocktail Heatmap: Where to Drink Right Now, September 2017

Source: Eater NY

Bottoms up

Welcome to the Cocktail Heatmap, a guide to the hottest drinking dens of the moment with info like where grab a cocktail with green bell pepper, a refreshing version of a bloody mary, or an Old Fashioned with coffee. For our guide to New York’s top cocktail bars (both old and new), check out this list.

Added in September: Caffe Marchio, Claro, The Lost Lady, Tokyo Record Bar, Until Tomorrow

Added in August: Fairfax, The Pool Lounge, Pilot, Sen Sakana

Note: Restaurants are listed by geography, south to north in Manhattan, north to south in ...

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One of Vegan World’s Biggest Celebrities Plans a New NYC Restaurant

Source: Eater NY

It’s called XYST, or “Exist”

Self-described “world’s leading plant-based chef” Matthew Kenney of Irving Place’s embroiled yet now defunct Pure Food + Wine will open XYST in early November. The restaurant will debut in conjunction with Yves Jadot Restaurant Group, behind Raines Law Room, Dear Irving, and The Bennett in the Petite Abeille space at 44 West 17th Street.

The 80-seat restaurant with indoor and patio seating will offer a menu of Mediterranean share plates plus family-style vegetable preps, like avocado with preserved lemon, radish, and tomato jam; za’atar roasted carrots with pistachio yogurt; and Tunisian-spiced squash ...

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Former Ichimura Spot Serving Kappo-Style Menu

Source: Eater NY

Shoji at 69 Leonard Street debuts September 20

Additional details now in on that Ichimura revamp: Proprietor Idan Elkon has indeed renamed his cozy Tribeca space Shoji at 69 Leonard Street, helmed by New York-native Derek Wilcox, who will plate a kappo-style menu, featuring 16 to 18 courses built of both kaiseki and Edomae sushi (which includes steamed, fried, simmered, raw, and grilled preparations). The $210 menu is down from Ichimura’s $300 price.

Elkon confirms that Wilcox will remain at the restaurant for at least the next six months, and possibly longer. He says he decided to ...

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Wd~50 Alum Opens Izakaya-Inspired Restaurant This Week

Source: Eater NY

It’s a Kips Bay spot from John McCarthy

The wd~50 alum John McCarthy, owner of The Crimson Sparrow in Hudson upstate, will open Oka: his interpretation of Japanese izakaya on August 23. But don’t come in looking for a traditional Japanese bar experience.

“Technically, there is very little [Japanese] authenticity to the menu or space,” says McCarthy. As one would find at an izakaya — where small plates complement booze —McCarthy’s dishes call for various cooking techniques (frying, fermentation, raw) and are inspired by what he’s tried abroad.

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16 Outstanding Japanese Tasting Menus That Go Beyond Sushi

Source: Eater NY

An omakase can mean more than just sushi

Domestically, we most commonly use omakase to describe sushi experiences in which one sits at a bar before a chef who decides the day’s menu. But those who have dined in Japan know that an omakase meal can center around numerous different foods, from yakitori to tempura to wagyu beef.

Japanese tasting menus come in various forms. For example, kappo-style is when a diner sits at a chef’s counter and watches a chef prepare a multi-course set menu — which can involve both raw and cooked dishes, some simple, others more ...

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Sushi Yasuda Alum Takes Over a New West Village Omakase Restaurant

Source: Eater NY

Omakase Room by Tatsu opens next week

A veteran of lauded Midtown restaurant Sushi Yasuda will soon be helming the bar of a new eight-seat, 500 square-foot omakase restaurant downtown.

Omakase Room by Tatsu, named for the decade-long Yasuda vet Tatsuya Sekiguchi who’s taken over the space, will open Wednesday, July 12. It’s under ownership of The Group, the team behind West Village restaurants Boucherie, Dominique Bistro, and Olio e Piu. They’ve rejiggered the pricey, short-lived micro sushi bar Akashi at 14 Christopher Street into a more affordable restaurant.

That said, it’s still $120 for the omakase menu, down ...

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These May Be the Biggest Japanese Restaurant Openings of the Year

Source: Eater NY

Midtown’s Mifune and Sushi Amane bring in two Michelin-starred chefs

Mifune (245 East 44th Street), the Japanese restaurant which houses the most important sushi counter to hit New York this year, is slated to debut in the next two weeks. In the same building there’s Sushi Amane, the 8-seat subterranean omakase counter helmed by Shion Uino— second-in-command at Tokyo’s Sushi Saito, the bar with three Michelin stars many regard as the best sushi in Tokyo — will follow. Both are current hosting friends and family.


Split between a ground floor dining room and a lower level, Mifune ...

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Sushi Ishikawa Drops Affordable Omakase on UES Next Week

A former O Ya New York executive chef mans the restaurant

Come June 7, former O Ya New York executive chef Don Pham will debut Sushi Ishikawa, a reasonably-priced, 500-square foot omakase-only sushi bar on the Upper East Side.

Slated to serve two seasonal omakase menus priced at $85 for 12 nigiri bites or $125 for 15 nigiri bites, the 23-seat restaurant at 419 East 74th Street is equipped with room for 11 at the bar, presided over by Pham and a sous chef. It will not serve a la carte sushi.

Pham says he’s sourcing fish from around the world, though there’s a clear focus on Japanese waters. While his maguro (blue fin) originates in Spain, kengani (hairy crab) and mama tako (live octopus) land in New York by way of Hokkaido. His uni arrives via Kyushu.

Sushi Ishikawa Drops Affordable Omakase on UES Next Week
Sushi Ishikawa

In the last two years, Manhattan has experienced a swell of spendy sushi spots which, thanks to a price point of over $200 per person, lands these bars in the special occasion dining category. Though Pham will garnish certain bites with Russian Osetra caviar, he’s aiming for his first solo effort to be more of a neighborhood place, hence his reasonable cost.

The Upper East Side is no stranger to omakase dining. Sushi Ishikawa will have to contend with nearby darling Tanoshi Sushi, another vendor of affordable omakase dining, in addition to Los Angeles export Sasabune. Also in the nabe are Sushi of Gari, Sushi Seki, with newbie Suzuki a bit farther south.

The Cocktail Heatmap: Where to Drink Right Now, August 2017

Source: Eater NY

Bottoms up

Welcome to the Cocktail Heatmap, a guide to the hottest drinking dens of the moment with info like where grab a cocktail with green bell pepper, a refreshing version of a bloody mary, or an Old Fashioned with coffee. For our guide to New York’s top cocktail bars (both old and new), check out this list.

Added in August: Fairfax, The Pool Lounge, Pilot, Sen Sakana

Note: Restaurants are listed by geography, south to north in Manhattan, north to south in Brooklyn

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David Bouhadana Drops Sushi Counter Next Week With Space for Pop-Up Chefs

Source: Eater NY

The acclaimed sushi chef debuts Sushi by Bou on Monday

Former Sushi Dojo captain and gloveless crusader David Bouhadana will debut his next Japanese engagement next Monday, May 15. Sushi by Bou claims an eight-seat counter within Meatpacking’s Gansevoort Market, although Bouhadana will only serve his omakase to diners at the bar’s front four seats. At the remaining four, a rotating roster of guest sushi chefs will pop-up and present an entirely different menu to customers along the bar’s left side. That area will be Sushi by Bae.

Sushi by Bou

Within Gansevoort Market, Bouhadana will continue to ...

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Where to Find Cocktails That Won’t Get You Hammered

Source: Eater NY

Drink up

These days, it’s not terribly challenging to find sophisticated cocktails made from lower-proof liquors, part of a growing pursuit of a mellower buzz. Here’s a collection of New York’s top haunts that dedicate entire (or partial) cocktail menus to low-abv (alcohol by volume) drinks.

Note: Restaurants are listed based on geography, starting with lower Manhattan and then down through Brooklyn.

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KazuNori, Hand Roll Sensation from Sugarfish, Debuts on Friday

Source: Eater NY

Prepare for five-hour lines

The team behind white-hot Los Angeles omakase export Sugarfish will roll out its second fish concept, KazuNori. The hand-roll bar, with two SoCal outlets, hits Nomad (15 W. 28th St.) on Friday with a 24-seat bar and both a la carte and set-menu options like three to six hand rolls per order, in combinations that include toro, yellowtail, snapper, and crab.

According to partner Lele Massimi, the company picked Nomad because they “love the neighborhood’s vibe and love that it’s also a food-centric destination.”

Just like Sugarfish — the group’s affordable, quality-minded sushi chainlet which ...

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Suzuki, Spiritual Successor to Sushi Zen, Opens This Month

Source: Eater NY

Two dining experiences and a bar from Yuta and Toshio Suzuki

Longtime New Yorkers know the importance of the 30-year old Sushi Zen — the pioneer in serving raw fish that closed last year. Owner Toshio Suzuki is a New York sushi legend, having trained acclaimed chefs like Masaharu Morimoto and one of the few people in New York to offer fugu, the deadly pufferfish. Now he’s back, with his son Yuta, opening Suzuki at 114 West 47th Street in Midtown by mid-March.

The new Suzuki encompasses three separate dining venues plus a private dining room, all linked by ...

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5 Drinks to Try Right Now in New York City

Source: Eater NY

Here are some drinks to try over the holiday weekend ahead

For One Last Taste of Fall…

Head to: Lalo, former El Rey chef Gerardo Gonzalez’s hip California-styled café that doesn’t shy away from unsung flavor mashups.

Drink: Milk Punch ($13, pictured above), the classic clarified milk drink, is spiked with rum and bourbon, reminding us through star anise and persimmon of the season that just passed.


For a Quick Trip to the Tropics…

5 Drinks to Try Right Now in New York City
[The diver down from Speedy Romeo; courtesy of Speedy Romeo]

Head to: Speedy Romeo, the unfussy pizza joint — which now counts two locations ...

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5 Drinks to Try Right Now in New York City

Source: Eater NY

Where to drink and what to order this weekend.

As the warm weather draws to an end, bartenders around the city are serving the summer’s final slushies and glasses of rosé, while others are beginning to mix and muddle fall flavors into liquid submission. Below, five ways to sign out one season, and ring in the next.

To feel Like a Kid Again

5 Drinks to Try Right Now in New York City

Image courtesy of The Eddy.

Head To: The Eddy, one of the East Village’s coziest New American nooks, is a place for creative cocktails, too. 
Drink: Boba, Bubble, Tea ($15) is an adult play on the popular ...

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Sushi Dojo’s David Bouhadana Is Back With NY’s First Outdoor Sushi Bar

Source: Eater NY

Those still lamenting sushi chef David Bouhadana‘s abrupt depart from hit East Village omakase bar Sushi Dojo will be pleased to know that he’s back … sort of. But his latest venture is separate from Sushi Bouhadana, the 12-seat omakase bar and whiskey lounge on Eldridge he plans to debut in October. Last Friday, Bouhadanaalong with partner Derek Feldmansoft opened Sushi on Jones, a four seat, outdoor omakase bar pop-up in Noho’s new micro food alley, The Bowery Market. But wait — here’s the catch. While Bouhadana created the menu and ...

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5 Cocktails to Try in New York Right Now

Source: Eater NY

A cheap ticket to Rio is just an uber away. Spiked with sherry, of course. And what happens when Mexico rethinks the negroni? Below, five great cocktails happening in New York right now.

If You Like Jack and Coke

5 Cocktails to Try in New York Right Now

Photo by Matty Kim.

Head To: Salvation Burger, is the place for chef April Bloomfield’s (The Spotted Pig) reinvented Americana farewhich mostly translates to great burgers and a few extras, like an awesome spiralized vegetable salad.

Drink: Whiskey & Cola ($14): Better ingredients bring this bar basic to a new level.

[Note: Salvation Burger is ...

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Los Angeles Sushi Darlings Sugarfish and KazuNori Are New York-Bound

Source: Eater NY

The sushi chainlet has a cult following

Huge news for sushi fanatics: After years of speculation and at least one failed knockoff Los Angeles’ beloved omakase sushi chainlet Sugarfish is heading east. And along for the ride comes newer hand roll specialist, KazuNori.

Here’s the deal: Four and a half years after scouting spaces in Manhattan, the Sugarfish team of OG Los Angeles chef Kazunori Nozawa (Sushi Nozawa) and partner Jerry Greenberg have signed a lease near Gramercy Tavern to take two floors at 33 E. 20th Street, currently Moore Brothers Wine Company (which will relocate to ...

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Five Cocktails to Try in New York Right Now

Source: Eater NY

Boozy New York happenings that you should know about include matcha cocktails, pisco, and many avenues of coconut. Below, the proof is in the glass.

To Pretend You’re Drinking Something Healthy

Five Cocktails to Try in New York Right Now

Head To: Osteria Morini, because the Michael White haunt is so much more than prosciutto and pasta.

Drink: Sweet Leaf ($15) is a take on the classic sour, and a playful step toward spring. Matchathe de rigueur anti-oxidant-rich ingredient for beverages hot and cold—is matched with sage and lime, further accented by Oxley gin botanicals.

Photo by Nick Solares.

Five Cocktails to Try in New York Right Now

Head To: Llama Inn, the ...

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5 Drinks to Try Right Now in New York City

Source: Eater NY

Where to drink and what to order this weekend.

It’s one of the most popular drinking days of the year: Thanksgiving Eve. So, if you’re kicking it around Manhattan and keen to try some seasonal, tiki, or Japanese-flavored libations, here’s where to start.

FOR A SEASONAL GROWNUP SLUSHIE

Head To: Leyenda, the newish Brooklyn addition from cocktail dream team Julie Reiner (Clover Club) and Ivy Mix (Tales of the Cocktail’s Best Bartender in America, 2015), celebrates spirits and plates from Latin America.

Drink: The Headless Horseman ($12) bridges the gap from summer to fall. This fiery yet frozen take on ...

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Black Tree Goes Whole Hog (And Other Animals) Every Week on the LES

Source: Eater NY

Welcome back to The Green Scene, a series in which Eater Editorial Producer Kat Odell unearths delicious healthy restaurants throughout the city that endorse a sustainable lifestyle.

The most remarkable fact about Black Tree, a rustic Orchard Street restaurant and bar that celebrates protein-centric local and seasonal food, is that co-owner and chef Sandy Dee Hall had just four months of culinary practice before throwing open his Lower East Side doors. Crazy, but true. Prior, Hall spent a handful of years moonlighting as a bartender, though it wasn’t until he took a serving position at The Breslin four years ...

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Suzume, Dropping Japanese-Hawaiian Flavor Bombs on Williamsburg

Welcome to Eating Japanese, a series in which Eater Editorial Producer Kat Odell explores the city’s collection of unsung Japanese restaurants and bars.

Upon casual inspection, there’s not much evidence that an Asian restaurant inhabits 545 Lorimer Street in Williamsburg. Very little Japanese signage decorates the place and, if anything, Suzume looks cozy and weathered enough to qualify as a neighborhood stalwart that’s been around for at least the last decade. But, enter at 5 p.m. and the telltale sign is the biting aroma of seasoned sushi rice that permeates the air.

Grab a stool from the polished walnut bar that claims almost half Suzume’s 650-square feet of wiggle room  peruse through some Japanese and American beers, rice wine and grape wine, and a flurry of tropical sounding libations flavored with ingredients like coconut water, passionfruit, and calamansi and the place comes into focus.

As he tells it, chef and co-owner Michael Briones was at an impasse with cooking, and had put down his knife for about six years prior to opening Suzume. The native Hawaiian (though of Filipino descent) had returned home to surf and play drums in a wedding band, and after exhausting financial resources, he returned to New York unsure where to look next. But he had a more than solid resume to fall back on. Briones had cooked at Bond Street during its heyday, then decamped to work with chef John Sundstrom of Lark restaurant in Seattle. He eventually moved on to help open lauded modern sushi restaurant Uchi in Austin. So when Briones returned to New York, two job opportunities landed on the table. He could be a food runner at Momofuku Noodle Bar or make sushi at Masa. But those crazy Masa hours didn’t much appeal to him, so he went the Momo route, first running food, then working as an expediter there for the next five years. Through a mutual friend, he linked up with Sam Barron, a carpenter and industry vet (Maggie Brown, The Emerson Bar) looking for his next project.

Briones and Barron almost signed a lease in Clinton Hill before finding a better suited site in a former dry cleaner on Lorimer Street in Williamsburg. They snagged the tiny space, gutted it, and dumped every last quarter into the build. Barron fashioned the place from top to bottom, and two years ago in January 2013 it opened as Suzume.

“If I had told my partner I was going to open a restaurant dedicated to Hawaiian mall food, he would have never partnered with me,” says Briones with a smile. And while there’s some truth in that statement, with dishes on the menu inspired by foods served at Waikiki’s Ala Moana mall, Suzume is much more than that. Sure, the prices are totally affordable with nothing over $11, but much of the staff here is comprised of Momofuku alumni who bring over a strong sense of professionalism.

Despite Suzume’s concise list of dishes, the range of options is broad. It reads Japanese-Hawaiian, with all the usual suspects: poke, spam musubi, ramen, and sushi. But Briones says he’s serving “food that represents the Asian diaspora,” and since he comes from a Filipino background, there’s some of that influence mixed in as well.

Suzume’s tacos, of which there are three, are served on fried wonton skins and filled with fish, pork, or chicken. The latter is inspired by a Filipino chicken adobo dish, while the pork is like a Hawaiian Kalua pork. In the past he’s served sinigang, a traditional Filipino sour tamarind-based stewy soup with veggies and a variety of proteins. Calamansi, a popular Filipino citrus fruit that looks like a lime but tastes sort of like a sour orange, is a flavoring agent in the Lady Mabel cocktail, along with tequila and Fernet-Branca.

While Briones is open to employees sharing ideas for food and drink, Suzume’s core menu is pretty set. Most popular are his ramens: the YaoYao Ramen based on a traditional tonkatsu pork broth, and a lighter Roasted Salmon Ramen. The YaoYao Ramen is loosely based off the sesame ramen served at lauded Hawaiian ramen-ya Goma Tei at Ala Moana, with sesame notes in the broth and the finishing oil inspired by the oils that sit on top of Goma Tei’s soups.

The salmon ramen, as well as Briones’ poke,sushi, and rolls, all use responsibly caught and local fish when possible, though it’s harder to go local in the winter. Suzume’s sushi is anything but Edo-style traditional. It’s made from fresh, high quality fish, but often dressed with unexpected flavors, like the calamansi ramp vinaigrette found in the salmon poke. There are also California and crunchy-spicy tuna rolls, because as Briones explains, “I just want to make stuff people like, I am not trying to jam anything down anyone’s throat.” As further evidenced by his excellent spicy butter chicken wings (watch out Andy Ricker) and Chinese-style glazed ribs, he’s serving unfussy but thoughtful food with integrity.

“Suzume” is Japanese for “Sparrow.” Which, actually, wasn’t the name after which Briones and Barron were initially planning to name their restaurant. They wanted the Japanese word for “Swallow.” But, when they found out “Suzume” had a different meaning, they had already decided they liked the name and decided to keep it. “We found the name via pure mistranslation … and it’s totally in the spirit of this place,” Briones adds. “Everyone mispronounces it and I am totally into it.”