The flurry of Japanese exports laying down roots in NYC takes a high-end turn with the arrival of Okuda, courtesy of Chef/owner Toru Okuda. Fresh on the heels of launching successful branches in Tokyo and Paris, he turns to Executive Chef Mitsuhiro Endo to carry out his vision of refinement, elegance and seasonality here in Chelsea.
In the realm of traditional kaiseki cuisine, this kitchen pays tribute to the seasons down to the detail, offering a style so nuanced you’ll want to note each element to fully appreciate the chef’s every sensibility. Meticulous handiwork, delicate knife cuts and ingredient sourcing (from Japan and more local environs) all come together to produce an enchanting experience.
Hidden in plain sight, the small, sleek space feels private, with a seven-seat, chef-facing counter that requires reservations. The food is truly the star though, commencing with buttery sheets of barely cooked Wagyu shabu-shabu style, paired with luscious Maine uni as well as yuba in dashi. Then silver-skinned sea perch may follow with a chewy mochi ball. At the end, miso-glazed mackerel is elevated with creamy potato and crisp lotus root spiced with togarashi and pickled turnip.