Spring is Here

Monday, April 2, 2018

Spring is here, and with it comes exciting new Japanese restaurants. Among them is Basement, the 39-seat omakase place Masa Takayama has been cooking up beneath his Tribeca restaurant Tetsu. It features “unusual proteins” including whole squab, A5-grade Wagyu beef and whole fish. This is the chef who charges $595 at his Time Warner Center flagship though, so don’t expect bargain-basement prices.

High-end omakase is also coming to the Upper East Side this month, courtesy of Sushi Noz. The restaurant is the brainchild of brothers Josh and David Foulquier, Upper East Side natives and Dalton alums. The pair will be serving a $300 per person tasting menu in collaboration with chef Nozomu Abe, formerly of Sushiden. David is no stranger to the restaurant business: Fooqs, the French/Persian restaurant he opened in Miami three years ago, has been so successful that it landed him on the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Nor is he a stranger to Japanese cooking. David attended the Tokyo Sushi Academy, where he and his brother fell in love with traditional edomae cuisine, and vowed to bring an authentic version to New York. It was through a sushi teacher there that they heard about Abe.

Particular attention has been paid to the restaurant’s interior. “We went to extreme lengths with this design,” explains Foulquier. “The bar is made of an incredibly soft 200-year-old Hinoki cypress. There is no veneer or wax. Ninety percent of the customers won’t know what it is, but it gives off an intoxicating aroma.”

Mifune opened in July, but if you haven’t gotten there yet, it’s worth a trip. Chef Yuu Shimano, who worked in the kitchen of the three-Michelin-starred Guy Savoy in Paris until 2015 and then in the kitchen of famed Louis XIII, is turning out distinctive Japanese fare with a French flair from his midtown kitchen. He adds Parmesan foam to his miso-marinated black cod and presents kombu-marinated fluke with lemon ginger confiture.

Ron Rosselli, the former executive chef at the Standard Grill and chef de cuisine at Locanda Verde, has an impressive pedigree. And he’s been turning out impressive food since taking over the reins at the Union Square Hyatt’s new restaurant, Bowery Road, last spring. “Fourth Avenue used to be called Bowery Road in the late 1800s when it led from Stuyvesant farm into the city,” Rosselli says of the name. “We liked it because we are using a lot of market-based items.” He is presenting an American concept with international accents. Slow-roasted pork adobo marries

Mexican and Filipino flavors, combining guajillo chilies with soy and ginger and serving the dish with paper-thin corn crepes. There are healthy offerings as well, like a grain bowl with farro, quinoa and lentils, and a spring salad of asparagus, snap peas, shaved radish and carrot, finished with whipped feta. The chef also has a sense of humor. He is serving Blooming Mushroom, a take on Outback Steakhouse’s notorious “Bloomin’ Onion.” It’s more elegant than its inspiration: tempura-coated hen-of-the-woods finished with togarashi spice. And this season, he’s added whole roast lamb and pig.

The stove is finally on at Café Bilboquet! Philippe Delgrange has expanded his Bilboquet empire with Café Bilboquet, which opened last summer a few doors down from the original. Although it began serving coffee and pastries like fresh croissants, eclairs, tarte tatin and pain au chocolat, it has now introduced salads, homemade quiches, mini brioche sandwiches with foie gras or smoked salmon, and croques-monsieur. Bread is baked fresh twice a day, and ambitious breakfast selections include scrambled eggs with avocado, smoked salmon or truffle confit, and eggs with duck confit or spinach and goat cheese. And at night, the café now transforms into a wine bar.

Scarpetta has reemerged, leaving its longtime home in the Meatpacking District for larger and spiffier digs in NoMad. In its first week at its new location, it was already action-packed, hosting a pre-Grammys event, a fashion week soiree and an impromptu appearance by Justin Timberlake. While there are plenty of new dishes, like ash-crusted venison with quince puree, toasted farro, Brussels sprouts and cranberries, don’t worry—spaghetti with tomato and basil is still on the menu!

A couple of blocks north, Raz Shabtai, the former sous chef at Mideastern juggernaut Nur, has opened his own place, Basta. Try the Tunisian, thinly rolled dough stuffed with fish and spices and served with dough enveloping sunchokes, potato and poached egg, or the Wizard of Marrakesh, a hat-shaped pasta stuffed with Morrocan spiced vegetable stew.



78 Leonard Street

New York, NY 10013 




62 East 34th Street

New York, NY 10016


Bowery Road

132 Fourth Avenue

New York, NY 10003



Café Bilboquet

26 East 60th Street

New York, NY 10022



245 East 44th Street

New York, NY 10017




88 Madison Avenue

New York, NY 10016



Sushi Noz

181 East 78th Street

New York, NY 10075



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