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A place you can enjoy various kinds of Japanese local sake and cuisine to the fullest

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A place you can enjoy various... A place you can enjoy various... A place you can enjoy various... A place you can enjoy various... A place you can enjoy various... A place you can enjoy various... A place you can enjoy various... A place you can enjoy various...
By Aya Ota

Its unique exterior; walls without windows, which make it impossible to peek in, and the thick and heavy door, both of which remind you of a kura (an old-fashioned Japanese building for storage); catches your eyes. This is “Sakagura East Village” which opened its door in September of 2018. As soon as you step inside, its gracious interior space decorated with plentiful of woods and stones, and a small Japanese garden-like space open up in front of you, and you feel as if you suddenly stepped into another world.

“I want to pursue the basics of Japanese food culture. I want people to fully enjoy various kinds of Japanese local sake with authentic Japanese cuisine,” says Bon Yagi, CEO of T.I.C. Group. This Group’s motto is “Enjoy Japan without Airfare (You can enjoy authentic Japanese tastes and ambiences without actually going there)”. From true traditional Japanese foods such as sushi and soba to more current foods like curry and ramen, street foods such as takoyaki and rice burgers, Japanese sake bars and tea salons, a total of as many as 13 different kinds of business models are forming their 20 plus Japanese restaurants under the operation of this Group. It would not be an exaggeration to say that he is the person who has been making the history of New York’s Japanese cuisine scene for the last 40 plus years. He was awarded for his contribution. He was selected as one of the 5 winners in the world for the Minister's Award for Overseas Promotion of Japanese Food in 2018.

This place is positioned as a sister restaurant of “Sakagura” in Midtown, which has been running as a popular restaurant where the high number of customers has been sustained for more than 20 years, however, this place deserves more than positioned as the second location of a popular restaurant because it is filled with its own charms.

The person, who creates gracious dishes with plentiful seasonal ingredients imported from all over Japan, is Masaru Kajihara, Executive Chef. He has been displaying his skills at notable kaiseki restaurants in both Japan and the US, such as “Suzuki” in Tsukiji, Tokyo, and “Kyoya”, a New York Times 3-starred restaurant. The “Sakagura Omakase Course” is offered only at the East Village location. The first item of the course, the “Pintxo with Truffled Chicken Pâté and Pepitas on Rice Bread”, specially baked bread with cooked rice mixed in the dough, surprises you. The “Carpaccio Medley” is accentuated with ponzu gelee and salted konbu. The “Wagyu Ishiyaki”, served with sizzling sound and aroma, pleases your five senses fully. To show their particularity about rice and miso, the Japanese cuisine basics, a kamameshi, cooked super high-quality rice from Uonuma, Niigata, with a lot of seafood such as scallops, Snow crab meat, etc., is served accompanied by miso soup using uki-koji miso and nukazuke style pickled vegetables to finish the course.

The Japanese sake selection of nearly 100 different brands from about 80 breweries have been carefully selected by Ryoma Miki, General Manger/sake sommelier. There is even a premium kind of sake you cannot find anywhere else. Recommended pairing with the omakase course is well accepted, and it impresses you even more when the sake that matches each dish perfectly is served in each appropriate container that matches the sake. Many sake connoisseurs visits “Sakagura” which carries the most selection of sake in New York, and they like to order unique brands such as Nama-zake, Kimoto, and Yamahai. The casks of sake piled up high by the wall at the deep end of the restaurant are donated by the breweries from all over Japan. This display shows their passion and aspiration to convey enthusiasms of brewery owners and masters of sake brewers of each brand, and to represent characteristics of each sake to as many people as possible.

A unique event called “Taste of Japan” which started to realize their hope to introduce Japanese local cooking specialties, is particularly noteworthy. Every other month, one of Japan’s regions is picked, and a special menu is created and offered featuring the picked region’s local specialty food and their local sake. For the first time of this regular event, Niigata prefecture was picked, and the highest-quality Uonuma-made rice and miso made by Hakkaisan brewery was used. They are planning to continue this event featuring prefectures such as Nagano, Hyogo, Miyagi, etc. in this respective order.

One big difference of this place from the Midtown location is its interior space. You can sit alone at the counter, you can enjoy and relax in a semi-private space with a friend, or you can even bring a group of 20 to use a private space for a large group. This place can accommodate almost any situation. There are plenty of spaces among the tables, and they are creating an ambience which draw a line between them and other casual and noisy East Village restaurant.
 
“Sakagura East Village” which is like a concentration of the wonderfulness of Japanese food culture, is definitely the kind of restaurant you want to visit again and again.


日本各地の地酒と郷土料理を心ゆくまで楽しめる

窓がなく中を伺い知ることのできない壁に、重厚感ある扉…まさに蔵を思わせる外観に目を奪われる。ここは2018年9月に開店した『酒蔵イーストビレッジ』。一歩足を踏み入れると、木や石をふんだんに使った端正な内装や日本庭園を思わせる箱庭が広がり、一瞬にして別世界になる。

「日本食文化の原点を追求したい。日本各地の地酒を、本格的な和食とともに堪能してほしい」と語るのはT.I.C.グループ最高経営責任者、八木秀峰氏。同グループのモットーは「日本に行かなくても本格的な日本の味や雰囲気を楽しめる」ということ。寿司や蕎麦など本格派和食から、カレーやラーメンなどの現代的和食、たこ焼きやライスバーガーなどのストリートフード、日本酒バーや日本茶サロンなど、実に13種類もの業態で約20店舗もの日本食店を経営している。40年以上の長きにわたり、ニューヨークの日本食の歴史を作ってきた人物と言っても過言ではない。その功績が認められ、2018年には、農林水産省の日本食海外普及功労者表彰受賞者として世界5人のうちの1人に選出された。

同店は、ミッドタウン地区で20年以上も客足が衰えることのない人気店『酒蔵』の姉妹店という位置づけではあるが、単なる2号店にとどまらない魅力にあふれている。

日本各地から取り寄せた四季折々の食材をふんだんに取り入れ、端正な味を作り出すのは料理長の梶原勝氏。東京・築地の『すず木』やニューヨーク・タイムズ三つ星『饗屋』など日米の会席料理店で腕を奮ってきたシェフだ。「酒蔵おまかせコース」はイーストビレッジ店のみの展開。はじめに登場する「お米のパンの鶏トリュフピンチョ」は炊いたごはんを練り込んだ特製のパンに驚かされる。「五種の旨味カルパッチョ」は、ポン酢ジュレや塩昆布がアクセント。ジュージューと音と香りを立てて運ばれてくる「和牛石焼き」は五感をフルに楽しませてくれる。日本食の原点であるコメと味噌にこだわり、〆の一品は、新潟県魚沼産の最高級米にホタテやズワイガニなど海産物をふんだんに炊き込んだ釜飯に、浮き麹味噌を使った味噌汁、ぬか漬けが登場する。

約80の蔵から約100種類にも及ぶ日本酒ラインナップは、ジェネラルマネージャー兼酒ソムリエの三木龍馬氏が厳選したもので、同店にしかないプレミアム酒もある。おまかせコースとのペアリングも好評で、それぞれの料理と酒に合った酒器で飲めるのが感動を増す。ニューヨークで最も多くの日本酒を取りそろえる『酒蔵』には、日本酒通の客が多く、生酒、生酛、山廃など、個性ある酒が好まれるという。店内奥の壁を埋め尽くす一斗樽は、全国の蔵から提供されたものだ。「蔵元や杜氏の酒に対する熱い想い、ひとつひとつの酒に込められた個性を、できるだけ多くの人に伝えたい」という同店の心意気が現れている。

特に注目したいのは、日本各地の郷土料理を伝えたいという意図で開始した「Taste of Japan」という独自企画。約2カ月おきに、ひとつの都道府県に焦点を当て、郷土料理と地酒を組み合わせて楽しめるメニューを提供する。初回の新潟県特集でも、魚沼産の最高級米や八海山が醸造する味噌を取り入れた。この後、長野、兵庫、宮城…と続く予定だという。

ミッドタウン店との違いのひとつは内装だ。一人でカウンターに座ってもよいし、個室風に仕切った空間で二人でくつろぐのもいいし、最大20人で使える個室もあり、どんなシチュエーションにも対応できる。客席間隔もゆったりしており、カジュアルで賑やかな店が多いイーストビレッジ地区の中では、一線を画す雰囲気を醸し出している。
 
日本食文化のすばらしさが凝縮されたような『酒蔵イーストビレッジ』、何度も通いたくなる店だ。



Sakagura East Village
231 E 9th Street
New York, NY 10003
Tel: 212-979-9678
https://www.sakagura.com/eastvillage

Tue–Thu: 6:00PM–10:45PM
Fri & Sat: 6:00PM–11:45PM
#alljapannews #Japanese #sakagura #eastvillage #NY #sake

ワオ!と言っているユーザー

Replicating the worldview of the 1920’s in Japan, this bar proudly presents its lineup of not only its drinks, but also its meals.

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Replicating the... Replicating the... Replicating the... Replicating the... Replicating the... Replicating the... Replicating the... Replicating the...
By Aya Ota

In a street corner of the West Village where old buildings provide a classy ambience, you will find a richly thick wooden door. Once you step in, there is a space which gives you both nostalgic and new feelings at the same time. You feel as if you have gone back to a different era. This is “Bar Moga”, a cocktail bar which has replicated the images of 1920’s Japan.

“Moga” is short for modern girls. In the 1920’s in Japan (from the Taisho era to the early Showa era), brand-new cultures and fashions were being born one after another under the influences of the Western cultures. Young women at that time, who were leading the world of fashion, were called “Moga”. This bar which has replicated a unique and classic, yet also modern worldview of that time has been well received by New Yorkers, and is being visited by a lot of customers every day. The word, “Moga”, also symbolizes a better status for women in society, so many women, and women groups like to visit this bar.

The most popular items in this bar are its original cocktails. Those unique, and full-of-character cocktails contain Japan-made whiskey and shochu brands, and are accentuated by Japanese ingredients such as yuzu, shiso, shichimi, and yuzu-kosho. Those cocktails also have names such as “Naomi”, “Princess Mononoke”, “Kunoichi”, etc., to give Japan-like impacts. Many customers order Japanese whisky and sake brands. As for sake, “Iki na Onna (Tedorigawa Daiginjo)” brand is especially popular. They provide short and effective translations to Japanese sake brands that they carry, and the translation, “Lady Luck”, is extremely well-received.

This place is unique because, although being a drink bar, it also offers a very comprehensive food menu. Its concept is “Yoshoku comfort food”. For Japanese people, the place gives a nostalgic feel, which makes you reminisce of your childhood, and for Americans, it offers a new unknown genre. Takanori Akiyama, Executive Chef of “All Blue” Group which runs the restaurant, and Shintaro Eleazar Okuda, Chef de Cuisine, created many authentic Yoshoku menu items after multiple trials and errors.

The “Omu Rice ($18), their signature dish, is superb. When you slice into its top, soft-cooked egg omelet slowly runs out, and coats the chicken rice underneath. The house-made Demi-glace sauce has been created to offer the same quality and taste of Japan’s long-lasting Yoshoku restaurants. The chicken rice is flavored with the house Demi-Glace sauce with a touch of house ketchup, and the taste is loved by people of all ages. “Moga Mini Rice Burgers ($14)” is so surprisingly authentically made. Cooked rice mixed with potato starch is formed into the shape of buns, and Kobe beef, flavored with sweet and spicy teriyaki sauce is sandwiched between the buns. Shiso accentuates the burger, and gives it a refreshing taste. Sakura-buta pork is used for the katsu on the“Katsu Sando ($16)”, and they are the only restaurant in the East Coast that uses it. The thickly-sliced pork coated with raw panko, and fried slowly, is very tender, and the juice from the meat flows out and fills your mouth when you bite into it. The house miso katsu sauce that is a mixture of 5 different misos including Nagoya Haccho miso, has been cooked for 4 hours, and coats the fried pork katsu which is sandwiched between Japanese sandwich bread slices.

Every food menu item is addictingly delicious, and makes you want to order the same thing over and over again, but also want to try a different dish at the same time, making you suffer from the dilemma.

Some American customers ask whether they serve sushi, but they end up being satisfied once their concept is explained, and taste the food. They originally planned to serve a 70/30 drink/food percentage ratio, but the food menu is so popular, and now accounts for almost 40%.  

They pursue the Japan-like service as well. They want every customer to be sitting down, so sometimes, you have to wait outside. It is also nice that the jazz music they play in the restaurant is not loud, so you can talk comfortably.
I bet everybody mysteriously feels nostalgic, and comfortable in this stylish bar. I strongly suggest that you visit this place, and enjoy the non-routine and out-of-ordinary time.


日本の1920年代の世界観を再現…ドリンクだけでなく食事も自慢のバー
『Bar Moga』


古い建物が並び趣あるウェストヴィレッジの街の一角、重厚感ある木の扉を押して足を踏み入れると、懐かしさと新しさを同時に感じるような空間が広がる。まるで違う時代にタイムスリップしたかのようだ。ここは、日本の1920年代をイメージしたカクテルバー『Bar Moga』だ。

“Moga“とはモダンガールの略。日本では、1920年代(大正から昭和時代初期)に西洋文化の影響を受け、新しい文化やファッションが次々に生まれた。当時、その流行の最先端をいく若い女性たちのことを“Moga”と呼んだ。クラシックでもありモダンでもあるこの独特な世界観を再現したバーは、ニューヨーカーたちにも受け入れられ、連日多くの客で賑わっている。“Moga”は、女性の社会進出を象徴する言葉でもあることから、女性客や女性団体の利用も多いという。

 同店の一番人気はオリジナル・カクテルだ。日本産ウィスキーや焼酎を取り入れ、柚や紫蘇、七味や柚胡椒など和食材でアクセントを付けた個性あふれる内容だ。ネーミングも『Naomi』『Princess Mononoke』『Kunoichi』など日本らしさを印象づけている。日本産ウィスキーや日本酒を飲む客も多く、特に日本酒は『いきな女(手取川大吟醸)』が好まれる。同店では日本酒銘柄に気の利いた短い英訳を付けているが、「Lady Luck」という英語名が好評なようだ。

 同店はバーでありながら、食事メニューが充実しているのが特徴的だ。コンセプトは「日本の洋食」。日本人にとっては子供時代を思い出す懐かしさがあり、米国人客にとっては未知のジャンルだ。同店を運営するレストラングループ『All Blue』で総料理長を務める秋山剛徳氏と、同店の料理長を務める奥田慎太郎エレアザル氏が試行錯誤を重ね、一見カジュアルに見えるが、本格的な洋食メニューの数々を考案した。

シグニチャーの「オムライス」(18ドル)は絶品だ。ナイフを入れると半熟卵がとろりと流れ出し、チキンライスを包み込む。自家製のデミグラスソースは、日本の老舗洋食屋で提供されているような風味を追求した。チキンライスは、自家製デミグラスソースに、さらに自家製ケチャップを加え味付けしてあり、子供から大人まで愛される味だ。「ライスバーガー」(14ドル)はその本格ぶりに驚かされる。炊いたコメに片栗粉を混ぜてバンズ状に成形し、甘辛いテリヤキ風ソースで味付けした神戸牛を挟んでいる。紫蘇がアクセントになり、さっぱりと食べられる。「カツサンド」(16ドル)は、東海岸では唯一同店でしか使っていないというサクラブタを使用。生パン粉をつけてじっくりあげた豚肉は分厚いけれど柔らかく、一口頬張ると肉汁があふれ出る。名古屋の八丁味噌をはじめとする5種類の味噌を合わせて4時間かけて作る自家製の味噌カツソースに絡めて、日本の食パンで挟む。どれも、やみつきになる美味しさで、何度も同じメニューを食べたくなるし、他のメニューも頼んでみたいという葛藤に悩まされる。

 米国人客の中には「寿司はないか」と聞く客もいるというが、コンセプトを説明して食べてもらうと、誰もが満足するという。同店は、当初からドリンク70%、フード30%という割合で計画していたが、フードの人気が高く、今では、フードの割合が40%近くなっているということにも納得できる。
 
サービス面でも日本らしさを追求しており、客には必ず着席してもらうため、時には店の外に客が待つこともある。ジャズの音量も控えめで静かに話すことができるのもうれしい。

 不思議に誰もが懐かしさと居心地の良さを感じる、でもお洒落なバー。ぜひ足を運び非日常を味わってはいかがだろうか。



Bar Moga
128 W Houston Street
New York, NY 10012
Tel: 929-399-5853
www.barmoga.com
Sun-Thursday: 5PM-12AM
Fri-Sat: 5PM-2AM
#alljapannews #bar #moga #NY #shochu #sake #オムライス #katsu

ワオ!と言っているユーザー

A desire to create fans of Japan by spreading Yakitori to the world

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A desire to create fans of Jap... A desire to create fans of Jap... A desire to create fans of Jap... A desire to create fans of Jap... A desire to create fans of Jap...
By Aya Ota

Only after a year since they opened “MIFUNE New York” and “sushi AMANE” at the same time in the Midtown East area, Tokyo Restaurants Factory Inc. opened Toriko NY, the third Yakitori specialty restaurant, in the West Village District in late August of 2018, and is attracting a lot of attention.

“I already anticipate a huge potential,” says Hiroyuki Morishima, General Manager of the Overseas Business Division of the company. The “Toriko” is a successful business model among the high-end Japanese restaurant chains in Japan developed by Tokyo Restaurants Factory Inc. Its concept, “to enjoy Yakitori, which used to be inexpensive casual food culture, in a stylish and sophisticated ambience with wine”, caught on. Since the opening of its first restaurant in 2011, this chain has been growing steadily, and there are 15 of them in Tokyo and Osaka combined. They were sure that this “Toriko” concept would be well received in the dining scene of New York as well from the very beginning of the company’s plan to go to New York, and had been working on its realization. In the preparation of its opening, the experience and knowledge with the opening of “MIFUNE” somewhat helped them in terms of construction, certificates application, hiring etc., but they still experienced many difficulties in developing a completely different type of business model in a completely different geographical condition. As part of their marketing efforts, they started early by hiring a PR company in order to collect customers, so many people visit by seeing the media advertisement; however, the presence and the ambience of the restaurants are also attracting people’s eyes, and drawing neighboring people to the restaurant as well. By word of mouth, they already started gathering regular customers.

“The chicken meat we get here is totally different from what we get in Japan, so we repeated trial and error a lot for the whole processes of preparations, grilling, and spices in order to achieve Japan quality,” says Shinji Odahara, the Culinary Director. He is the executive chef, who manages the whole group, and was called in for the opening of this New York location. He tried so many different kinds of chicken meat, checking the quality by touching and cooking, and settled with the “Bobo Chickens” which are raised freely out of cages in the northern New York State. One selling point of the restaurant is serving of rare parts such as Seseri-Neck, Yagen-Soft Bone, and Bonjiri-Tail, and each part is prepared and grilled with matching delicacy and particularity to complete. By utilizing multiple different sauces and salts exquisitely, best possible tastes are being brought out.

Presently, they offer only 2 menu items for the dining room, “Omakase Course” ($85), and “Toriko Course” ($72). The Omakase Course starts with the “Seasonal Amuse Bouche, 4 kinds”, and followed by the “Chicken-Bone Soup”, and the “Foie Gras Chawanmushi”. After cleaning your pellet with the “House-made Rice Bran Pickled Vegetable/Grated Daikon”, the main Yakitori dish finally comes with 5 chicken skewers, 2 vegetable skewers, tsukune, and wagyu”. To end the course, you get either rice or noodle dish: shio ramen or oyako don. A dessert is also served in this gorgeous course. At the bar, you can order a-la-carte menu items. In order to accommodate some Americans’ requests, they have gluten-free sauce and a vegan menu. They also handle customers who do not care for internal organ parts flexibly. At the Toriko restaurants in Japan, majority of people enjoy Yakitori with wine, but here, at the New York location, the ratio of wine and sake sales is half and half.

“I am certain that Yakitori will be as well accepted as sushi in the US,” says Morishima.  “To create fans of Japan” is a mission of Tokyo Restaurants Factory Inc. It may not be too long before you see “Toriko” all over the US.


焼き鳥を世界へ広め、日本のファンを作りたい

ミッドタウン・イーストに『MIFUNE New York』『sushi AMANE』を同時開店してからわずか1年―。東京レストランツファクトリー株式会社が、3店舗目となる焼き鳥専門店『鳥幸ニューヨーク』を2018年8月末、ウェストヴィレッジ地区に開店し、注目が集まっている。

「早くも大きな手応えを感じている」と語るのは、同社海外事業部責任者を務める森嶋博之氏。『鳥幸』は、東京レストランツファクトリーが日本国内で展開する高級和食店の中で成功している業態で、“かつては大衆的な食文化だった焼き鳥を、お洒落な雰囲気でワインと共に楽しむ”というコンセプトがヒットした。

2011年に1店舗目を開店以来、着実に店舗を増やし、現在は東京と大阪で15 店舗展開している。同社がニューヨーク進出を検討していた当初から、『鳥幸』はニューヨークのダイニング・シーンに受け入れられるという確信があり、計画を進めてきたという。開店準備に当たっては、工事、許認可申請、人材採用などの面では、『MIFUNE』での経験や知見に助けられたこともあったが、やはり、全く異なる立地条件で全く異なる業態の展開には苦労も多かったという。集客・マーケティングは、PR会社に依頼して早い段階からメディアに掲載されたことで、メディアを見て来る客が多いが、店の存在や雰囲気自体も人目を引き、近所に住む客も多く訪れる。すでに人が人を呼び、早くも常連客が着いてきたそうだ。

 「鶏肉自体が全く異なるので、日本と同じクオリティに仕上げるまで、仕込み、焼き方、調味に至るまで、全ての行程で試行錯誤を繰り返した」と語るのは総料理長を務める尾田原真二。尾田原氏は同社グループ全体を統括する総料理長で『鳥幸ニューヨーク』開店のために呼び寄せた。数多くの鶏肉を仕入れ、すべて手で触って肉質を確かめ試作を繰り返し、ニューヨーク州北部で放し飼いで飼育されているボーボーチキンを採用した。同店では、せせり、やげん、ぼんじりといった稀少部位を味わえるのも魅力のひとつだが、仕込みから焼き方まで、それぞれの部位に合わせた繊細なこだわりで創り上げる。複数のタレと塩を絶妙に使い分け、美味しさを存分に引き出している。

 メニューは、現在ダイニングルームでは「おまかせコース」($85)と「鳥幸コース」($72)のみ。

のみ。おまかせコースは、まずは季節の前菜4点盛りに始まり、白湯スープ、フォアグラ茶碗蒸しと続く。ぬか漬け・大根おろしで、口直しをした後に、いよいよメインの焼き鳥(鶏串5本、野菜串2本、つくね、和牛)へ。最後は、鳥幸塩ラーメンまたは親子丼でしめ、さらには甘味も登場するという、なんとも贅沢な内容だ。バー・スペースでは、アラカルトでも注文することができる。米国人客のリクエストに合わせ、グルテンフリーのタレやヴィーガン・メニューも用意。中には内臓が苦手な客もいるため、柔軟に対応している。日本の『鳥幸』ではワインと合わせて楽しむ客が多いが、ニューヨーク店ではワインと日本酒は約半々の売上だ。

 「アメリカで焼き鳥は寿司と同じくらい受け入れられると確信している」と森嶋氏。「日本のファンを作りたい」というミッションを掲げる東京レストランツファクトリー。『鳥幸』が全米各地で見られる日もそう遠くないかもしれない。



Toriko
76 Carmine Street
New York, NY 10014
Tel: 646-596-8198

Dinner : Mon – Sat 5:00pm – 11:30pm
(Last Order 10:30pm)
#alljapannews #yakitori #Japanese #toriko #NY

ワオ!と言っているユーザー

A desire for spreading Japanese street foods to the US

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A desire for spreading Japane... A desire for spreading Japane... A desire for spreading Japane... A desire for spreading Japane... A desire for spreading Japane... A desire for spreading Japane...
By Aya Ota

“DokoDemo”, a restaurant which develops and serves everyday casual dishes that are so familiar to Japanese people such as yakisoba, okonomiyaki, takoyaki, etc., opened in NY, and is attracting a lot of attention.

“I would like to spread Japanese street foods throughout the US,”says Shin Takagi, the owner of the restaurant. Mr. Takagi has a unique background of working vividly as an investment banker in Tokyo and NY. While working in New York, his dream of launching a restaurant business in the US grew big, and he retired from the investment bank in 2013. Having zero experience in the food and beverage industry, he traveled all over Japan for 3 years after resigning from his previous job, studying various local street foods. Moreover, he even worked for free at some teppan-yaki restaurants to gain experience. He started to visit NY every month after the latter half of 2016, looking for the location for the restaurant, and he finally moved to the US in 2017. For the next 6 months, he did nothing but developing recipes day after day.

Then, in August of 2017, he finally opened his long-awaited first restaurant. “I chose this genre for nation-wide development in mind. “No one has yet tried to take on franchising restaurants of Japanese street foods such as yakisoba, okonomiyaki, takoyaki, etc.,” said Mr. Takagi. After the opening, he had difficulty bringing in customers.

Although the popularity of Japanese foods is growing stronger, okonomiyaki and takoyaki are not yet well recognized. For 3 months after the opening, he was wondering around the neighborhood, and talked to people on the streets who appeared to be looking for a Japanese restaurant with a cell phone in hand. He would say, “I just opened a Japanese street foods restaurant. Would you come taste some for free?” He sincerely listened to the people who came to taste the foods. “How was it?” He asks, and often times, all he gets is a simple timid comment like, “It was good.” He then started to ask people who ordered more than one menu item,; “Which one did you like?”, and he gradually became able to get more detailed comments on their 2nd and 3rd favorite dishes. Sometimes, he even tasted customers’ leftover in the trash to find out what was wrong.

Only 6 different kinds of dishes are served; “Yakisoba/Stir-Fried Ramen ($8.95), “Ramen Rice (Stir-Fried Ramen & Rice) ($9.95)”, “Fried Rice ($8.95)”, “Japanese Pizza/Okonomi- Yaki ($8.95)”, “Takoyaki (10 balls for $8.95/6 balls for $6.45), and “Cabbage & Cucumber Salad ($7.95)”. The original recipes took him a long and hard 6 months to create prior to the opening, and were satisfactory to him; however, he has remained flexible, and kept making improvements and adjustments many times along the way. After some trial-and-error period, he came up with the “customization” idea. In general, Americans prefer sweeter taste, so he thought that the sauces for yakisoba, takoyaki, and okonomiyaki would be well suited to their tastes, but they didn’t always like them. According to Mr. Takagi, for yakisoba, for instance, adding an option of choosing the flavor besides regular sauce, the dish much better received. He also made everything except takoyaki and salad customizable for the ingredients and spiciness, etc. At this point, the word, “Okonomiyaki”, is not quite recognizable, so it is presented as “Japanese Pizza”. A notable item is the “Ramen Rice (Stir-Fried Ramen & Rice)”, which cannot be found almost anywhere else. You can easily get addicted to its spicy ginger flavor, and the unique combination of ramen and rice has gotten people’s attention, and the number of returning customers is growing.

“I’d like to open the second restaurant during the next year”, says Mr. Takagi. His ambition is to have 5 to 10 restaurants in Manhattan first as the base of the nationwide development, and then go to other states. In order to achieve that, he thinks that the operation has to become more efficient. Presently, it takes 10 to 15 minutes to serve after receiving orders. He has been going through many trial-anderror attempts to minimize the time to serve. He also aggressively gets into taking online orders for takeout, and deliveries.

The name, “DokoDemo”, implies his wish to make his restaurant’s street foods available everywhere in the US. I would like to look forward to the day I can see it everywhere in the US in the next few years.


日本のストリートフードを全米に広げたい

焼きそば、お好み焼き、たこ焼き…日本人にはおなじみの“ 粉もん” を専門に展開する店『DokoDemo』が登場し、注目されている。

 「日本のストリートフードを全米に広げたい」と語るのは同店オーナー、高木伸之輔氏。高木氏は、東京とニューヨークで、証券マンとして活躍したという異色のキャリアを持つ。ニューヨーク滞在中に「米国で飲食業を起業したい」という夢が膨らみ、2013 年に退社。飲食業界での経験が全くない高木氏は、退職後3 年間、日本全国を回り各地のストリートフードを研究した。さらに、いくつかの鉄板焼き店では、無給で働き経験を積んだ。2016 年後半からは、毎月ニューヨークに通い物件を探し、いよいよ2017 年に再渡米。その後半年間は、来る日も来る日もレシピ開発に没頭した。

そして2017年8月、待望の1号店を開店。「全米展開を考えて、このジャンルを選択した。日本のストリートフード、“ 粉もん” をチェーン店として手がけている人は誰もいなかった」と同氏。開店後、苦労したのは集客だ。日本食人気は伸びているとは言え、お好み焼きやたこ焼きの認知度は、まだ高いとは言えない。開店後3 カ月間、同氏は店の近隣を歩き回り、携帯を片手に日本食店を探しているような人に「日本のストリートフード店を開店したのだけど、無料でいいから食べに来てほしい」と直接声をかけた。そして、実際に食べてくれた顧客の声に真摯に耳を傾けた。「どうだった?」と聞いても、遠慮気味に「美味しかった」というフィードバックしかないことも多い。そこで、複数種類のメニューを注文したグループ顧客に「どれがよかった?」と聞くようにすると、2 番目・3 番目によかったメニューに対する具体的なコメントが得られるようになってきた。時には、ゴミ箱の残飯を食べ、何がよくなかったのか研究することもあった。

同店のメニューは6種類のみ、「焼きそば」($8.95)、「そばめし」($9.95)、「炒飯」($8.95)、「お好み焼き」($8.95)、「たこ焼き」(10 balls-$8.95/ 6 balls-$6.45)、「キャベツとキュウリのサラダ) 」($7.95)。開店前に半年の時間を費やし、自身が納得いくまで創り上げたレシピだったが、柔軟な姿勢で、幾度となく改良や調整を重ねている。試行錯誤の過程で生まれたのは“ カスタマイズ” というアイデア。

一般的に米国人は甘めの味付けを好むので、焼きそば・たこ焼き・お好み焼きに使われるソース味は誰もが好きだろう思われたがそうではなかった。焼きそばでは、ソース味以外にも醤油、柚、豚骨味のバリエーションを増やし、顧客が選べるようにした結果、好評を博しているという。たこ焼きとサラダ以外は、具材や辛さなどを選べるようにした。

 また「お好み焼き」という名称はまだ理解されにくいため、現時点では「Japanese Pizza」という名称を前面に打ち出している。特に注目は、他店ではほとんど見かけない「そばめし」だ。ピリッとしたショウガ味がやみつきになる味で、ラーメンとライスというユニークな組み合わせも興味を引き、リピーターも増えている。

 「来年中には2店舗目を開店したい」と語る高木氏。全米展開に向けて、まずはマンハッタンに5 〜10 店舗展開し、その後、他州へも拡大していきたいという野望がある。そのためには、オペレーションの効率化を図る必要があると考えている。注文を受けてから作るため、10 〜15 分程度の待ち時間が生じるが、極力短縮できるように試行錯誤を重ねている。ネット注文でのテイクアウトやデリバリーにも積極的に取り組んでいる。

 『DokoDemo』という店名には、いずれ全米の“ どこでも” 同店のストリートフードが食べられるようになってほしい…という想いが込められている。数年後には全米で見られる日を期待したい。



DokoDemo
89 E 4th St.
NY 10003
(917) 261-5228
https://www.dokodemonyc.com/
Mon.-Sat. 11:30am-10:30 pm
Sun. 12:00 pm-9:30 pm
#alljapannews #DokoDemo #NY #Japanese #yakisoba #takoyaki #ramen

ワオ!と言っているユーザー

“Bonsai Kakigōri” Kakigōri, which was originated in Japan, and continues to evolve in New York

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“Bonsai Kakigōr... “Bonsai Kakigōr... “Bonsai Kakigōr... “Bonsai Kakigōr... “Bonsai Kakigōr... “Bonsai Kakigōr... “Bonsai Kakigōr...
By Aya Ota

A kakigōri specialty establishment, which was launched by a young American guy has become the topic of conversation. The name of the place is “Bonsai Kakigōri” – it is a kind of name that gets you interested, and makes you want to see and try.

“I wanted to replicate delicious kakigōri, which I tasted in Japan, here in New York,” says the Co-Founder & CEO, Gaston Becherano. Gaston traveled in Asia including Japan for 3 months after graduating college before joining the workforce. In Japan, he first climbed Mt. Fuji, and next visited Kanazawa in Ishikawa prefecture. He was shocked at how tasty the kakigōri, which he ate in the marketplace there, was. Since that day, the purpose of his travel in Japan for the rest of the next 2 and a half months became the seeking of delicious kakigōri all over Japan. Every day, he tried 4 to 5 different kinds of kakigōri.

After the trip, he returned to New York, and started to work for a major IT company, but was never able to forget about the kakigōri he tasted in Japan. He tried every shaved ice he could get in New York; however, he never found the same Japanese kakigōri. Then he remembered one particular kakigōri he had at the end of his travel. It was in Tokyo, and he waited in line for 3 hours for it. It was different from any other kakigōri he tasted in Japan. The ice was so finely shaven, and had such delicate texture, and melted as soon as he put it in his mouth. He acquired the same old-fashioned manual ice shaving machine, which was used at the last place, from Japan by himself, and started to make kakigōri at home. While he was treating his friends to his kakigōri, he discovered how much fun it was to share kakigōri with many people. After only 4 months with the IT company, he quit, and launched “Bonsai Kakigōri”. Giving up a stable lifestyle he could have had with the company, he chose something more challenging.

The name, “Bonsai”, did not only come from its appearance. “Bonsai was originated in Japan, and spread to the world. I thought that its one-and-only beauty created by utmost care, and the required techniques to create it had something in common with what our business needs,” says Gaston. With a partnership with Theo Friedman, a professional chef, they have developed new flavors one after another. Theo is also someone who had traveled in Japan, and had become hooked on the magical charm of kakigōri. After working at various notable restaurants in New York, he dived into this new business.

Their versions of 3 classic flavors are “Matcha”, “Strawberries”, and “Coconut”. The Matcha they use is the authentic ceremony grade from Uji, Kyoto. They also offer flavors such as “Rhubarb”, and “Peanut butter & Jelly”, which represent the diverse culture of New York, where many different ethnic groups gather. “Peanut butter & Jelly” in particular, though it is an American favorite flavor, is a combination of totally different types of oil and water, and is certainly beyond the imagination of Japanese people, and yet, surprisingly harmonious. They also offer a new flavor once every 1 to 2 weeks to enhance the season and prevent repeaters from getting bored. Other than one particular flavor, none of the syrups, cream, and toppings are ready-made, and they are all made from the house recipes.

Fresh fruits are used, and no chemical-based ingredients are used. The “Omakase”, in which you can taste 7 different flavors of mini kakigōri at once, is a recent popular menu item.

This establishment opened not long ago, in January of this year, but they already gather as many as 400 customers on a busy day. “Everyone knows the word, Bonsai, but not kakigōri, so it is difficult to let it be known,” says Gaston. They mainly collect customers through Instagram, and the majority of the customers are in their teens and twenties. It must have been a good thing that they chose a new food court called “Canal Street Market” for its location. There are also establishments by Japanese vendors in this food court selling ramen and bento, and therefore, many people get interested in kakigōri, another Japan-originated food, and try it after lunch as a dessert. They also participated in “Smorgasburg”, the Brooklyn-originated food specialty outdoor market, on weekends, to stretch the chance of recognition further.

They are already thinking about opening the second “Bonsai Kakigōri” on another street. I cannot take my eyes away from their powerful prospect.


日本発祥で、ニューヨークで進化を遂げるかき氷

米国人青年が立ち上げたかき氷店が話題になっている。その名も『Bonsai Kakigōri(盆栽かき氷)』――ネーミングを聞くだけで、「見てみたい、食べてみたい」と興味をそそられる。
 
 「日本で食べたかき氷の美味しさをニューヨークでも実現したいと思った」と語るのは創業者のガストン・ベチェラーノ氏。ガストン氏は、大学卒業後から就職するまでの3カ月間、アジア各国と日本へ旅をした。まずは富士山登頂し、次に石川県金沢を訪問、そこの市場で食べたかき氷の美味しさに衝撃を受けた。そして、その日から残り2カ月半の日本滞在中は、“全国各地の美味しいかき氷を探す旅“となった。毎日のように4〜5種類のかき氷を食べ歩く日々だったという。

 旅を終え、ニューヨークに戻り、大手IT企業に就職してからも、ガストン氏は日本で食べたかき氷が忘れられなかった。ニューヨーク中のシェイブド・アイスを試したが、日本と同じかき氷には出会えなかった。その時、ガストン氏が思い出したのは、旅の最後に東京で、3時間行列に並んで食べたかき氷。それは、日本で食べたどのかき氷とも違う、口に入れた途端溶けてなくなるような、きめ細やかで繊細な食感の氷が特徴的だった。彼は、その店で使っていた、手動で氷を削るレトロな機械を、個人的に日本から購入し、自らかき氷を作り始めた。そして、友人たちにかき氷を振る舞う内に、多くの人にかき氷をシェアすることの楽しさに気づく。そして、就職後たった4カ月で退社、『Bonsai Kakigori』を立ち上げた。そのまま勤めていれば安定した暮らしができたはずだが、彼は挑戦を選んだのだ。

 “Bonsai“と名付けたのは、その見た目からだけではない。「盆栽は日本から世界へ広まったもの。丹精込めて創り上げる唯一無二の美しさや、それを創り上げる技術など、自分たちのビジネスに通じるものがあると考えた」とガストン氏。ガストン氏は、プロのシェフであるセオ・フリードマン氏とパートナーを組んで、次々と新しいフレーバーを開発。セオ氏も、かつては日本を旅し、かき氷の魅力にとりつかれた一人。ニューヨークの数々の有名店で活躍した後に新しいビジネスへ飛び込んだ。

彼らが‘クラシック”と呼ぶフレーバーは、「抹茶」「イチゴ」「ココナッツ」の3種類。抹茶は京都宇治産のセレモニーグレードを使う本格派だ。他には、「ルバーブ」や「ピーナッツバター&ジェリー」といった、さまざまな人種が集まるニューヨークらしい、多様性に飛んだフレーバーを用意している。特に「ピーナッツバター&ジェリー」は、は米国人好みの味とは言え、全く異質の油分と水分を組み合わせたもので、日本人の想像の範囲をはるかに超えているが、意外な調和に驚かされる。また、季節感を大事にし、1〜2週間に1つは新しいフレーバーを投入し、リピーター客を飽きさせない。シロップ、クリーム、トッピングは、既製品は使わず(トッピング1種類をのぞき)、全て独自開発したレシピだ。旬で新鮮な果物を使い、化学合成原料は一切使わない。最近では、7種類のミニかき氷を一度に楽しめる「Omakase」も提供し好評だ。
 
 同店は2018年1月に開店したばかりだが、多い日には400人もの集客があるという。「盆栽という名前は知られているが、かき氷は知られていないので、伝えるのが難しい」とガストン氏。主にインスタグラムを活用して集客し、客層も10〜20代が中心だという。『キャナル・ストリート・マーケット』という新しいフードコートに出店したのも功を奏しているだろう。ラーメンや弁当など日本人経営のベンダーも入るこのフードコートでは、日本発祥のかき氷に関心を持ち、ランチ後のデザートとして併せて購入する客も多い。また、週末には、ブルックリン発祥のフード専門野外市場『スモーガスバーグ』にも出展することで、認知度向上にも貢献している。

すでに路面店2店舗目も視野に入っているという『Bonsai Kakigōri』。その勢いから目が離せない。



Bonsai Kakigōri
Canal Street Market
265 Canal Street
New York, NY 10013
Email: hello@bonsaikakigori.com
https://www.bonsaikakigori.com/
#alljapannews #NY #BonsaiKakigori #dessert

ワオ!と言っているユーザー

Sushi Seki A sushi restaurant that never stops evolving “Sushi Seki”, in Times Square

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Sushi Seki A su... Sushi Seki A su... Sushi Seki A su... Sushi Seki A su... Sushi Seki A su... Sushi Seki A su...
By Aya Ota

The very Japanese-looking façade of a restaurant that stands out on a busy street called the “Restaurant Row” in Times Square’s Theater District, catches your eyes. It is “Sushi Seki”, which is well known for its high-quality fresh seafood that they serve, and creative sushi, full of seasonal ingredients that you can enjoy.

Seki Shi, the owner/chef, is from the Fujian Province of China. He went to Tokyo to study at the age of 17. There, he opened his eyes to cooking, and distinguished himself. He went to New York in 1991, and worked at various notable restaurants including “Sushi of Gari” before he became independent, and opened “Sushi Seki” in the Upper East Side District.

Then, he opened two more restaurants 2 years in a row, the second one in Chelsea in January of 2014, and the third one in Times Square in October of 2015. Opening of another in Brooklyn is also in the works. People usually believe that the more authentic the sushi restaurant is, the harder it would be to expand the business to multiply, because in order to have such success, it heavily relies on the capabilities of artisans. I wonder what kind of dynamic power has been supporting this unstoppable advance.

“The Times Square restaurant is hugely different from the other two. It is positioned as the flagship, which represents integrated forms of various styles,” says Yasuyuki Suzuki, the General Manager.

Inside of this restaurant is a luxurious space with 80 seats on the first floor, and 70 on the second floor. Once you step inside, a spacious counter and tables open up in front of you. There is a space called the“Kappo Room” in the back, where a counter, tables, and a communal table are situated facing the open kitchen. On the second floor, there is a bar, where you enjoy mostly Japanese whiskey drinks, terrace tables by the windows, a private Japanese room, and a hide-out-like space where you enjoy omakase-style sushi. This place can accommodate every situation; business meetings, family get-togethers, large groups, couples on a date, or a single customer.

The menu, which used to contain mostly sushi, has been largely evolved. The Kappo cuisine aspect was launched due to Chef Seki’s strong hope and intention to take “restaurant cooking” as a whole, seriously. They serve a wide variety of seasonal a-la-carte dishes. Among them, the “Special Kappo Counter Menu” (from $85), full of both land and ocean ingredients of each season, changes the contents monthly. There are also dishes from which you can feel the changes of Japanese seasons, which you can rarely find in the US such as “Ayu ‘Sweet Fish’ Sansho-Ni”, and “Kogomi ‘Fiddlehead Fern’ with Sesame Sauce”.

There is a menu item, which is unique due to the condition, which is that the restaurant is located in the Theater District. The “Mini Omakase” ($55) is a popular item, which cleverly satisfies both the needs of theater-goers who don’t have much time to eat before shows start, and also the smooth running of the restaurant.

“It is not easy to fill this many seats in this location. To try a vast variety of styles means that it is required to accommodate every customer’s need,” tells Mr. Suzuki about the difficulty of realizing it. He met Seki Shi at “Sushi of Gari” in 2000, when he started his career as a manager. He joined the launch and the operation of the first “Sushi Seki”, but left them for a while between 2005 and 2012, building his career by working for various famous restaurants including “Megu”, “15 East”, and “Sakamai”. When Seki Shi was preparing to open the second Sushi Seki, he was asked to join the project again.

Mr. Suzuki is in charge of managing everything for all the restaurants in the chain except cooking. He acquires customers, hires staff members, teaches them how to serve, and even creates the ambience of each restaurant. By being a leading sake sommelier of New York, he put his strong efforts into creating their drink menus, and contributed to help them win the fabulous “NYC50” award in the “Wine and Spirits Magazine” 2 years in a row. It is very rare that a dink menu from a Japanese restaurant gets selected. In 2017, they were the only Japanese restaurant winner. I was so impressed with not only the good balance they show in every field, the great variety, and the depth, but also the contents which skillfully offer customers the ease of selection, and for the staff to make recommendations.

Mr. Suzuki is supporting the restaurant’s super success by being the other wheel of Seki, by creating drink menus to enhance Seki’s cooking, and handling the management, etc. With his principle, “there is no manual for hospitality”, he produces a superbly comfortable space which possesses both a home-like atmosphere and sophistication.

I would really like you to try “Sushi Seki”, which continue to evolve all the time.


決して進化を止めることのない寿司店『すし石』タイムズスクエア店

タイムズスクエアの劇場街、“レストラン通り” と呼ばれる賑やかな通りに、忽然と現れる純和風の店構えに目を奪われるーここ『すし石』は、高品質で鮮度の高い魚介類を使い、季節感あふれる創作寿司を楽しめることでよく知られる店だ。

 オーナー・シェフの石氏は中国福建省出身。17歳で東京へ留学、そこで料理に目覚め頭角を現した。1991 年にニューヨークに渡り、『Sushi of Gari』をはじめとする名店で活躍後、2002 年に独立。アッパーイースト地区に『すし石』を開店した。

 そして、2014年1月に2店舗目となるチェルシー店、2015 年10 月には3 店舗目となるタイムズスクエア店を立て続けに開店。近々、ブルックリンでの開店計画も進行中だ。本格的な寿司店ほど、職人個人の技量に頼るところが大きく、多店舗展開が難しいと思われがちだが、この快進撃を支える原動力とは一体何だろうか。

 「タイムズスクエア店はこれまでの2店舗とは大きく違う。さまざまな形態を総合的に展開するフラッグシップ店として位置づけている」と語るのは、ジェネラル・マネジャーの鈴木康之氏。

 1階に80席、2階に70席という贅沢な空間。一歩足を踏み入れると、広々としたカウンター席とテーブル席が続く。奥には「Kappo Room」と呼ぶ空間があり、そこにはオープンキッチンに面したカウンター席、テーブル席、コミューナル・テーブルが配置されている。2階に上がると、日本産ウィスキーを中心に楽しめるウィスキー・バー、窓際のテラス席、座敷の個室、おまかせ寿司を楽しめる隠れ家風の空間が存在する。商談、家族連れ、団体、デート、一人など、あらゆるシチュエーションに対応できる仕様だ。

寿司が中心だったメニューも大きく進化。「レストランとして真剣に“料理” に取り組みたい」という石氏の強い意向で割烹料理を開始した。月替わりで、四季折々の山海の恵みが満載の「割烹おまかせ(85ドル〜) 」のほか、バラエティ豊かなアラカルトを提供。稚鮎の山椒煮やこごみの胡麻和えなど、米国ではなかなか味わえない日本の季節感だ。

 また、劇場街という特殊な立地ならではの試み「ミニおまかせ(55 ドル)」も提供。観劇前で食事時間が十分取れない客からの要望と、店側の運営円滑化を見事に両立させた内容で、好評を博している。

 「この立地でこの席数を埋めるのは簡単ではない。さまざまな形態に取り組むということは、あらゆる客のニーズに応える必要があるということ」と、その難しさを語る鈴木氏。同氏は、マネジメントとしてのキャリアを開始した2000年に『Sushi of Gari』で石氏と出会った。その後、『すし石』1 号店の開店・運営に携わった後、いったん離れ、2005 〜12年は『Megu』『15 East』『Sakamai』など、数々の名店で実績を重ねた。そして、石氏が2 号店の開店準備を進めている時、「再び一緒にやってほしい」と請われた。

 鈴木氏は、全店で、集客、スタッフ採用・教育、接客、店の雰囲気作りに至るまで、料理以外のマネジメントを統括する。さらに、ニューヨークを代表する酒ソムリエでもある同氏は、飲料メニューにも力を注ぎ、『Wine and Spirits Magazine』で2 年連続「NYC50」に選ばれるという快挙を成し遂げた。日本食店の飲料メニューが選出されるのは非常に稀で、2017 年は同店のみだ。それぞれの分野でのバランスの良さ、種類の多さや奥深さに驚かされるだけでなく、客にとっての選びやすさとスタッフにとっての勧めやすさを両立させた内容は、「さすが」の一言に尽きる。

石氏の料理を引き立てる飲料メニュー、シェフとしての石氏を支えるマネジメント…という具合に、鈴木氏が両輪のひとつとなり、同店の快進撃を支える。「ホスピタリティにマニュアルはない」という信条で、家庭的な雰囲気とお洒落さを併せ持つ、絶妙な居心地の良さを演出する。

 常に進化し続ける『すし石』、ぜひ足を運んでみてほしい。



Sushi Seki
(Flagship-Times Square)
365 West 46th Street
New York, NY 10036
Tel: (212) 262-8880
http://www.sushiseki.com/

Mon. 5:00pm-11:00pm
Tues.-Sat. 5:00pm-12:00am
#alljapannews #sushi #SushiSeki #NY #restaurant

ワオ!と言っているユーザー

Perfect unification of seemingly completely opposite concepts - take-out and omakase

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Perfect unification of seemingly... Perfect unification of seemingly... Perfect unification of seemingly... Perfect unification of seemingly... Perfect unification of seemingly... Perfect unification of seemingly...
By Aya Ota

“Blue Ribbon Restaurant Group” has developed 20 restaurants nationwide so far, mainly in New York, plus LA, Las Vegas, Miami, etc. Since they first opened a small French Brasserie in the SOHO district of Manhattan in 1992, they have been expanding business types and genres of cuisine one after another, which include bakeries, bars, bowling alleys, and take-out fried chicken stores, and has established a position which people regard as the “Empire of the restaurant industry”.

The sushi business department among all is the core of this group. Starting with the first “Blue Ribbon Sushi” which opened in the SOHO district in 1993, they kept adding, and so far established 7 sushi restaurants including “Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya”, in which the izakaya style serving is combined, and “Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill”, in which the grilling style cooking is brought in. All of those restaurants offer a casual and friendly ambiance, and stay open until late.

The “Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar” is an innovative type of business which the company’s sushi department has been specifically working on diligently in the recent years. In this business, two concepts, easy take-out sushi, donburi bowls and very authentic sushi served and eaten at the counter, which are seemingly totally opposite serving styles, have been splendidly unified. They opened the first Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar in the food court, Hudson Eats, in the Financial District’s business facility called Brookfield Place in 2014, and opened the second restaurant in the basement concourse of the Rockefeller Center on the confidence of the success with the first one.

“You can enjoy take-out sushi that is as good as restaurant-quality sushi reasonably,” says Kazutaka Iimori, who has been supervising Blue Ribbon Sushi restaurant chain including the original “Blue Ribbon Sushi” in SOHO, as the executive chef.

Mr. Iimori is a person with a unique career, who knows deeply not only about cooking, but also everything about the restaurant businesses which includes architecture of restaurants and customer service. In 1989, when he was 9 years old, he came to the US due to his father’s job transfer. His father was also a chef. He started to work in a Japanese restaurant at the age of 16 on the side, and experienced all types of restaurant jobs from dish-washing, serving, to food preparation. He studied architecture in college, and once thought about pursuing a career as an architect; however, he was strongly drawn to the dynamics of the restaurant business, and chose to become a chef. After working well for some notable restaurants such as “Nobu”, “Ushiwakamaru”, and “Shinbashi”, he started to work for “Blue Ribbon Group” in 2008, and has been demonstrating his powerful skills ever since.

Mr. Iimori’s sushi-making values tradition, and at the same time, is full of creativity. He must have inherited his talents in cooking from his chef father, and also benefitted from the exposure to the Japanese cuisine environment which he grew up in. Moreover, living in the US since the young age of 9 must have helped him understand American customers’ preferences in taste naturally. Their take-out menu containing sushi, donburi, bento, salads, etc., is varied and well-balanced, and has excellent selections. The poké bowl is now a popular standard menu item everywhere, but they were the first that started to serve it, and made it popular in New York. For the base, you choose either rice or noodles, and then 2 toppings of your choice out of 8 different kinds.
You can also add furikake. When they first started to serve the poké bowl, it was not that well received because seafood toppings turn to unfavorable colors after being marinated. However, it gained popularity gradually because of its good taste, and also the fun part in which you are allowed to choose and create your own bowl.

If you sit at the counter, you can enjoy various types of sushi, from modern types such as the avocado roll, to the more authentic edomae style sushi. Mr. Iimori recommends that at each of their restaurants, the best thing is to sit at the counter, and order omakase from the chef in front of you across the counter. He gets a lot of omakase requests as well. He said, “I don’t stay at one place, and am usually running around among those multiple restaurants all the time, but if you see me, please don’t hesitate to say hello!”

Another unique characteristic of this restaurant is that they sell some products at the restaurant that are carefully selected by themselves. They sell cup noodles, bags of snacks, soy sauce bottles, wasabi oil, one cup sake, etc. Their privately-labeled soy sauce, and originally-developed wasabi honey sauce are very popular.

“Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar” can accommodate all situations - take-out, retail, and restaurants, by combining various business types. I am sure that they will satisfy your needs every time you visit.


テイクアウトとおまかせ、一見真逆のコンセプトを見事に融合

ニューヨークを中心に、ロサンゼルス、ラスベガス、マイアミなどに約20店舗のレストランを展開する『ブルーリボン・レストラン・グループ』。1992年、マンハッタンのSOHO地区に、小さなフレンチ・ブラッセリーを開店して以来、ベーカリー、バー、ボーリング場、テイクアウトのフライド・チキンなど、業態や料理ジャンルを次々に拡大し、今では、“レストラン業界のエンパイア”とまで呼ばれる存在になっている。

中でも寿司は、同グループの中枢を担う存在で、1993年にSOHO地区に『ブルーリボン寿司』を開店以降、居酒屋スタイルを合わせた『ブルーリボン寿司居酒屋』、グリル料理を取り入れた『ブルーリボン寿司バー&グリル』など、寿司分野だけでも、さまざまな業態で7店舗を展開している。どの店も、カジュアルでフレンドリーな雰囲気にあふれ、夜遅くまで開店しているのが特徴だ。

『ブルーリボン寿司バー』は、同グループ寿司部門の中でも、近年力を入れて取りくんでいる革新的な業態だ。テイクアウトの寿司や丼と、カウンターに着席して食べる本格的な寿司という、一見、真逆のふたつのコンセプトを見事に融合させている。一店舗目に金融街の 商業施設『ブルックフィールド・プレイス』内のフードコート『ハドソン・イーツ』 に2014年開店、その成功を受け、2店舗目をロックフェラーセンターの地下コンコースに、約1年前に開店した。

「寿司レストランと変わらないクオリティを、テイクアウトでもリーズナブルに楽しめる」と語るのは、飯盛一貴氏。SOHO地区にある『ブルーリボン寿司』のオリジナル店から、ブルーリボン寿司全店舗の総料理長(Executive Chef)を務めている。

飯盛氏は、料理はもちろんのことだが、店舗設計から接客まで、レストランビジネスに存在するあらゆる業務に精通しているという、ユニークな経歴の持ち主だ。1989年、自身が9歳の時に、料理職人だった父親の転勤に伴い渡米。16歳のころに和食店でアルバイトを始めたことをきっかけに、皿洗い、サーバー、仕込みまで、あらゆる業務を経験した。大学では建築を専攻し、いったんは建築の道を志したものの、飲食業というダイナミックなビジネスに惹かれ、料理人の道を歩むことになる。その後、『Nobu』『牛若丸』『新橋』といった名店で活躍した後、2008年から『ブルーリボン・グループ』で腕を振るっている。

飯盛氏が作る寿司は、伝統を重んじつつも創意工夫に富んだ内容だ。料理職人だった父親譲りの才能や、幼い頃から和食に親しむ機会に恵まれていたことも影響したのだろう。9歳で渡米したこともあって、米国人客の嗜好も、皮膚感覚でよく理解しているのだろう。寿司や丼、弁当、サラダなど、バリエーション豊富かつバランスよく取りそろえたテイクアウト・メニューは秀逸だ。今ではすっかり定着したポケ丼も、ニューヨークで大々的に開始したのは、同店が初めてのことだったという。ベースにはご飯または麺類を選び、8種類用意された具材から2種類トッピングした後に、さらにはふりかけも選ぶことができる。ポケ丼を開始した当初は、魚介類をソースに漬け込むことで色が悪くなると、評判も芳しくなかったというが、美味しさや選ぶ楽しさもあって、徐々に人気が広がったそうだ。

カウンターで着席して食べる寿司は、アボカドロールのような現代的なものから、江戸前本格派まで楽しむことができる。飯盛氏のおすすめは、各店舗で板前の前に座って、おまかせを食べてもらうこと。飯盛氏の前でおまかせを食べたいという客も多いそう。「一店舗にとどまらず駆け回っているが、気さくに声をかけてほしい」と同氏は話す。

もうひとつ同店で特徴的なことは、カップ麺やスナック菓子、醤油やワサビオイル、カップ酒など、同店が厳選した商品を小売りしていること。同店プライベートレーベルの醤油や、オリジナル開発したワサビ蜂蜜ソースも人気がある。

テイクアウト、小売、レストラン…いくつもの業態を組み合わせて、ありとあらゆるシチュエーションに対応してくれる『ブルーリボン寿司バー』。いつ行っても満足させてくれるに違いない。



Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar
30 Rockefeller Plaza
Concourse Level
New York, NY 10112
Tel: 212-937-0204
https://www.blueribbonrestaurants.com/
#alljapannews #omakase #BlueRibbonSushiBar #NY

ワオ!と言っているユーザー

Casual and authentic noodles you can enjoy at the secret hideout of a high-end kaiseki cuisine restaurant

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Casual and authentic noodles y... Casual and authentic noodles y... Casual and authentic noodles y... Casual and authentic noodles y... Casual and authentic noodles y... Casual and authentic noodles y... Casual and authentic noodles y... Casual and authentic noodles y... Casual and authentic noodles y... Casual and authentic noodles y... Casual and authentic noodles y...
By Aya Ota

“Brushstroke” is a kaiseki cuisine restaurant collaboration by chef Bouley, a leading French chef in New York, and TSUJI Culinary Institute. Even now, 7 years after the opening, their dishes, in which tradition and innovation are harmonized well by using local capturing New Yorker’s hearts, and raved highly by various media outlets.

“Noodle Bar” has been running since the end of last year in a corner of this restaurant “Brushstroke”, and has become the talk of the town.

“I am so excited about this new attempt,” says Isao Yamada, Executive Chef, with his eyes shining. “Noodle Bar” is a space that looks like a hideout with only 14 seats, which is located on the opposite side of the main dining area. Whenever its purpose changed, some changes were made to this space, and collected a lot of attention every time. It used to be the cocktail bar when first opened, and then changed to the omakase-style sushi bar. After closing the sushi bar, the space was closed unused for over half a year while the next concept of the project was being thought out. “People tend to think kaiseki cuisine is not very approachable, so we want different types of customers,” they thought. After the trial and error period, Chef Kyoji Noda, who has experience in showing skills at a ramen restaurant in the past, they came up with the noodle bar concept based on the trial ramen dish he created, which grew bigger in no time.

There are 5 noodle dishes on the menu. The most popular dish is “Brushstroke Tonkotsu Ramen” ($17). Incidentally, both Chef Yamada and Chef Noda are from Fukuoka which is known for Tonkotsu ramen. This is the dish created by those two with ultimate particularity. The soup that has been cooked for 4 days by cracking pork bones in the process is so rich that a film of collagen forms in a few minutes after the bowl is served at the table. It looks like a typical bowl of tonkotsu ramen; however, it tastes classically delicate, and makes a clear distinction from other tonkotsu ramen bowls. It is worth carrying the honorable restaurant name. In the “Duck Original 7 Miso Ramen” ($17), the original blend of miso is mixed into the soup which has been cooked one full day until the soup turns white and cloudy. The soup turns out to have a mild taste by blending various types of miso, white, red, inaka, moromi, etc., and matches extremely well with the tenderly cooked duck chashu.

The corn/kombu dashi based “Roasted Sweet Corn Butter Soy Sauce Ramen” ($15) is uniquely sweet and creamy, and has an interesting twist of changing the taste by adding cumin as you eat. There are 2 udon dishes. “Maine Lobster Kishimen Udon” ($26) which has springy and chewy lobster pieces on top of the soy milk based lobster umami flavored soup, and “Sashimi Kishimen Udon” ($57), where plentiful of seasonal sashimi pieces are served with dashi in which bonito shavings are generously used.


高級懐石料理店の隠れ家で食べる、カジュアルで本格的なヌードル

ニューヨークを代表する仏料理シェフ・ブーレイと辻調理師専門学校の提携による懐石料理店『Brushstroke』。四季折々の地元食材を取り入れた、伝統と斬新さが調和する料理は、開店後7年経った今でもニューヨーカーを虜にし、数々のメディアで賞賛され続けている。この『Brushstroke』の一角で、昨年暮れから『Noodle Bar』がスタートし、話題になっている。

「この新しい試みにワクワクしている」と目を輝かせて語るのは、料理長を務める山田勲氏。『Noodle Bar』が設置されているのは、メインダイニングとは反対側に位置する、たった14席しかない隠れ家のような空間。開店当初はカクテルバー、その後はおまかせ寿司バーと、内容が変わるたびに注目を浴びながら変遷してきたスペースだが、寿司バー閉店後は、次の構想を練りながら半年以上も閉めていたという。「懐石料理はどうしても敷居が高いと思われがち。これまでとは違う客層を呼びたい」と試行錯誤する中、ラーメン店で腕を振るった経験を持つ野田恭司シェフが試作したラーメンに着想を得て、一気にヌードルバーの構想が膨らんだ。

麺類メニューは5種類。一番人気は「Brushstrokeとんこつラーメン」($17)。奇しくも、山田・野田両氏は、とんこつラーメンで有名な福岡出身で、その二人がこだわり抜いて創り上げた一品だ。豚骨を砕きながら丸4日間煮込んで作るスープは、テーブルに運ばれてわずか数分で表面にコラーゲン膜が浮かぶほど濃度が高い。見た目は王道のとんこつラーメンだが、上品で繊細な味に仕上がり、店名を冠するだけあり他店とは一線を画する。「鴨ネギ 7種合わせ味噌ラーメン」($17)は、ローストした鴨骨を、白濁するまで丸一日煮込んだスープに、独自配合の味噌を合わせる。白、赤、田舎味噌、もろみ…など複数の味噌を合わせることで、より複雑でまろやかな風味になり、ほろりと柔らかい鴨肉チャーシューとの相性も抜群だ。

トウモロコシと昆布で出汁をとった「醤油バターコーンラーメン」($15)は、甘さとクリーミーさが特徴的で、途中クミンを加えて味を変えるという趣向がおもしろい。うどんは2種類、ロブスターの旨味が効いた豆乳ベースのスープにぷりぷりとした食感のロブスターが乗った「ロブスター豆乳きし麺うどん」($26)、鰹節を贅沢に使った出汁に旬の刺身をふんだんに盛り付けた「刺身きし麺うどん」($57)がある。5種類すべて違うスープと具材を用意し、どれも他店では食べられない創意工夫に富んだ内容だ。季節限定「春野菜チキンラーメン」($17)を提供しているのも、さすが季節感を大事にする懐石料理店ならではだ。

サイドメニューもバラエティ豊か。宮崎和牛やホタテをぎっしり詰めた餃子、和牛ミンチやソフトシェルクラブを挟んだバンズ、鴨のもも肉の竜田揚げなど、カジュアルな仕上がりだが特別感がある。一人で来店しても、ラーメンに合わせやすいようにという心配りで、小ぶりなサイズかつ手頃な値段で提供される。ヌードルバーのメニューは、懐石料理店とは一切かぶらず、すべて別に用意しているという、徹底したこだわりにも驚かされる。オリジナル・カクテルも、懐石料理店とヌードルバーでは違うメニューを楽しめる。

「懐石料理とは違う客にアプローチしたい」という目論見は見事にヒット。 “高級懐石料理店が創るヌードル”という特別感に心引かれるのだろう、ヌードルバーには新規顧客が気軽に訪れるようになった。また、懐石料理店の常連客もヌードルバーに訪れ、両方の客が好循環を生み出している。トライベッカ地区にこれまで本格的なヌードル店がなかったこともあり、地元客も多く訪れているという。

高級懐石料理店の隠れ家で食べるラーメンやうどん…このギャップが、この上ない特別感を演出してくれる。

Noodle Bar at Brushstroke
30 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 791-3771
https://brushstrokenyc.com/
Mon.-Sat. 5:30pm-10:30pm
Lunch on Fridays and Saturdays
(from 11:30am to 2:45pm)
#alljapannews #noodle #Japanese #Brushstroke #NY #ramen #udon #kaiseki

ワオ!と言っているユーザー

A Japanese sake bar that provides at-home cooking and a relaxing space

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A Japanese sake bar that prov... A Japanese sake bar that prov... A Japanese sake bar that prov... A Japanese sake bar that prov... A Japanese sake bar that prov... A Japanese sake bar that prov... A Japanese sake bar that prov... A Japanese sake bar that prov... A Japanese sake bar that prov... A Japanese sake bar that prov... A Japanese sake bar that prov...
By Aya Ota

Sake Bar Satsko” stands like a hide-out in a corner of Alphabet City in the East Village District. As soon as you step into the space, you feel so comfortable and nostalgic, like you have just come home. You almost can’t help saying, “Tadaima (I’m Home! In Japanese). Everybody in the restaurant looks relaxed in an intimate and family-like ambience, and you cannot tell the difference between the staff and the customers.

The owner, Satsko Watanabe opened this place in 2004. The 3 years prior to the opening were periods of struggling and researching for her. While struggling with raising a child as a single mother, she worked as a database designer for a company for 25 years. Exhausted from working in the competitive and ever-changing IT industry for so long, she decided to quit, and became a home-maker.

After a year or so of being at home, she thought, “I want to do something creative like flower arrangements,” and knocked on the door of a flower shop, and made a proposal. “Please teach me flower arrangements. In return, I am willing to work for free.” For a while, she could neither learn the flower business, nor make friends with the co-workers, but she just kept going there. One day, she started to bring a lot of home-cooked dishes to give to the co-workers at lunch time. Her flower arranging skills were still not quite at an approved level, but her cooking was raved by everyone, which quickly shortened the distance between her and the co-workers. She could have kept working at the flower shop, but she was slowly realizing that what one can be most passionate about in life is eating and drinking. She thought, “New York is a lonely city. I want to create a place where people gather and relax, enjoying home-style meals and sake,” and opened a café-style restaurant. Then, obtaining a liquor license a half year later, she has been running the place as “Sake Bar Satsko” since then.

Back then, in New York, there were not many bars where mainly Japanese sake was served. Sake was not quite recognized yet, so her place was a pioneer in this field. Most of the customers were thinking that Japanese sake was meant to be served hot, so Satsko repeatedly held tasting events in order to enlighten customers with the right ways to enjoy tasty Japanese sake. They say that it is important to educate bartenders to stretch sake sales. Her restaurant has 5 bartenders, and the sake brands for which those bartenders know well, make good sales.

“Customers don’t come unless the food tastes good,” says Satsko. Although the name is “Sake Bar”, the food menu is well thought out, and their motto is to create simple dishes using fresh ingredients. For a while, the dishes, which gained positive feedback from the co-workers at the flower shop were mainly served. Later, her daughter, Amy, who was born and raised in the US, who has a keen sense in tasting foods, suggested arrangements to her mother’s original recipes, which created newly re-born dishes. Each dish is homey yet, innovative, and the tastes make one want to have more sake to go with it.

Most of the customers are acquired by word of mouth. To let Americans know, they advertise only through Google. You cannot say that the location is ideal; however, they are so popular lately, having 4 rotations on weekends, and reservations are always required. Sometimes, you see a bunch of people waiting outside. The Polaroid photos that tightly fill the interior walls used to be taken as the proof of visited customers when they were not yet popular. Now it is a laughing matter. They always try to talk to first-time customers and single visitors, which may be one of the reasons for the restaurant to provide such a comfortable ambience.

“I’d like to help our bartenders become independent and open their own places in the future,” says Satsko. Great tasting meals and sake, and a warm ambience in which customers can make friends – you should be able to see this Japanese sake community, which was created by 14 years in the making, expanding not very long
from now.


家庭的な料理とくつろげる空間を提供する日本酒バー

イーストヴィレッジ地区・アルファベットシティの一角に隠れ家のように佇む『Sake Bar Satsko』。足を一歩踏み入れた瞬間に、自分の家に帰ってきたような居心地の良さや懐かしさを感じ、おもわず「ただいま」と言ってしまいそうになる。店内では、客とスタッフの区別がつかないくらい、誰もが家族のような親密な雰囲気でくつろいでいる。

オーナーの渡邊さつ子氏が、同店を開店したのは2004年のことだ。開店に至るまでの約3年は、さつ子氏にとっては葛藤と模索の時期だった。シングルマザーとして子育てに奮闘しながら、企業のデータベースデザイナーとして約25年務めた後、競争と変化の激しいIT業界に疲弊し、仕事を離れて主婦になることを決意。

約1年、主婦をした後、「フラワーアレンジメントのようなクリエイティブなことがしたい」と思い立ち、花屋の扉を叩き、「無償で働く代わりにフラワーアレンジメントを教えてほしい」と申し出た。しばらくは、花の仕事は何も分からず、職場の人とも親しくなれず、店に通うだけの日々が続いた。ある時からさつ子氏は、家庭料理をどっさり作って職場に持参し、昼食に振る舞うようになった。花屋では、フラワーアレンジメントの能力はなかなか評価されなかったが、さつ子氏の料理をみんなが美味しいと言って食べてくれ、職場の仲間との距離も縮まっていった。そのままずっと花屋で働き続けることもできたかもしれないが、さつ子氏は、次第に、「人生で一番情熱を傾けることができるのは、食べること・飲むことだ」と気づく。そして「ニューヨークは孤独な街。人々が集まって、家庭的な食事とお酒を楽しみながら、くつろげる場所を作りたい」という想いで、カフェ開店を開店。その半年後にリカーライセンスを取得して『Sake Bar Satsko』と店名を変更し、今に至る。

当時のニューヨークには、日本酒を中心に出すバーも少なく、日本酒の認知度もまだ低かったので、同店はパイオニア的な存在だった。日本酒は熱燗で飲むものと思っている客が多く、さつ子氏は、ティスティングを繰り返し、日本酒の美味しさや飲み方を啓蒙してきた。また、日本酒の売り上げを伸ばすにはバーテンダーの教育が重要だという。同店にはバーテンダーが5人いるが、やはり、彼らが熟知している酒がよく売れるという。

「料理が美味しくないと客は来ない」とさつ子氏は語る。同店は、Sake Barと名乗っているものの、食事メニューに力を入れており、新鮮な食材を使ってシンプルに作ることをモットーにしている。開店後しばらくは、さつ子氏が花屋で働いていた時に仲間からよいフィードバックを得た料理を中心に提供してきた。その後、米国で生まれ育った娘のエイミーが、母が考案したオリジナルのレシピに、彼女の優れた食の感覚でアレンジを加え、新しい料理に生まれ変わった。どれも家庭的だが、斬新さを兼ね備え、思わず酒が進むような味付けだ。

集客はほとんど口コミ。米国人をターゲットにGoogle広告だけは出している。同店の立地は、決して地の利がよいと言える場所ではないが、最近では週末には4回転、予約をしなければ座れないほどの人気で、時には店の外に客があふれることもあるという。店内の壁にびっしり貼ってあるポラロイド写真は、まだ客が少なかった頃に、客が来た証拠として撮影し始めたものだという。今となっては、すっかり笑い話だ。初めて来る客、一人で来る客には、必ず話しかけるようにしており、それが同店の居心地の良さにつながっているのだろう。

「将来はバーテンダーたちが独立開店するのを支援していきたい」とさつ子氏。美味しい食事と酒、そして、客同士がすぐに友達になれるような暖かい雰囲気――14年かけて創り上げてきたこの日本酒コミュニティが広がる日も、そう遠くないに違いない。



Sake Bar Satsko
202 East 7th Street
New York, NY 10009
Tel: 212-614-0933
https://www.satsko.com/
Sun.-Thurs. 5:00pm-2:00am
Fri. & Sat. 5:00pm-4:00am
#alljapannews #sakebarsatsko #athome #NY #sushi #tempura

ワオ!と言っているユーザー

Introducing the “Japan quality” to the world, that Japan is so proud of

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By Aya Ota

In a corner of the busy Midtown East District, you will find a heavy dignified looking door with a family crest design. As soon as you step into the space behind the door, the crisp air is felt like from another world. It is “MIFUNE New York” opened in the summer of 2017 as the first US restaurant by Tokyo Restaurant Factory Inc., which has established 40 restaurants in Japan, most of them serving high-end Japanese cuisine.

“While introducing the Japan quality, I would like to make a lot of Japan fans all over the world,” so told Mr. Hiroyuki Morishima, General Manager/Overseas Business Division Chief of the restaurant, about their mission. The name of the restaurant was taken from Toshiro Mifune, a prominent Japanese actor, who was known as “Mifune of the World”. The name was chosen as such that deserves to represent Japan, and carry the responsibility to go to the world. The company has a deep connection to the Mifune Production, and Toshiro Mifune himself was once passionately involved in restaurant related businesses. So, the name also holds an intension to inherit Toshiro Mifune’s old dream, and also to reintroduce his greatness.

As the name suggests, the consistent natural style and modern and international sense of Japan co-exist in “MIFUNE New York”.

While holding values of traditional Japanese cuisine, their dishes are combined with French cuisine techniques, which made them so unique that you cannot experience anywhere else. The menu was created by Hiroki Yoshitake, owner/chef of “Sola”, a Michelin starred Paris restaurant. The New York kitchen is led by Yuu Shimano, a strong-skilled executive chef, who has the experience of displaying his skills in a Michelin 3-starred restaurant in Paris. Their dishes, using plentiful local seasonal ingredients, are presented beautifully and delicately on plates made by Japanese craftsmanship, and they are picturesque, colorful and elegant, and so breath-taking that they make you leak a sigh. You see no sign of compromise from any of those dishes which are created one by one so diligently. I would really like you to try their original signature cocktails, too. They were created by a bartender, Shingo Gokan who is a winner of the World’s Cocktail Championship, and entertain you with their names taken from the films in which Toshiro Mifune starred in, and the ingredients using Japanese foods and sake. They also have “sushi AMANE” hidden in the basement, which has only 8 seats, and serves omakase-style sushi. The chef, Uino Shion, is a young elite from “Sushi Saito”, a prominent 3 consecutive Michelin 3-star winning restaurant in Tokyo. “sushi AMANE” has become a legend in no time by winning a Michelin star only 3 months after its opening, which was the fastest in New York.

“MIFUNE New York”——you may say that it is a stage where Japanese proud young talents compete.

“I wanted to make it in New York where people of diverse races and cultural backgrounds live and lead the trends, and only true things can survive,” says Mr. Moriyama as the reason for choosing New York for their first restaurant in the US. At the beginning, doing business in New York was much harder than he expected. However, they have surely been increasing the number of customers including repeaters as they have improved the menu and services flexibly since opening while they carefully observe the customer reactions. Due to its high-end ambience and price setting, people tend to use it for special occasions such as anniversaries, so their current issue is how to have more people come and use it more casually. There is a counter space near the entrance, a dining space with an open feel with a high ceiling, and private room-like divided table section in the basement, which should allow you to enjoy in various situations such as dating, group dining, entertaining guests, etc. They also wish to appeal to a wider range of people by planning a cocktail paring event with Shingo Gokan, expanding seasonal menus etc.

Mr. Morishima continues, “I want MIFUNE New York to be not only a restaurant, but also a place where people who gather there realize their dreams. I will be happy if we can motivate such a thing.” Mr. Morishima used to work in a different industry. He himself is one of those who keep trying to realize his dreams. I was surprised to know that he is already planning to open a yakitori restaurant this spring in the West Village District. I want to keep my eyes open for the Japan quality this company keeps sending out to the world.


日本が誇るジャパン・クオリティを世界に向けて発信

賑やかなミッドタウンイースト地区の一角、家紋をあしらった重厚感ある扉を押して足を踏み入れると、一瞬にして別世界に入り込んだような凜とした空気が流れる。『MIFUNE New York』——高級和食店を中心に日本国内で約40店舗を展開する『東京レストランツファクトリー株式会社』の北米進出第一号店として、2017年夏に開店した店だ。

「世界に向けてジャパン・クオリティを発信し、日本ファンを作りたい」と、同社のミッションを語るのは、同店ジェネラルマネジャー兼海外事業部責任者を務める森嶋博之氏。店名は、“世界のミフネ”と呼ばれた俳優の三船敏郎氏から取ったもの。世界進出にあたり、日本を代表し日本を背負っていくのにふさわしい名前として選んだ。同社は三船プロダクションと深い縁があり、三船敏郎氏もかつて飲食ビジネスに情熱を注いでいたこともあり、「三船敏郎氏の夢を受け継ぎ、偉大さを伝えたい」という意図も込められている。

『MIFUNE New York』には、その店名が語る通り、一本筋の通った日本らしさとモダンな国際感覚が共存している。

料理は、和食の伝統を重んじつつも、フランス料理の技法を取り入れた、他では味わうことのできない独創的な内容。ミシュラン星を獲得したパリのレストラン『Sola』のオーナーシェフとして活躍する吉武広樹氏が創り上げたメニューだ。

ニューヨークの厨房を仕切るのはエグゼクティブ・シェフの島野雄氏。パリのミシュラン三つ星レストランで腕を振るった実績を持つ実力派だ。四季折々の地元食材をふんだんに使い、陶芸作家による美しい和食器に、繊細に盛り付けられた料理の数々……絵画のような色彩感覚と優雅さに、感嘆のため息が漏れる。一品一品、丁寧に作り込まれた皿からは、一切の妥協を感じない。同店オリジナルのシグネチャー・カクテルもぜひ試してほしい。カクテル世界大会優勝者のバーテンダー、後閑信吾氏が考案したもので、三船敏郎氏が出演した映画にちなんだネーミングと、和食材や酒を使った内容で楽しませてくれる。そして、地下には隠れ家のようにひっそりと、8席のみでおまかせ寿司を提供する『sushi AMANE』が存在する。シェフの宇井野詩音氏は、8年連続ミシュラン三つ星を獲得する東京の名店『鮨 さいとう』から抜擢された若き精鋭。『sushi AMANE』はニューヨーク・ミシュラン史上最速、開店後3カ月で星を獲得し、瞬く間に伝説を打ち立てた。

『MIFUNE New York』——ここは、日本が誇る若い才能が競演する舞台のような存在なのかもしれない。

「さまざまな民族・文化的背景のある人々が住み、流行の最先端を行くニューヨーク。本物だけが生き残れるこの街で挑戦したい」と、森嶋氏は、北米進出第一号店としてニューヨークを選んだ理由を話す。ニューヨークでのビジネスは、当初想像していた以上に厳しいものだった。しかし、開店以来、来客の反応を見ながら、メニューやサービスを柔軟に改善し、着実に集客数を伸ばしリピーターも増えているという。同店の雰囲気や価格から、記念日など特別な機会に利用される傾向が高いというが、今後は、もっと気軽に使ってもらうことが課題だ。同店の入口付近にはカウンター、奥には天井が高い開放的なダイニング、地下には個室風に仕切られたテーブル席があり、デートから仲間との食事会、接待まで多くのシチュエーションで楽しめる。今後、後閑晋吾氏とのカクテル・ペアリング・イベントなども企画し、季節のメニューを拡充するなどして、さらに幅広い層を取り込んでいきたいと考えている。

「MIFUNE New Yorkはレストランでありながらも、集まった人々が夢を実現させる場所でありたい。そして、その原動力になれるとうれしい」と森嶋氏は続ける。森嶋氏自身も全くの異業種から転職し、夢に向けて挑戦し続ける一人でもある。そして、もうすでに、この春にはウェストビレッジ地区に焼き鳥店を出店予定だというので驚きだ。同社が世界に発信するジャパン・クオリティ、これからも注目していきたい。



MIFUNE New York
245 E 44th Street
New York, NY 10017
Tel: 212-986-2800(MIFUNE New York)/212−986−5300(sushi AMANE)
https://www.mifune-restaurant.com/

Lunch: Mon – Fri 11:30am – 2:30pm
Dinner: Mon – Sat 6:00pm – 11:30pm
#alljapannews #NY #MIFUNE #Japan #quality #French

ワオ!と言っているユーザー

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