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Carefree take-out outpost of authentic Japanese sweets and matcha drinks “Cha-An BONBON”

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By Aya Ota

“I wonder, since when did Americans start to enjoy Japanese sweets this much?” ---You cannot help but feel such astonishment when you look at the store-front of Cha-An BONBON, where many customers crowd around. Cha-An BONBON opened on May 1 of this year as a place where you can take out the popular matcha drinks, Japanese sweets, Hojicha softcream, which is still new and rare in New York, etc., and are offered at Cha-An Teahouse.

“Cha-An Teahouse” opened in 2004, which is 15 years ago. It is one of the T.I.C. Group establishments that runs 18 various style Japanese restaurants in New York. The concept of “Cha-An” is “the tea”, and it offers a wide variety of teas such as black tea and Chinese tea besides Japanese tea and matcha. When it opened, it had equipped with an authentic ceremonious tea room.

Their menu includes traditional Japanese sweets such as “anmitsu” and “zenzai”, western style sweets accentuated by Japanese ingredients such as “Matcha Pudding” and “Black Sesame Brulee”, plus healthy carefully-prepared meal plates. Now, this place is so popular and crowded every day, but they used to struggle so much for the first few years, that some days it was difficult to make even $100 profit a day. Back then, people expected Japanese tea to be served for free at Japanese restaurants. People also used to ask for coffee daily. Besides all that, being located on the second floor made it even more difficult to acquire customers.

“We’ve been simply doing the same thing for the last 15 years,” tells Tomoko Yagi, the wagashi expert & food consultant of T.I.C. Restaurant Group, in a humble manner. She got married to Bon Yagi, the President of T.I.C. Group, and came to the US in 1986. She had dietician and cook licenses in Japan. After reaching the point of settling down and raising children, she was asked to give ideas for desserts served at the Group’s restaurants such as “Sakagura” and “Sobaya”. Since then, not only for “Cha-An Teahouse”, but she also has been producing desserts for all other T.I. C. Group restaurants.

Tomoko said that she had to learn how to make delicious Japanese sweets by herself because it was difficult to find good wagashi in New York back then. As wagashi started to be recognized more and more, she started to hold more wagashi making classes by request. Now the class has grown so popular that it gets filled every time. She is currently busy working as a wagashi teacher even at places such as Japan Society and Japan Club. Most of the students are non-Japanese. They gather to experience the charms of wagashi enjoyed by the feel of each season and each of the 5 senses. Tomoko’s remark is very humble, saying she has just been doing the same thing for 15 years, but I think she is clearly one of the pioneers who has been creating the current matcha and mochi booms.

“Cha-An BONBON” is a small place of only 117 square feet with a showcase. Many customers have expressed their hopes of taking Cha-An’s sweets home before, so this place opened to make such long-awaited wishes come true. They studied deeply before deciding on the prices and the menu items by holding a free-sample eating event for affiliated people before the opening. Not only that, they thought a lot about good sizing and packaging of the products for take-out purposes, and they also thought about making the products look as attractive as possible with SNS posting in mind by decorating them with edible flowers, bright colors, etc. In fact, SNS effects have been helping well to collect people to visit the store, and go to wagashi classes. Their sweets taste very authentically Japanese, even more so than the ones sold in Japan.

The popular items are mochi-based sweets such as “Homemade Daifuku Mochi” and “Mitarashi Dango”. Matcha and Hojicha flavored soft ice cream (softcream), parfait and anmitsu using shiratama and gyuhi are all house-made, and excellent. Each matcha drink is made to order very carefully, and is very flavorful and tasty. They have put a lot of thought into making gift-in-mind cookies, financiers, and matcha sets. Before them, there were limited selections of wagashi for take-out or gifts in New York, so their merchandise has been very well received. The bread used for Cha-An Teahouse’s new menu item, “Fruit Toast”, is also baked in-house, and it is supposed to be sold at Cha-An BONBON starting this fall.

“There is still a lot we want to do, and can do. I would like to keep enforcing the Cha-An brand,” says Tomoko Yagi. They are thinking about multiple shop development and E commerce. I won’t be able to take my eyes off of their future endeavors.


本格派和風スイーツや抹茶ドリンクを気軽にお持ち帰り
『茶菴BONBON』


「いつから米国人はこんなに和菓子を楽しむようになったのか」――多くの客で賑わう店頭を眺めながら、そんな驚きを隠せない店『茶菴BONBON』。『茶菴』で提供している人気抹茶ドリンクや和風スイーツ、ニューヨークではまだ珍しいほうじ茶ソフトクリームなどをお持ち帰りできる店として、今年5月1日に開店した。

『茶菴』が開店したのは2004年、15年前のこと。ニューヨークで、さまざまな業態の日本食店を18店舗経営するT.I.C.レストラングループのひとつだ。『茶菴』は“お茶”がコンセプトで、日本茶や抹茶を中心に、紅茶や中国茶も幅広くそろえ、開店当時は本格的な茶室を備えていた。「あんみつ」や「ぜんざい」といった純和風甘味や、「抹茶プディング」「黒胡麻クレームブリュレ」など和食材をアクセントにした洋菓子、健康によい素材で丁寧に作った食事メニューを提供する。同店は、今でこそ連日混雑する人気店だが、開店後数年は、1日100ドルの利益を上げるのが大変だった時期もあるという。当時はまだ、日本食店でお茶が無料で提供されるのが当然だったし、客からコーヒーはないのか連日尋ねられたという。また、2階に位置しているため、集客も苦労したという。

「15年前から同じことをやっているだけ」と謙遜しながら話すのは、和菓子研究家兼フードコンサルタントの八木共子氏。T.I.C.グループ代表・八木秀峰氏との結婚を機に、1986年渡米。日本で栄養士と調理師の資格を持っていたこともあり、子育てが一段落した頃に、同グループの『酒蔵』や『蕎麦屋』のデザート考案を依頼されたことがきっかけで、今では、『茶菴』をはじめとするT.I.C.グループのレストラン全般で、デザートをプロデュースしている。

「当時は、ニューヨークで美味しい和菓子の入手が困難だったので、独学で作り方を学んだ」という共子氏。和菓子が認知されるに連れ、客の要望で和菓子教室を開始し、今では、毎回満席になるほどの人気クラスに成長した。現在は、ジャパン・ソサエティや日本クラブでも和菓子講師として活躍する。生徒はほぼ非日本人で、季節感や五感で楽しむ和菓子の魅力を体験するために集う。共子氏は「15年前から同じこと…」と謙遜するが、間違いなく、現在の抹茶や餅ブームを創り上げてきたパイオニアの一人だろう。

『茶菴BONBON』は、面積たった117スクエアフィート、ショーケースだけを設置した小さな店舗。以前から「茶菴のスイーツをお持ち帰りしたい」との声が多く、満を持しての開店だ。開店前には関係者向け試食会も実施し、値段やメニュー内容を精査した。また、テイクアウト用にサイズやパッケージを工夫しただけでなく、食用花をあしらい色彩を鮮やかにするなど、”インスタ映え”する見た目を意識したという。実際に、同店や和菓子クラスへは、SNSからの集客に成功している。味はどれも、日本で食べるもの以上に日本らしさを感じる本格的な内容だ。

人気アイテムは「大福」や「みたらし団子」などの餅菓子。抹茶やほうじ茶のソフトクリーム、白玉や求肥を使ったパフェやあんみつも秀逸で、すべて手作りで提供する。抹茶ドリンクは注文ごとに丁寧に点ててくれ、香りや風味が格別だ。贈り物にも最適なクッキーやフィナンシェ、抹茶セットにも力を入れている。これまでニューヨークでは、お持ち帰りや贈答品に使える和菓子が限られていたので、好評を博している。『茶菴』の新メニュー「フルーツトースト」で用いるパンも店内で焼いており、秋には『茶菴BONBON』でも販売する予定だ。

「まだまだやりたいこと、やれることがたくさんある。茶菴ブランドをもっと強くしていきたい」と語る八木共子氏。多店舗展開やEコマースなども視野に入っているといい、今後も目が離せない。



Cha-An BONBON
238A E 9th St, New York, NY 10003
Tel: 646ー669-9785
https://www.chaanteahouse.com/bonbon

Mon-Thu 12-8pm
Fri-Sun 12-9pm
#ChaAn #BONBON #NY #hojicha #anmitsu #zenzai

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New York’s first “Nikkei Cuisine”, a unification of Japan and Peru

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By Aya Ota

“Nikkei Cuisine” has been developed by “Nikkei”, the people who immigrated to Peru in the late 1800’s, and their descendants who have been making Japanese dishes using the local ingredients. Peru is a country that is long-stretched from north to south, and embraced by unique geographical and climate conditions neighboring the Pacific coast, Amazon tropical jungle, and Andes Mountain’s high plateau, and the country is naturally blessed with diverse food ingredients. The “Nikkei Cuisine”, which was born through the unification of rich food ingredients and the traditions and techniques of Japanese cuisine, has grown to become not only one of the major food genres in Peru, but has also been demonstrating its fine presence in the world-wide restaurant ranking such as “World’s 50 Best Restaurants”.

The first restaurant which featured this “Nikkei Cuisine” in New York, is “Sen Sakana– Nikkei Kitchen” The name of the restaurant (Sen- Sakana) is derived from Japanese words, which mean 1,000 fish.

“I always try to enlighten our customers about the Nikkei Cuisine,” says Mina Newman, the executive chef. Her mother is Peruvian, and she grew up surrounded by Japanese food ingredients and Nikkei cuisine. During the last 20 years or so, she has been demonstrating her skills at notable New York restaurants which include Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and steak house restaurants. Her partner chef, who has been demonstrating skills together with her, is Taku Nagai, who was the head chef of the first Ootoya, New York. The menu which has been created by these two chefs of completely different backgrounds has been satisfying gourmet New Yorkers.

Every item on their menu is filled with something new and a surprise. “Buta Queso Cremoso” (Peruvian cheese wrapped in pork belly) looks like yakitori at first, but is made with crispy quinoa, spicy sauce, and lime, which provides enjoyment with different textures. “Halibut Sudado De Mariscos” is a dish that hides ramen underneath its rich-variety of toppings. Its soup, which has been cooked for 6 hours with various seafood, goes well with the custom-made curly noodles. In the “Big Eye Tuna Tartar”, a rhythmic texture has been created by combining tuna and avocado with cucumber pickles, and added quinoa and flying fish roe topping is accentuated by their house-made spicy sesame oil. They use vegetables and fruits which are rarely used in Japanese cuisine, so every bite tasted new to us. However, without being deliberately different, each dish has been cleverly created to give a well-balanced taste. The ratio is different, but the essence of Japanese cuisine such as dashi, soy sauce, miso, seaweed, etc., is contained in every dish. The colorful-ness and fine presentation of each dish is also very impressive.

Newman says, “Our menu has been inspired by the feel of each season.”

The menu gets renewed every 2 months. They also offer a special menu item weekly, featuring seasonal ingredients. She continues, “I also work the hardest to discover new ingredients.” They bring in all sorts of ingredients from both Japan and Peru for testing. Her favorite Japanese ingredient is soy sauce. She says, “It possesses intricate layers, and expanding taste, so we use it as a secret ingredient for many things.” As for drinks, cocktails sell well. Their cocktails stress on Nikkei-unique flavors using Pisco, and shiso or yuzu as an accent.

It is not easy to operate a restaurant of 180 seating in the center of Midtown, and you can see their signs of efforts in many areas. This restaurant is also putting efforts on having private events and catering. They also do not close between lunch and dinner hours, so customers can enjoy lunch until 4pm, which is very well received by business people and tourists. They also offer happy hours between 3 and 7pm. Having various spaces; main dining, bar, counter, and private rooms, can accommodate all sorts of situations.

“Sen Sakana”, which is attracting New Yorkers with their unprecedented innovative concept, makes you feel like you want to keep trying one dish after another.


日本とペルーが融合したニューヨーク初の“日系”料理

1800年代末期、日本からペルーへ移住した移民とその子孫である「日系人」が、現地の食材を使って日本食を作ったことで発展した「日系料理」。ペルーは南北に長く、太平洋沿岸、アマゾン川流域の熱帯雨林やアンデス山脈の高地といった異なる地形や気候を擁することから、多様な食材に恵まれた国だ。その豊かな食材と、和食の伝統や技術が融合して生まれた「日系料理」は、ペルー国内で一大ジャンルとして成長しただけにとどまらず、今や『 World’s 50 Best Restaurants 』をはじめとする世界的なレストラン・ランキングでも存在感を示している。

この「Nikkei」をニューヨークで初めて謳ったレストランが『Sen Sakana– Nikkei Kitchen』だ。日本語で“1000種類の魚介類(one thousand fish)”が店名の由来だ。

「常に客に対して日系料理について啓蒙している」と語るのは、料理長のミナ・ニューマン氏。ペルー人の母を持ち、子供の頃から日本食材や日系料理に触れて育った。これまで20年以上、地中海・中東料理やステーキハウスなど、ニューヨークの数々の名店で腕を振るってきたシェフだ。ニューマン氏のパートナーとして活躍するのは、かつて大戸屋のニューヨーク進出第一号店で料理長を務めた永井択氏。全く異なるキャリアを持つ二人が、アイデアを出し合って創り上げたメニューは、舌の肥えたニューヨークの客をうならせている。

同店のメニューは何を頼んでも、新しい発見と驚きに満ちている。一見、焼き鳥のように見える一品は「Buta Queso Cremoso (Peruvian Cheese Wrapped In Pork Belly)」。クリスピーな食感のキヌアやスパイシーソース、ライムで、味の変化を楽しめる。「Halibut Sudado De Mariscos」は盛りだくさんな具材の下にラーメンが隠されている一品。特製の縮れた太麺に、複数の魚介類を6時間煮込んで作る濃厚なスープがよく合う。「Big Eye Tuna Tartar」はマグロとアボカドにキュウリの漬物を組み合わせリズミカルな食感を生み出し、さらにキヌアとトピッコをトッピングし、アクセントに同店特製のラー油を使った一品だ。日本食では使わないような野菜や果物を駆使し、どれもこれも初めて食べる味。しかし、決して奇をてらうことなく、調和の取れた味を作り出しているのが見事だ。割合はそれぞれ異なるが、どの料理にも、出汁や醤油、味噌や海藻など、日本食のエッセンスが含まれる。色彩や盛り付けの鮮やかさにも目を奪われる。

「メニュー開発のインスピレーションは季節感」とニューマン氏。2カ月に一度は新しいメニューを開発するほか、毎週のように季節の食材を取り入れたスペシャル・メニューを出している。また「食材の発掘に一番力を入れている」と続ける同氏。日本、ペルーの両国から、さまざまな食材を試し、取り入れているという。ニューマン氏が好きな日本食材は醤油。「複雑なレイヤーがあり、味に膨らみがある」ので、さまざまな隠し味として用いている。ドリンクメニューではカクテルが人気。日本酒とピスコを合わせたり、紫蘇や柚をアクセントにしたりと、“日系“色を強く打ち出した内容だ。

ミッドタウンの中心地で席数180もの店舗を運営するのは簡単なことではないが、さまざまな運営の工夫が見られる。同店では、プライベートイベントとケータリングにも力を入れているほか、ランチとディナーの間も休憩なく開店しているのが特徴的で、客は午後4時までランチを楽しむことができるので、ビジネスマンや観光客にも好評だ。また、毎日3〜7時までハッピーアワーも実施している。メインダイニング、バー、カウンター中心のスペース、プライベート・ルームなど多様なスペースがあり、一人でも大勢でも、あらゆるシチュエーションに対応できる。

 これまでにない斬新なコンセプトでニューヨーカーを引きつける『Sen Sakana』、次々と違うメニューを試したくなる。



Sen Sakana – Nikkei Kitchen
28 W 44th Street
New York, NY 10036
212-221-9561
https://sensakana.com/

Monday – Friday: 11:30 AM – 10 PM
Saturday: 5 PM – 10 PM
Sunday: Closed
#SenSakana #NikkeiKitchen #NY #Peru

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Pepper Lunch: Excited and mesmerized by the food grilled right in front of you! Fast food steak house, “Pepper Lunch”

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By Aya Ota

A steak specialty fast food franchise, “Pepper Lunch”,opened its first New York location on March 21 of this year, and is drawing a lot of attention because the second location opened on July 3, already only 3 and a half months later.

At “Pepper Lunch”,, you order and pay first, and sit down at a table, and wait. Then, a sizzling hot iron plate arrives, and you, the customer, cooks your steak by yourself.

Not only can you cook your steak to your favorite doneness, but you canalso make it to suit your taste by adding their original steak sauce and toppings. Popularity was spurred by the fact that you can have good quality steak at a reasonable cost, and they have so far developed 470 locations in 16 countries worldwide (136 in Japan).

“Pepper Food Services Co., Ltd.” (“Kuni’s Corporation” in US), whichruns this restaurant chain, opened their first location in the US in February of 2017. They brought “Ikinari Steak”, their super popular chain in Japan known for its unique style of selling by weight, and having you eat standing up, on top of low pricing, to the East Village District of New York, and became the topic of conversation. Only within 2 years, they expanded their business to 11 locations in New York. In October of 2018, they got listed on NASDAQ as the first restaurant business from Japan. However, due to the later slow-down of the achievement, they were forced to make a big change in their business strategy, and closed 7 locations this year. They also made an announcement to withdraw from NASDAQ this fall.

Kunio Ichinose, Founder & CEO admits humbly; “Back then, I was stuck with the idea of replicating the Japanese way. I had no fear and was reckless. What to serve by how much and to whom? I was wrong about this from the start of our coming to the US,” he continues. Here in the States, steak is a luxurious and special food. The quality and taste of what we offered was well accepted, but low pricing and stand-up eating style did not go well.

Moreover, due to the facts such as the hasty increase of locations, and having a no-tipping system caused hardship in hiring and educating of the staff, which eventually led to compromising in the quality of the service. And this time, as the result of the big trajectory correction, they will concentrate on enhancing the brand power by continuing to run “Ikinari Steak” at 2 out of the 4 remaining locations, and develop “Pepper Lunch” at the other 2 locations because this model has a good record in developing overseas.

Overseas development of “Pepper Lunch” started 14 or 15 years ago in Singapore. They went to Australia next, and kept progressing differently from Japan in creating menus and developing styles according to the local needs. In 2018, they opened 2 locations in LA. They are developing this New York locations by bringing in a lot of these other overseas successful experiences from the past.

Their signature dish is the “Pepper Rice”, in which steak and rice is cooked together like fried rice. Since the opening of the first New York location, they have been quickly taking note of customers’ preferences, and started to serve variations with seafood such as shrimp and salmon. In addition to the steadily-desired steaks, they have added dishes combined with a hamburger patty and curry, which are not often found in the US. They also added combo dishes to the menu such as a 2 different kinds of steak combo, and combination dishes with a hamburger patty on the menu. They use only top 36% quality USDA certified Angus beef. Cup-sake is also offered, and is well accepted. They are steadily increasing fans by excitement and the heightened emotions that the customers feel from eating self-cooked food with lively noise and aroma.

They are planning to open another franchise restaurant in Las Vegas by the end of this year. Mr. Ichinose’s ambition “to spread casual steak culture, in which you eat steak regularly, and Japanese steak to all over the US” is unstoppable.


目の前で焼き上げる興奮と感動 ファストフード・ステーキハウス『ペッパーランチ』

ステーキ専門のファストフード・チェーン『ペッパーランチ』が、今年3月21日にニューヨーク初上陸を果たし、そのわずか3カ月半後の7月3日に2号店を開店し、注目されている。

同店では、来店後まず注文・会計を済ませ、テーブルに着席し待っていると、熱々の鉄板が運ばれてきて、客自らステーキを焼き上げるというスタイル。好みの焼き加減に仕上げられるだけでなく、同店オリジナルのステーキソースや追加トッピングを加え、好みの味付けに調えることができる。上質のステーキ肉を安価に食べられることも人気に拍車をかけ、現在では、世界16カ国に約470店舗(うち日本国内136店舗)を展開している。

同チェーンを運営する『株式会社ペッパーフードサービス』(米国法人『Kuni’s Corporation』)の米国初進出は2017年2月のこと。量り売りしたステーキを立ち食いするという独自性と低価格がウリで日本国内でも圧倒的な人気を誇る『いきなり!ステーキ』を、ニューヨークのイーストヴィレッジ地区に開店し話題となった。その後わずか2年でニューヨーク市内に11店舗まで拡大。2018年10月には、日本の外食産業では初となるナスダック上場も果たした。しかし、その後の業績不振により、大幅な戦略変更を強いられ、今年に入って7店舗を閉店したほか、今秋にはナスダック上場廃止することも発表した。

「当時は、日本でのやり方を再現することに固執していた。怖いもの知らずで無謀だった」と潔く語るのは、創業者で代表取締役社⻑の⼀瀬邦夫氏。「誰に何をいくらで提供するのか。米国進出では、この点を最初から間違えてしまった」と続ける。本場・米国では、ステーキは贅沢で特別な料理。同店が提供するステーキの品質や美味しさは高く評価されたものの、低価格や立ち食いといったコンセプトが浸透しなかった。また急速に店舗拡大したことやチップ制を導入しなかったことで、従業員採用や育成に苦戦し、サービスの質低下を招いてしまった。そして、今回、大幅な軌道修正を図った結果、残した4店舗のうち2店舗で『いきなり!ステーキ』継続しブランド力を高めることに注力し、もう2店舗では海外での出店実績が豊富にある『ペッパーランチ』を展開する。

『ペッパーランチ』の海外進出は14〜15年前、シンガポールが最初だった。その後、オーストラリアへ拡大し、現地ニーズに合わせてメニューや運営面も、日本とは違う発展を遂げていった。2018年にはロサンゼルスにも2店舗開店。ニューヨークの新店舗では、これら海外での成功事例を大いに取り入れた展開となっている。

同店を代表するメニューは、ステーキ肉とご飯を炒飯のように焼き上げる「ペッパーライス」だが、ニューヨーク1号店の開店以降、客の要望を迅速に吸い上げ、海老やサーモンなど魚介類を取り入れたペッパーライスも開始した。また、安定需要があるステーキに加え、米国ではあまり見かけないハンバーグやカレーを組み合わせたメニューも追加した。さらにはステーキ2種類や、ステーキとハンバーグの組み合わせなど、コンボメニューも加えた。牛肉は、USDA認定アンガス牛のうち、トップ36%の品質のみ採用している。カップ酒も提供し、評判は上々だ。客自ら、ジュージューと音や香りを立てながら調理して食べる興奮や感動で、着々とファンを増やしている。

年内にはラスベガスにフランチャイズ店を開店予定だ。「日常的にステーキを食べるカジュアル・ステーキ文化、ジャパニーズ・ステーキを米国に広めたい」という一瀬氏の野望はとどまることがない。



Pepper Lunch Broadway
243 W 54th St. New York, NY 10019
(917) 472-7158

Pepper Lunch Chelsea
154 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011
(917) 409-5857

https://pepperlunch-usa.com/

Mon.-Sun. 11:00am-11:00pm
(Last Call: 10:30pm)
#PapperLunch #steak #NY

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Creating new lines of people in New York, “Momofuku Noodle Bar”

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Creating new li... Creating new li... Creating new li... Creating new li... Creating new li... Creating new li...
By Aya Ota

“Momofuku Group” has always been drawing people’s attention with its innovative concept. Since its opening of “Momofuku Noodle Bar” in 2004 in the East Village District by David Chung, a chef and restaurant entrepreneur, the Group has been growing at an amazing speed. It has developed about 15 various restaurants from casual to high-end, mainly in New York, including Washington D.C., Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Sydney, Australia, and Toronto, Canada. It has also developed fast food chains: “Fuku” of fried chicken sandwiches, and “Milk Bar” of sweets & bakery.

David Chung has won various awards which include the Best Chef Award by James Beard Foundation. He is a star chef who is often featured in all kinds of media, who was also selected by Esquire magazine as one of “the most influential people of the 21st Century” along with the politician, Hillary Clinton, the Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, etc.

“Noodle Bar”, the leader of this Group’s development, has always been creating a line of waiting people since its 2004 opening, and the second NY location at Columbus Circle which opened at the end of last year after a long wait, is also creating a new line.

“Noodle Bar” is managed by Tony Kim, Executive Chef. He has a unique background. He used to be in the marketing industry, but his passion for cooking made him go into the restaurant industry. After building a career in California in a few restaurant groups, he moved to New York in 2011, and joined “Momofuku Group” in 2013.

Both the founder, David, and Tony are second-generation Korean Americans. Not to mention they have been influenced by Korean home cooking, David has been trained in Japan as well. So, not only by Japanese food ingredients, they have also been greatly influenced by Japanese cooking methods and philosophy. Their bacon dashi has the characteristics of umami of bonito flakes and smoky fragrance. They are firm about the idea of “creating no waste of food, and use the fat from grilling chicken for soup and oil to make fried chicken. Tony has used various Japanese food ingredients such as miso and soy sauce to create new tastes. He said that he always tries to combine ingredients without overpowering their originalities.

Although the name is Noodle Bar, there are only 5 noodle dishes, and the rest is offered by category like Chinese buns (Bread), small plates, vegetables, and large plates. It appears that the number of menu items is not very many, but they also offer “today’s special”, and a daily-changing signature menu item in which plenty of seasonal local ingredients are used to keep repeat customers interested. Since New York is the type of place where a wide variety of customers reside, they pay attention to give a good balance in their menu selection. As for food ingredients, they use a rich variety of meat, fish, and vegetables, and also a wide variety for flavoring from spicy to mild. This Group established “Momofuku Culinary Lab” in 2010. Using traditional Japanese and Korean cooking methods, they have developed seasonings and furikake toppings that suit the preferences of Americans, and use them in the restaurant. The Chinese buns are also all particularly made by hand.

Inside of the restaurant, a kitchen counter is installed on one side, and a bar counter on the other side to give the feeling of presence, and to accommodate all customers in all situations, there are tables and chairs in the center.

In 2020, another Noodle Bar is supposed to open in Los Angeles. They keep opening restaurants of new business models in New York and Las Vegas as well. I cannot keep my eyes off of these current trends.


ニューヨークに新たな行列を作り出す

 常に斬新なコンセプトで注目を浴び続ける『モモフク・グループ』。シェフでレストラン実業家のデイヴィッド・チャン氏が、2004年にイーストヴィレッジ地区に『モモフク・ヌードル・バー』を開店以来、破竹の勢いで成長を続け、現在ニューヨークを中心に、ワシントンD.C.、ラスベガス、ロサンゼルス、オーストラリア・シドニー、カナダ・トロントに、カジュアルな店から高級店まで約15店舗展開する。また、フライドチキン・サンドイッチのファストフード店『Fuku』、スイーツ&ベーカリーの『Milk Bar』をチェーン展開している。

デイヴィッド・チャン氏はジェイムス・ビアード財団のベストシェフ賞をはじめ数々の賞を受賞、エスクァイア誌から「21世紀で最も影響力のある75人」の一人として、政治家のヒラリー・クリントン、フェイスブックCEOのマーク・ザッカーバーグらとともに選出されるなど、メディアに引っ張りだこのスターシェフだ。

同グループを代表する『ヌードル・バー』は2004年開店以来行列の絶えない店だが、ニューヨークで2店舗目となるコロンバス・サークル店を昨年暮れに満を持して開店、新たな行列を作り出している。

『ヌードル・バー』を統括するのは料理長トニー・キム。同氏は、かつてマーケティング業界に従事していたが、料理への情熱が高じ飲食業界に飛び込んだというユニークな経歴を持つ。カリフォルニア州でいくつかのレストラングループで経験を積んだ後、2011年にニューヨークへ移り、2013年から『モモフク・グループ』に加わった。

創業者のデイヴィッド氏もトニー氏も共に韓国系米国人2世。韓国家庭料理の影響を受けているのはもちろんだが、デイヴィッド氏が日本で料理修業をした経験があることから、日本食材だけでなく、日本の調理法や哲学からも大いに影響を受けている。同店の特徴であるベーコン出汁は鰹節が持つ旨味や燻製香がヒントだ。「食材を無駄にしない」という考え方も徹底し、鶏肉をグリルしたときに出る脂をスープやフライドチキンの揚げ油として活用する。トニー氏は、味噌や醤油など、さまざまな日本食材を使い、新しい味を作り出しているが、素材本来の持ち味を打ち消すことなく組み合わせるよう心がけていると言う。

ヌードル・バーと言いつつも、麺類は5種類のみで、中華風バンズ、小皿、野菜、大皿というカテゴリで提供。一見メニュー数は少なく見えるかもしれないが、「今日のおすすめ」を提供するほか、季節や地元の食材をふんだんに活用し定番メニューも毎日差し替えるので、何度行っても飽きることがない。ニューヨークという場所柄、顧客層が幅広いため、メニュー内容はバランスを重視。食材は肉・魚・野菜と豊富に揃え、味付けもスパイシーからマイルドなものまで変化をつける。同グループは、2010年に『モモフク料理研究所』を設立。日本や韓国の伝統的な調理法を活用し、米国人の嗜好に合うような調味料やふりかけを開発し、店内で使用している。中華バンズもすべて手作りというこだわりだ。
内装は、キッチンカウンターとバーカウンターを両サイドに設置し、臨場感を演出。中央にはテーブル席があり、あらゆる顧客層やシチュエーションに対応する。

2020年にはロサンゼルスにも『ヌードル・バー』を開店予定。ニューヨークやラスベガスでも新業態での開店が続くので、最新動向から目が離せない。



Momofuku Noodle Bar
The Shops at Columbus Circle
10 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019

https://momofuku.com/

Lunch - Daily 11:30 am – 4 pm
Dinner - Daily 5 pm – 10:30 pm
The bar remains open from 4 – 5 pm
#NY #MomofukuNoodleBar

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An innovative concept which never existed in New York before. “ZAUO” where you can eat the fish you have just caught

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An innovative c... An innovative c... An innovative c... An innovative c... An innovative c... An innovative c... An innovative c... An innovative c...
By Aya Ota

“ZAUO”, where you can have the fish you have just caught cooked, and eat right there----a restaurant with such an innovative concept which is unprecedented in New York, is the talk of the town now.

First, the customer would decide which fish he or she wants to catch. In the restaurant, there are 3 fish tanks, and about 10 different kinds of live seafood items, which alternate every season, are kept there, and consist of rainbow trout, striped-bass, fluke, flounder, lobster, Dungeness crab, abalone, etc. Depending on the kind of fish, the tools and methods of catching differ. Staff called “Fish Attendants” would help you so you don’t need to worry. Once you catch your aimed item, the floor staff cheers for you by hitting a drum. After that, you choose the cooking method of your choice: salt grilled, tempura, simmered in soy sauce, sake-steamed, etc. Half & Half, in which a piece of fish is divided into 2 halves, and one half is used for shabu shabu, and the other half is salt grilled, etc., is especially popular. It makes you feel really special that you eat what you just caught which is cooked immediately while it is still fresh. There are additional services such as making miso soup with the fish head and bones, making crunchy senbei of fried fluke or flounder bones, etc. You can taste your caught item in its entirety without wasting any part.

Besides the above-mentioned fishing menu, for which the fished items are cooked, they offer a rich variety of a-la-carte menu items such as sushi, sashimi, seafood bowl, salad, and miso soup. You can start fishing right away, or you can enjoy sake and appetizers first, and then challenge yourself to fish. The restaurant has 3 stories. The first floor has lively seating near large fish tanks, private room like spaces, and a bar counter. You can watch fish swimming underneath from the mezzanine floor, or the 2nd floor interior gives you the sense of being on a boat, Whether you are a couple, part of a group, or by yourself, you can enjoy various ambiences by going to different floors. Customers often use this place for family outings with children or for birthday parties. From this June, they have just started using the 3rd floor. It is a quiet space very different from the 1st and 2nd floor, and omakase sushi is served there.

I can imagine that in order to realize such an unprecedented concept, they must have experienced a lot of difficulties in building construction and application for permits, etc., on top of gaining the understanding and cooperation of the involved parties. However, “I never really thought that I was struggling,” says Mr. Takuya Takahashi, President of Zauo Inc. cheerfully. He is also the Vice President of Harbor House Inc. (based in Fukuoka), which has developed 13 “ZAUO”s in Japan. This company was founded in1986, and was originally operated as an apparel business dealing with novelty products and uniforms. They expanded their business, and have developed a total of 20 restaurants besides “ZAUO”s, which include izakaya and teishoku chains. In 2014, when he was visiting New York with his brother, the President of Harbor House Inc., he felt the strong urge to do something in this town full of diversity. Back then, he was doing the market research and looking for locations flexibly without focusing on a particular business model. Then, he decided to develop the “ZAUO” concept, which has a strong, unique characteristic that differs from others. Sometimes, the experience and knowledge he gained from “ZAUO”, Japan, was useful, but some things were totally different in the US. Many customers come for the fishing experience without recognizing the restaurant as a Japanese restaurant, and taste Japanese food or sake for the first time. Some want rice as a side menu item of the western cuisine, so they started to offer it for free. In order to accommodate diversified preferences, restricted diets, and allergies, they offer meats, and vegetarian dishes as well. For those who are not accustomed to eating whole fish, they serve it with no skin and bones to attentively respond to the detailed needs. Moreover, they created a position called “Fish Attendant”, which exists only at this restaurant, and educate the staff for it so they can become confident and take joy in this unique position. Mr. Takahashi himself, who has the determining rights, takes the lead on site, so flexibility and power of actuation is excellent.

“I would like to produce joyfulness, focusing on the importance of sense of unity among customers and staff,” says Mr. Takahashi. His quote also holds a wish for having people understand not only the joys of eating something they caught themselves, but also conveying the understanding of expressing gratitude for each precious life to be taken and consumed with respect.


これまでニューヨークになかった革新的なコンセプト
自分で釣った魚を食べられる『ZAUO』


「自分で釣った魚をその場で調理してもらう」…これまでニューヨークには存在しなかった斬新なコンセプトの店、『ざうお』が話題だ。

客は来店するとまず、どの魚介類を釣りたいか決める。店内には3カ所のいけすがあり、ニジマス、シマスズキ、ひらめ、かれい、ロブスター、ダンジネスクラブ、あわびなど、季節ごとに変わるが常時約10種類の魚介類がいる。種類によって釣り具や捕獲方法が異なるが、「フィッシュ・アテンダント」と呼ばれる店員が助けてくれるので安心だ。お目当ての魚介類を釣り上げると、店員が太鼓を叩いて盛り上げてくれる。その後、塩焼き、天ぷら、煮付け、酒蒸しなど、好みの調理方法を選んで料理してもらう。特に、一匹の魚を半身はしゃぶしゃぶ、半身は塩焼き…という具合に、二通りに調理してもらう「ハーフ&ハーフ」が人気。自ら捕獲した魚介類を、新鮮なまま調理してもらって食べる醍醐味は格別だ。頭部と骨を味噌汁にしたり、ひらめやかれいの骨を揚げて骨せんべいにしたり…という追加サービスもあり、釣果を無駄なく丸ごと味わい尽くすことができる。

釣った魚介類を調理してもらうフィッシング・メニュー以外にも、寿司や刺身、海鮮丼、サラダ、味噌汁など、アラカルト・メニューも豊富に用意されている。来店してすぐに釣り始めてもいいし、お酒や前菜を少し楽しんでから釣りに挑戦してもいい。店は3階建てのビル全体を活用した構造で、1階には、大型のいけすが近い賑やかな席、個室風の席、バーカウンターがある。足下に泳ぐ魚を眺められる中2階、実際に乗船しているような臨場感ある内装の2階…カップルでも団体でも一人でも、フロアや席を変えて異なる雰囲気を味わえる。子供連れの家族層や誕生会などに利用されることも多いという。6月からは3階での営業を開始し、1〜2階とは全く異なる閑静な空間で、おまかせ寿司を提供。プライベートイベントにも対応可能な空間も用意している。

これまでに例のない概念を実現するには、関係者の理解や協力を得ることはもちろん、建設工事や許認可申請など多くの障害があっただろう。しかし、「あまり苦労していると感じたことはない」と明るい笑顔で話す『ZAUO INC.』社長の高橋拓也氏氏。日本で『釣船茶屋ざうお』を13店舗を展開する『株式会社ハーバーハウス』(本社:福岡県)の副社長でもある。1986年創業の同社は、もともとノベルティ商品やユニフォームなどのアパレル業からスタートしたが、事業を拡大し、『ざうお』以外でも居酒屋や定食屋など複数の業態を含め約20店舗を展開する。2014年に、高橋氏が社長である兄と、市場調査を目的にニューヨークを訪れていたときに「多様性あふれるこの街で何かやりたい」と直観。当初は業態を絞り込むことなく柔軟に調査や物件探しを進めていたが、他と差別化できる強烈な個性を持つ『ざうお』を展開しようと決断した。日本の『ざうお』での経験や知識が役立つこともあれば、全く異なることもあった。釣りをきっかけに、同店を日本食店と認識せずに来店する客も多いため、初めて日本食や日本酒を口にする人もいる。西洋料理のサイドメニューのようにご飯を要求する客もいて無料提供を開始した。多様な嗜好性、食事制限やアレルギーに対応するべく肉やベジタリアン料理も提供する。丸ごとの魚を食べ慣れない客には骨や皮を外してあげるなど、細かい要望にも丁寧に対応する。また、「フィッシュ・アテンダント」という他店にない職種に自信と喜びを感じられるよう教育をしているという。決裁権ある高橋氏本人が現場指揮を執っているため、柔軟性と行動力が抜群だ。

「お客様やスタッフとの一体感を大事に、楽しさを演出したい」と高橋氏。自分で釣った魚を食べられる楽しみを伝えるだけでなく、感謝して命をいただくという食育の願いも込められている。



ZAUO
152 W 24th Street
New York, NY 10011
Tel: 646-905-2274
https://zauo-newyork.com/
5:00 pm to 10:30 pm (Last Order 10:00 pm) 7days week
#alljapannews #NY #ZAUO #sushi

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“Batsu” “Wara” Be entertained by a Japanese style comedy show while enjoying sushi and sake

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“Batsu” “Wara” ... “Batsu” “Wara” ... “Batsu” “Wara” ... “Batsu” “Wara” ...
By Aya Ota

Enjoy a Japanese style comedy show in a Japanese festival-like atmosphere while eating sushi and drinking sake ------ A brand-new type of entertainment is attracting a lot of attention.

This very unique business model was born from a collaboration of “Face Off Unlimited Group” which runs comedy shows, and a Japanese restaurant, “Wara”. “Bastu” means “Punishment”, and “Wara” means “LOL” in English. The show presented here was inspired by a popular Japanese TV variety show called “Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!” (by Nippon Television Network), in which 4 actors referred to as “Warriors” play various games, and the loser has to play a punishment game. He would have to eat sushi placed on a gigantic man, get shot by a paint-ball gun, dance in a ballerina outfit, etc.…Sometimes, customers also participate in the games, and experience punishment games as well with the actors. The whole place gets filled with a sense of unity, and gut-wrenching laughter. Some Japanese actors wear kimono, happi coats, Japanese school-girl uniforms, etc., to produce a Japan-like atmosphere.

It started in 2010. “Face Off Unlimited Group” began to present a comedy show once a week at the basement lounge theater of a Japanese restaurant called “Jebon Sushi & Noodle” on St. Marks Place. The show gradually grew popular, and ran more often. “Jebon Sushi & Noodle” ended up closing its doors due to business reasons such as rapid rent hike, and changes in types of customers. However, starting from February of 2019, the “Batsu” started to be showcased every day there by “Wara”, a restaurant run by the same owner. The interior has been modified, focusing for the theater use more, and food and drinks are served in association with the progress of the show. The place has been transformed to a perfectly combined restaurant and show space.

The show runs 7 times a week. There are 2 kinds of admissions; “General Admission” ($39.95/ $35.50 on Tuesdays & Wednesdays), and “VIP” ($65.50 /$60.50 on Tuesdays & Wednesdays). There is also the Kanpai Package ($500), which allows you to use a yatai-like booth for 5 to 6 people, that is situated in the center of the audience section called the Kamiza. The VIP seats and the Kanpai package come with a nice service, in which a hachimaki-headband is distributed to each customer, and an actor dressed as a Ninja serves you sake.

The dishes such as otsumami, salad, sushi and sashimi are served in the izakaya style. To make it easier for the customers to make selections, a lot of thought has been put into the menu categories and number of items by narrowing them down, and naming them easy-to-understand names. They also put thoughts on making the dishes easy to share by many people, and tried to make the food contents and tastes familiar to Americans by offering not only Japanese style cuisine such as tuna tartar, but also Korean style BBQ short ribs, fried potatoes, etc. One popular item is the “Love Boat for Two ($65)”. Its big boat full of colorfully presented sushi and sashimi is very enjoyable. As for alcoholic drinks, there are 5 kinds of Japanese sake and Sapporo brand beer. Many of the customers are still not familiar with Japanese sake. To some, it is the first time to taste sake when a Ninja pours it for them. They offer 4 Japanese fruity sake cocktails that contain mango, lychee, and cranberries for people who are not familiar with sake, and they are well received. Furthermore, when a customer wins in a game, he/she can get free sake or beer, and the MC cheers by saying “Hold your glass up, and Kanpai!”. I think that things like that may be helping customers naturally and quickly get familiarized with Japanese food culture such as sake, sushi, and sashimi.

Customers come by mostly word of mouth, and more than half of them come in groups. They often accommodate events such as corporate parties, birthdays, and bachelor parties. If a customer participates in a game, he/she receives a VIP ticket which can be used at a later date. The receiver of such a ticket would bring another group back next time…as such, customers keep increasing.
This innovative style of entertainment that is unified with Japanese food, which began in New York, has expanded to Chicago. They intend to expand to other cities all over the US. Such a day may not be too far, where you’d see people wearing headbands calling “Batsu, Batsu!” while enjoying sushi and sake, in many cities in the US.


寿司や酒を楽しみながら日本式コメディーショー

日本のお祭りのような雰囲気で、寿司や酒を楽しみながら、日本式コメディショーを楽しむ……全く新しいスタイルのエンターテインメントが注目されている。

この実に独創的な業態は、コメディーショーを運営する『Face Off Unlimited Group』と、日本食店『Wara』とのコラボレーションにより生まれたものだ。“Bastu(罰)”は英語では“Punishment”、“Wara(笑)”は“LOL”の意味。ここで展開されるショーは、日本の人気バラエティ番組『ダウンタウンのガキの使いやあらへんで!(日本テレビ)』に着想を得たもので、“戦士”と呼ばれる4人のアクターが、数々のゲームに挑戦し、負けると罰ゲームを受けさせられる。巨漢の上に盛り付けた寿司を食べさせられたり、ペイントボールを撃ち込まれたり、バレリーナの格好で踊らされたり…時には客もゲームに参加して、アクターと一緒に罰ゲームを体験する。会場は一体感に包まれ、抱腹絶倒だ。日本人アクターも活躍しており、着物やハッピ、女子高生の制服などを着て登場、日本らしさを演出する。

始まりは2010年。『Face Off Unlimited Group』は、セントマークス通りに位置する和食店『Jebon Sushi & Noodle』の地下ラウンジシアターで、週1回のコメディーショーを開始した。ショーは徐々に人気を博し、上演回数も増加。『Jebon Sushi & Noodle』は、家賃高騰や顧客層の変化などビジネス上の理由で閉店することになったが、2019年2月、同じ経営者が展開する日本食店『Wara』にて、『Batsu』が連日開催されることになったのだ。店内は劇場主体の造りへ変更、食事や酒はショーと連動して提供される。完全にレストランとショーが合体した空間として生まれ変わった。

ショーは週7回開催され、チケットは「通常席($39.95/ $35.50 on Tuesdays & Wednesdays)、「VIP席(VIP)($65.50 /$60.50 on Tuesdays & Wednesdays)」の2種類。「乾杯パッケージ($500)」では、上座と呼ばれる、客席中央に設置された5〜6人用の屋台風ブースを使用できる。「VIP席」と「乾杯パッケージ」は、はちまきをくれたり、忍者に扮したアクターが日本酒を注いでくれたりと、楽しいサービス付きだ。

食事は、おつまみ、サラダ、寿司や刺身を居酒屋スタイルで提供する。客が選びやすいように、メニューのカテゴリや数を絞り込み、分かりやすいネーミングを付けるなどの工夫を施す。また、大勢でシェアしやすいことや、米国人に馴染みやすい内容や味付けを心がけ、ツナタルタルのような和風料理から、韓国風BBQ味のショートリブや、フライドポテトなどが揃う。人気の一品は「Love Boat for Two($65)」。大きな舟盛りに色鮮やかな寿司や刺身が並び、楽しませてくれる。酒類は日本酒5種類とサッポロビールを用意。日本酒を飲み慣れない客もまだ多いが、忍者が注いでくれる酒で初体験する人もいる。マンゴーやライチ、クランベリー果汁を使った日本酒カクテルを4種類用意し、日本酒に馴染みのない客にも好評だ。また、客がゲームに参加して勝つと無料の酒やビールを獲得することもでき、司会者が「みんなでグラスを持って、乾杯!」と盛り上げてくれるので、客たちは自然に、日本酒や寿司や刺身など、日本食文化に馴染んでしまうのだろう。

集客はほぼ口コミで、客の大半が団体客。コーポレート・パーティ、誕生会やバチェラー・パーティーなどの機会に利用されることが多いという。客がゲームに参加すると、後日使えるVIPチケットを獲得できるので、その人が次に別の団体を連れてやってくる…という具合に、どんどん客が増えている。

日米の食とエンターテインメントが融合し、ニューヨークで始まったこの画期的なスタイルは、今はシカゴへも拡大。今後、全米の都市への拡大を計画している。頭にはちまきを巻き、「Bastu! Bastu!」と連呼しながら、寿司を食べ、酒を飲む姿が、全米各都市で見られる日もそう遠くないかもしれない。



『Wara』
67 First Avenue
New York, NY
Tel: 347-985-0368
http://batsulive.com/

The restaurant is open when the show is held 7 times a week
Tuesday 7pm
Wednesday 8pm
Thursday 8pm
Friday 7pm/10pm
Saturday 7pm/10pm
#alljapannews #wara #NY

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Seafood dishes and sushi, in which worldwide cooking techniques and seasonings are cleverly used

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Seafood dishes and sushi, in w... Seafood dishes and sushi, in w... Seafood dishes and sushi, in w... Seafood dishes and sushi, in w... Seafood dishes and sushi, in w... Seafood dishes and sushi, in w... Seafood dishes and sushi, in w... Seafood dishes and sushi, in w...
By Aya Ota

In the SOHO District where stylish and unique boutiques and galleries stand, there is a door a few steps down from the street level. Opening the door will lead you to an extraordinary space that looks like the interior of a deluxe cruise ship, and entertains you. This is “Lure Fishbar”, one of New York’s prominent seafood specialty restaurants. There, you find creative and ingenious dishes, in which fresh and high-quality seafood is generously used, and worldwide cooking techniques and seasonings are effectively used. There is a raw bar with a wide variety of oysters and clams, and the main dishes include flavorful clam chowder, bisque, grilled or steamed seafood; each of which is cooked properly depending on the ingredient. Sushi and sashimi are the core items of the menu, and account for 30 to 35% of the entire sales.

It was in 2014 when Preston Clark, the Executive Chef of “Lure Fishbar” was hired. His father is a well-known chef who has received an award from the James Beard Foundation, and he has been brushing up his talent and skills since childhood. He also has an honorable record as a nominee for the Rising Star award by the same Foundation. For him, it was the first time to work for a seafood specialty restaurant, but he has created new tastes utilizing his past experiences in working for various famous places such as “Jean George”, a leading French restaurant in New York, and “El Paso” in San Francisco, etc. “Sea Urchin Bucatini” is one of the items he is most proud of. A rich sauce made with generous portions of blue crab meat coats Bucatini pasta, and Hokkaido sea urchin is generously placed on top. The dish doesn’t seem complicated at first glance, but actually a complex and delicate taste has been created by accentuating it with crust made with 3 kinds of chill peppers and garlic. “Hellfire Roll” ($22) is a dish which is colorful and playful. It is a unique roll-style sushi, on which spicy tuna is rolled inside, and seared tuna pieces are added on top.

Kimchee flavor is used effectively. Ponzu-flavored “Kanpachi Sashimi” ($23) provides a rhythmical texture, and added wasabi stem, shallot, garlic, and ginger enhance the taste of the basic ingredients. Other favored Japanese food ingredients they use include raw wasabi, soy sauce, miso, and yuzu. He told me that he learned how to handle seafood and Japanese ingredients from Jean George, who is a Japanese cuisine connoisseur.

Mr. Clark supervises not only the entire cooking aspect as a chef, but also the business aspect. It is not easy to keep attracting customers to such a large-scale restaurant and be profitable at the same time in a place like New York which is a highly competitive market. This restaurant operates from lunch through dinner without a break, and interestingly, they have set up a special period between 3 and 5pm as “Late Lunch”. Due to the nature of the location like SOHO, they try to accommodate a wide variety of customers from locals to tourists. Not only that, the period is the switching point from lunch to dinner, and works well for both efficient operation and profitability. They use social media to attract customers by not only explaining the dishes, but also introducing the health benefits of seafood, and cultural background of each dish.

They also have an excellent lineup of Japanese sake brands. Mariah Bryand, Manager of the restaurant, has acquired a sake sommelier license, and she has carefully selected 20 Japanese sake brands that are a good match to seafood.

Japanese cocktails such as “Soho Sōtō Martini” ($20) made with Junmai Daiginjo and “Red Eye” ($18) with plum wine are also popular. One Junmai Daiginjo brand is featured and introduced as the “Sommelier Selection Sake” every season, and explained in detail about the charm of the featured brand.

You can fully enjoy the depth and broadness of seafood cooking here at “Lure Fishbar”. You feel like trying different dishes and liquors one after another. This is a place full of inspiration and surprises.


世界各国の料理技術や調味料を駆使した魚介料理や寿司

お洒落で個性的なブティックやギャラリーが立ち並ぶSOHO地区。路面から数段降りた位置にある扉を開けると、豪華客船内をイメージした優雅で非日常的な空間が広がり、高揚した気分になる。ここは、ニューヨーク有数のシーフード専門店『Lure Fishbar』。新鮮で高品質な魚介類をふんだんに使い、世界各国の料理技術や調味料を駆使し、創意工夫に富んだ料理が並ぶ。牡蠣やあさりなど豊富な種類を取りそろえたロー・バー、風味豊かなクラムチャウダーやビスク、グリルやスチームなど素材に合わせた技法で調理されたメイン料理……。寿司や刺身は同店メニューの中心的存在で、売上の30〜35%を占めるという。

プレストン・クラーク氏が、『Lure Fishbar』の料理長に就任したのは2014年のことだ。父親はジェイムス・ビアード財団から表彰された著名な料理人であり、幼少の頃から才能と技術を磨いてきた。彼自身も同財団のライジング・スターにノミネートされたという輝かしい経歴を持つ。魚介専門店は初体験だったが、過去に、ニューヨークを代表するフレンチ『Jean George』やサンフランシスコの『El Paso』など、数々の名店で培った知識や経験を活かして、新しい味を創り出している。「Sea Urchin Bucatini」は、クラーク氏自慢の一品。ブルー・クラブをふんだんに使った濃厚なソースをブカティーニ・パスタに絡め、北海道産ウニを贅沢にトッピング。一見シンプルに見えるが、3種類の唐辛子で作ったクラストやニンニクをアクセントにし、複雑で繊細な味を創り上げている。『Hellfire Roll』(22ドル)は彩り鮮やかで遊び心にあふれた内容。ピリ辛味のマグロを巻き込み、さらに炙ったマグロの切り身を乗せるという独特な巻き寿司で、キムチ味を効かせている。ポン酢風味の『Kanpachi Sashimi』(23ドル)には、ワサビ茎、エシャロット、ニンニク、生姜がリズミカルな食感を加え、素材の味を引き立てる。他の日本食材では、生ワサビ、醤油、味噌、柚などを好んで取り入れている。魚介や日本食材の扱い方については、日本食通のジャン・ジョルジュ氏の元で学んだという。

クラーク氏は料理長として、料理全体のみならずビジネス面も統括している。ニューヨークという熾烈な市場で、これだけ大規模な店に集客し、収益を上げていくのは決して簡単なことではない。同店ではランチからディナーまで休憩なく開店しているが、平日3時半〜5時に「Late Lunch」という時間帯を設けているのが興味深い。SOHOという土地柄もあり、地元客から旅行客まで幅広い客層の要望に応えるためでもあるが、ちょうどディナーへの切り替えタイミングでもあり、効率よいオペレーションと収益性を両立させているのだ。集客にはソーシャル・ネットワークを活用、単に料理の説明にとどまらず、魚介類の健康効果やそれぞれの料理の文化的背景なども紹介している。

 同店は、日本酒のラインナップも秀逸だ。同店のマネージャーを務めるマライア・ブライアンド氏は、利き酒氏の資格を取得しており、魚介類に合う日本酒を約20種類厳選している。純米大吟醸を使った『Soho Sōtō Martini』(20ドル)や梅酒を使った『Red Eye』(18ドル)など、日本酒カクテルも人気がある。

「Sommelier Selection Sake」として、季節ごとに特定の日本酒をフィーチャーし、その魅力を詳しく紹介している。

魚介類料理の奥深さや幅広さを存分に味わえる『Lure Fishbar』。次々と違う料理や酒を試したくなる、感動と驚きに満ちあふれた店だ。



Lure Fishbar
142 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10010
Tel: 212-431-7676
URL: www.lurefishbar.com

Dinner
Mon–Sat 5:00 pm–11:00 pm
Sun 5:00 pm–10:00 pm

Lunch
Mon–Fri 11:30 am–4:00 pm

Brunch
Sat, Sun 11:00 am–3:30 pm
#alljapannews #seafood #sushi #soho #NY #LureFishbar

ワオ!と言っているユーザー

Park Avenue /Autumn, Summer, Winter, Spring -Restaurant to be renewed entirely at every change of the season-

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Park Avenue /Autumn, Summer... Park Avenue /Autumn, Summer... Park Avenue /Autumn, Summer... Park Avenue /Autumn, Summer... Park Avenue /Autumn, Summer... Park Avenue /Autumn, Summer... Park Avenue /Autumn, Summer...
By Aya Ota

Park Avenue” is a restaurant which has the theme, changes of four seasons. At every change of the season from autumn, winter, spring, to summer, its menu, its interior decorations, and even its staff uniforms get renewed, and the name of the restaurant also changes to “Park Avenue Autumn”, “Park Avenue Winter”, “Park Avenue Spring”, or “Park Avenue Summer”, and the sign gets changed accordingly.

This innovative idea of renewing the entire restaurant according to the image of the current season frequently became the topic of conversation, which led this place to win numerous awards in the past.

This restaurant has been loved by New Yorkers for a long time. It was operated for 22 years on the Upper East Side since its 1992 opening before it moved to the present location about 5 years ago. The concept for the menu is contemporary American. Ingredients from all over the world are creatively arranged in the dishes. The person who created the basic principles of the menu is Craig Koketsu, the former executive chef, who has now the role of both chef and partner. He is a third-generation Japanese American, and his last name, Koketsu, is Japanese. It may be the reason why he uses so many Japanunique food ingredients in his dishes.

The present executive chef is Zene Flinn. was born and raised in the Quincy District of Washington State where agriculture is the main industry. His father was an apple grower there. He grew up surrounded by seasonal fresh ingredients, which inspired him naturally to seek a career in cooking. After graduating from the well-known culinary school, “French Culinary Institute (presently called International Culinary Center)”, he built up his career at “Nougatine” run by Jean-Georges, who is a top leading French chef in New York. He joined the “Quality Branded Group” which developed 10 restaurants in New York, Miami, and Denver including this “Park Avenue” in 2010.

Flinn’s dishes represent his full love for the ingredients, and are superbly creative. He uses a wide variety of Japanese ingredients that include miso, mirin, yuzu juice, yuzu kosho, shirodashi, wasabi, sansho, umeboshi, etc. Soy sauce and miso are often used as a secret seasoning to enhance, deepen, or soften the taste. Yuzu, red pepper, and sansho are used to accentuate dishes by contributing to the impression for the first bite, or for visual effects. The surprising combinations of ingredients are something only a non-Japanese could think of, and are excellently balanced. Their concept, in which the changes of each of the four seasons is valued, is somewhat common to what Japanese cuisine is. In the summer of 2018, Flinn was invited by the Niigata Prefecture Government, and visited its local farms and producers, and was deeply impressed by the Japanese food ingredients, and learned a lot about them. Just recently, in January of this year, he impressed industry people at a reception held by the Governor of Niigata by creating and serving brand-new dishes, in which he used Niigata-made soy sauce, Kanzuri (fermented red pepper seasoning), and miso in Italian, Mexican, and Spanish style dishes.

One of the charms of this restaurant is its size. There are 220 seats in the main dining space alone. Additionally, there are 4 private spaces for event use, on which they like to put a special value. All those 4 spaces combined can accommodate parties of 200 people if sitting, and 300 if standing. In the eventful holiday season, they sometimes have as many as 1000 people a day.

This is definitely the kind of restaurant you would like to visit at every season - Autumn, Winter, Spring, or Summer - to enjoy each season of New York through all 5 of your senses.


四季が移るごとにレストラン全体を一新
『パークアベニュー/オータム、ウィンター、スプリング、サマー』


四季の変化をテーマした店『パークアベニュー』。秋、冬、春、夏…と季節が移るごとに、メニューや内装、従業員のユニフォームまで一新し、店名も『パークアベニュー・オータム』、『パークアベニュー・ウィンター』、『パークアベニュー・スプリング』、『パークアベニュー・サマー』と変え、もちろん看板も一新する。この「四季をイメージしてレストラン全体を一新する」という斬新なアイデアは話題となり、過去に数々の賞を受賞している。

同店は、1992年創業以来、約22年間アッパーイーストサイド地区で営業した後に移転、現在の場所で再開して約5年になり、長きにわたりニューヨーカー愛されている店だ。料理のコンセプトは、コンテンポラリー・アメリカン。世界各国の食材を取り入れた、創意工夫に富んだ料理が並ぶ。同店の基本方針を作ったのは、前料理長で現在はシェフ&パートナーを務めるクレイグ・コウケツ氏。日系アメリカ人三世で「纐纈(コウケツ)」は日本の名字。その影響もあってか、日本食材を多く取り入れているのも特徴的だ。

現在、料理長として腕を振るうのは、ジーン・フリン氏。フリン氏はワシントン州クインシー地区の農業がさかんな地域で生まれ育ち、父親もリンゴ栽培をしていた。幼少の頃から、四季折々の旬の素材に触れて育ち、料理への関心を深め、シェフの道を志したのはごく自然なことだった。料理の名門校『フレンチ・カリナリー・インスティテュート(現インターナショナル・カリナリー・センター)』を卒業後、ニューヨークを代表するフレンチシェフ、ジャン・ジョルジュル氏が経営する『ヌガティーン』で修行を積む。『パーク・アベニュー』を含む合計10店舗のレストランをニューヨークやマイアミ、デンバーで展開する『クオリティ・ブランディッド・グループ』に入ったのは2010年のことだ。  

 フリン氏が創り出す料理は、食材への愛にあふれており、かつ独創性にも優れている。日本食材としては、味噌、みりん、柚子果汁、柚胡椒、白出汁、ワサビ、山椒、梅干し…など、幅広く取り入れている。醤油や味噌は隠し味として使うことも多く、料理の味をまろやかに奥深く広げてくれる。柚や辛子調味料、山椒などは料理のアクセントに活用し、口に運んだ瞬間の印象や見た目の華やかさを創り出す。日本人では思いつかないような、意外な食材同士を組み合わせ、見事な調和を創り出している。四季の変化を大事にするというコンセプトは、和食にも通じるところがある。 フリン氏は、2018年夏に、新潟県の招聘で農家や生産者を訪問、日本産食材の素晴らしさに感銘を受け、理解を深めたという。今年1月には、新潟県知事が主催したレセプションで、新潟産の醤油やかんずり(発酵辛子調味料)、味噌を、イタリアンやメキシカン、スパニッシュスタイルと組み合わせ、全く新しい料理を創り出し、業界人をうならせたばかりだ。

同店の醍醐味はレストランの規模感にもある。座席数はメイン・ダイニングだけで220席。その他、プライベート・イベントに力を入れており、店内に4カ所の専用スペースがある。4つのスペースを合計すると着席で約200、立食で約300もの人数に対応できる。ホリディシーズンでイベントが多い時期には一日1000人以上の来客があることもあるという。

秋、冬、春、夏、すべての季節に訪れ、五感を通してニューヨークの四季を満喫したい…そんなレストランだ。



Park Avenue /Autumn, Summer, Winter, Spring
360 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10010
Tel: 212-951-7111
URL: www.parkavenyc.com

Mon – Thurs 11:30 am – 10 pm
Fri 11:30am – 11pm
Sat 11am-3pm, 5pm – 11pm
Sun 11am-3pm, 5:30-9:00 pm
#alljapannews #parkavenue #NY #restaurant #Japanunique

ワオ!と言っているユーザー

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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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

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