At Zauo, Diners Can Catch Their Own Dinners

“It’s catch-and-relish, not catch-and-release, at this new Japanese import. Customers can opt for baited hooks to snag rainbow trout, salmon trout, fluke, shrimp, flounder, farmed striped bass, rockfish, lobster or abalone swimming in the pools. Or a staff member can lend a hand. (Prices are $16 to $125 if they do the fishing, and $12 to $110 if you fish.) The chefs then prepare the seafood to order, salt-grilled, simmered in soy sauce, sashimi or tempura. Whimsically instructive menu cards provide guidance. The restaurant, which has 13 locations in Japan, was introduced there in 1993 by a company called Harbor House: The New York restaurant is its first branch outside that country. Takuya Takahashi, whose father was the founder, is president of the New York branch. A narrow but soaring space, the restaurant has a fish tank opposite the bar on the ground floor, and two more tanks on a loftlike second floor. The hull of an immense, hand-built polished wooden boat hangs from the ceiling. In addition to the freshly caught seafood, the menu offers a vast array of Japanese standbys, mostly seafood, including salads, sushi, hand rolls and rice and noodle dishes”.

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New Food Hall Planned for Chinatown

CSM_20WINDOW_20DISPLAY.0.jpgFood halls have been popping up everywhere lately, and – love them or hate them – the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down. The latest addition is the planned Canal Street Market, set to open in November in 12,000 square feet of space on Canal between Broadway and Lafayette. There are 11 confirmed vendors, including bubble tea favorite Boba Guys, Davey’s Ice Cream, and a new concept Yori Nori from the team behind Chelsea Market’s ramen shop Mokbar. There will also be a retail portion to the market including home goods, ceramics and flowers.

Developer Phillip Chong describes the market as a way to appeal to the “gourmet-minded” and “young, energetic downtown creatives.” The space previously housed high-end clothing store Necessary Clothing, and a number of smaller shops before 2012.

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Ikinari Steak Comes to New York from Japan, with Prime Rib and No Chairs

The popular Japanese steakhouse Ikinari steak, known for it’s unusual ordering style and standing-room-only dining room, will soon come to the East Village. Ikinari currently has more than 50 locations in Japan, and in areas with a large office population some Ikinari outposts feed as many as 500 office workers a day.

The fast-casual concept allows guests to order the exact number of grams of steak they’d like, which are then eaten at standing tables with a precisely calibrated height. Chef and Restaurateur Kunio Ichinose explains that such tables discourage diners from putting their forks and knives down between bites, allowing the restaurant to move guests through as quickly as possible. That throughput allows Ikinari to target workers with lower incomes than many steakhouses; a 7-ounce steak comes to about $16, a particularly good deal in Japan.

If such a fast paced setting doesn’t seem like your ideal way to eat steak, there may be some hope. Ikinari’s LES application for a liquor license indicates they may tweak the concept slightly for the New York market, encouraging guests to stay a moment longer and possibly even giving them a place to sit. After all, it’s hard to hold a fork, knife, and a beer through a full 7 ounces.

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Floyd Cardoz Returns to NYC Dining with Paowalla

In 1998, Floyd Cardoz shook up the New York City dining scene when he opened Table with Danny Meyer and the Union Square Hospitality Group.  Cardoz made his mark there for more than 10 years before moving on to North End Grill and White Street.  Now, after having spent time with Mumbai running his acclaimed Bombay Canteen there, he is opening Paowalla this week on the western edge of SoHo.

Paowalla, which means a person employed to make or deliver bread, is part Portuguese and Sanskrit.  However, this is not a continuation of the Bread Bar that existed at Tabla.  While this new restaurant will bring back some familiar favorites, it is largely an attempt to update New York’s comprehension of Indian cuisine, and reflect who Cardoz is as a chef today.  According to Cardoz, America is still learning Indian cuisine, and suggests it is in a rut like “where Italian food was before Mario Batali did Babbo.”

The menu consists of items pulled from India’s diverse regional cuisine; pork ribs vindaloo from Goa, banana leaf-wrapped skate from Kerala, and roast goat fro Hyderabad.  The restaurant will center on a large wood-fired oven, with which the chef will bake a range of naan varieties, Cheddar cheese-stuffed Kulcha, and Portuguese sandwich pao buns.

New York City has seen an expansion of late in Indian cuisine: Indian Accent opened in Midtown, Pondicheri in NoMad just last week, Babu Ji on the Lower East Side, and Tapestry in the West Village.

To read more about Floyd Cardoz’ project, click here.

Angel’s Share Alums Open New Cocktail and Ramen Bar

11-rokc-009.w710.h473.2x.jpgShigefumi Kabashima and Tetsuo Hasegawa, both formerly of the popular speakeasy-esque bar Angel’s Share, have just unveiled the full cocktail menu at their new spot in Hamilton Heights. The bar is called ROKC (short for Ramen, Oysters, Kitchen and Cocktails), and the menu is a playful American twist on the high quality Japanese drinks at Angel’s Share. Examples include a Thai tea spiked with absinthe and cachaça, a matcha latte with Japanese whiskey, and a fruity cocktail called “Flower” with shochu, lavender, elderflower, and cranberry, served in a lightbulb and presented over ice in a trapezoidal pot.

These cocktails are all newly unveiled, but the ramen and limited raw bar have been available for a few weeks during he restaurant’s soft-open. Ex–Maison Premiere sous-chef Jeff Srole has been heading the seafood menu, and Isao Yoneda (formerly of Totto and Hide-Chan) is responsible for the three types of ramen bowls.

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Le Coucou Opens Today

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Le Coucou, the first American restaurant from Chicago-born chef Daniel Rose, will open tonight for dinner service. Rose currently has two restaurants in Paris, and has made a name for himself with classic French dishes. The new restaurant promises to offer similar cuisine, but Rose has said that he is looking for American-made products that remind him of France.  On the menu are items like pigs’ feet with caviar, pike quenelles, veal tongue, fish stew bourride and poached chicken for two or four.

Le Coucou is the result of a partnership between Rose and Restaurateur Stephen Starr, with Daniel Skurnick as head pastry chef. So far, the restaurant has earned as much press for its interior design as for the menu. Design firm Roman and Williams is responsible for the beautiful buildout, including chandeliers, velvet banquettes, and a gorgeous mural behind the bar.

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Brooklyn Winery Team Opens New Crown Heights Restaurant

brooklyn-made-wines-01.w600.h400.jpgCrown Heights now has another new restaurant to add to its list – this time, it comes from the team behind Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Winery. Owners Brian Leventhal and John Stires will open the doors to BKW on Tuesday at 747 Franklin Avenue. They’ve brought on chef Michael Gordon, formerly of Bouley, to design the pared-down menu. Some highlights include konbu-cured mackerel with whipped feta and roasted grapes, root beer glazed pork ribs, and homemade donuts with butterscotch and lavender. The wine list will of course be well curated, with flights offered for those who are feeling indecisive and full bottles available to take home.

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