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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