Meat on a stick isn’t exactly a new concept: Yakitori joints have cut a wide swath from the East Village to midtown. But Asian skewers rarely appear in as slick a quick-service setting as KushiQ, the chain-in-the-making that opened yesterday in midtown.
When she’s not overseeing the automated grill, owner Jeannie Yuen runs an ad agency, which explains the twelve-seat shop’s spiffy bamboo-and-Corian design and branding-conscious logo. “A big part of success is marketing,” says Yuen, spoken like a future fast-food titan. “That’s our forte.” As for the substance behind the style, KushiQ’s streamlined menu aims to fill the midtown-lunch void with eight different skewers, from garden-variety chicken yakitori to miso-glazed tofu to Berkshire sausage with pineapple, all offered singly or in bento sets with miso soup and a choice of rice, salad, or sandwich bread. Skewer-supplementing sides include corn on the cob brushed with tare sauce, and sweet-potato fries seasoned with honey and black sesame. Lunch only for now, but breakfast, dinner, and delivery are on the way. —Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld
KushiQ, 723 Third Ave., nr. 45th St.; 212-682-5814