KushiQ Aims to Launch a Yakitori EmpireMeat 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.
Reika Yo on Where (and What) to Eat During Japanese Restaurant WeekSharpen your chopsticks: Many of the city’s best Japanese eateries are offering prix fixe meals and signature dishes for Japanese Restaurant Week, which starts Sunday and runs through March 10. (Get the details here.) We asked Reika Yo, the owner of EN Japanese Brasserie, to give a primer, in her own words, for those who think Japanese cuisine begins and ends with sushi (and what’s sashimi again?) and provide picks to go along with it. (The excellent EN Japanese Brasserie, by the way, is an elevated version of an izayaka, where you find many small, rustic dishes.)
You Bring the Booze, ‘Izakaya’ Brings the Grilled Ox TongueWe like our yakitoris with Sapporo-splattered floors and burnt tinfoil walls, but the owner of this Ludlow Street newcomer ain’t having it. A designer who has also worked with Banana Republic outfitted the narrow space with dark wood paneling, mirror inlays of sakura flowers, and comfortable brown-leather bar stools. The opening menu is limited to grilled skewers like a heavily peppered black Angus beef in teriyaki sauce, capelin fish stuffed with roe, and kurobuta sausage, a baby bratwurst made from corn-fed pig and topped with mayonnaise dotted with fish roe. A dessert special consists of Jell-O stars made from osmanthus petals. Expect the chef to get still more fanciful when a full izakaya menu kicks in later this month. The restaurant has been awaiting a liquor license for eight months, and it may be a while longer before 30 types of sake are on offer; in the meantime, September Wine & Spirits is just across the street. — Daniel MaurerYozakura Kushiyaki Bar, 168 Ludlow St., nr. Stanton St.; 212-226-2066