More than five years in the making, chef Masa Takayama — of the three-Michelin-starred Masa — finally opens his more casual robatayaki Tetsu tonight. The grill, located at 78 Leonard Street between Church and Broadway, is supposed to be a relaxing place for Japanese comfort food and a martini. It’s a format that Takayama couldn’t find so created himself, first in Las Vegas and now here.
The menu is grouped by cooking style, featuring raw, grilled, fried, and sizzling preparations of meat, vegetables, and seafood. As expected in a grill, there are plenty of meat, seafood, and vegetable skewers. Less expected is the fish-based pasta made from fish and shrimp paste.
There are also salads, stews, rice, and some sushi, as well as lots of fusion: Beef tripe tomatillo and tuna butsu guacamole are both on the menu. And the two burgers — lamb and beef on pretzel buns — have just limited availability, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The full menu is below.
The space’s focal point is the robata grill, with a 36-foot-long bar facing it. There’s a lot of wood and iron (“tetsu” in Japanese) in the industrial design of the bi-level space. Upstairs is a lounge for diners to drink before or after dinner.
Downstairs houses Basement, a subterranean omakase that won’t open until next year. Expect a price point around $300 for 10 to 12 courses focusing on meat such as whole squab, A5 Wagyu beef, and whole fish. The 34-seat space should open in early 2018.
For now, Tetsu is open for dinner Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m., with lunch to follow in 2018. It will soon be the only Tetsu in the country, with the Las Vegas location soon to shutter.