Times critic Pete Wells sussed out Sen Sakana this week — that $7 million Midtown restaurant that focuses on Nikkei cuisine — and finds a restaurant that doesn’t live up to its hefty price tag. It’s one very tepid star for the sprawling restaurant that was supposed to be one of the biggest openings of the year, following a pricey build out and a three year delay.
The restaurant, with chef duo Mina Newman and Taku Nagai focusing on Japanese-Peruvian fusion food, has some hits but a lot of misses on the menu, which can be broken down into appetizers, main courses, skewers, and sushi. Wells steers readers to focus on the skewers section:
With the exception of undercrisped chicken skin, the skewers of meats and vegetables grilled over charcoal on a robata are worth investigating, especially the Japanese sweet potato with a melting slab of aji amarillo-spiked butter, and the pork belly stuffed with queso cremoso, which has the texture of mozzarella that is trying to turn itself into cream cheese.
Other items he recommends include cucumber yamitsuki, shrimp and crab gyoza, sea bream tiradito, and chocolate tres leches cake. Avoid the “more oily than crisp” root vegetable chips, underseasoned onigiri, skirt steak over “flavorless” tacu-tacu. One star.