Popular Japanese chain Ikinari Steak — known for being a standing-only steakhouse — opens the doors on its first U.S. outpost on Thursday in the East Village. The new restaurant at 90 East 10th St. will have sit-down spots for ten diners, but most of the space in the dining room is dedicated to high table tops for people who must stand as they eat. In Japan, the idea is to feed people quality steak as quickly as possible, at a modest price.
Besides the standing portion of the meal, dining at the restaurant is intended to be an interactive experience. Patrons choose their cut of meat by the gram, and a butcher cuts and weighs it right in front of them. They cook it only one way, rare. The steak then arrives at the table on a sizzling cast-iron platter, where people can choose from a dizzying array of sauces, dressings, and other additives to top their meal.
It’s just the beginning of the chain’s presence in New York. Ambitious founder Kunio Ichinose and his stateside operations manager Takashi Tsuchiyama want to open 20 more locations in Manhattan in the next five years. Take a look around the space below, from when photographer Nick Solares snapped photos of the restaurant during a preview lunch earlier this week, and read more about their plans (and why Ikinari Steak is so popular in Japan) here. As always, let us know what you think if you stop by.