The fast-casual steak replacement for shrinking Japanese chain Ikinari Steak opens its first NYC location in Midtown today.
Pepper Lunch is billed as a Japanese fast-casual teppan restaurant, where diners cook the meats to their preferred temperature on personal-sized iron platters heated to a balmy 500 degrees. Diners will order from a counter, and the sizzling platter gets delivered to the table. The menu includes steaks like an angus sirloin, plus the restaurant’s signature “pepper rice,” a vegetable and rice dish mixed with beef, eel, or salmon.
The restaurant at 243 West 54th St., between Eighth Avenue and Broadway replaces one of several Ikinari Steak locations shuttering around town. Its 8-ounce sirloin costs $20.90, while the rice dishes range from $11 to $15.50. The sizzling platter stays hot for over 20 minutes, in hopes of ensuring the meal won’t go cold.
In February, parent company Pepper Food Service announced the closure of nine of its 11 locations of Ikinari Steak locations, marking the end of an ambitious NYC expansion for the standing-only, quick-service Japanese steakhouse. Only two Ikinari locations will remain; one in the East Village (the original) and one near Times Square. This Midtown spot and another in Chelsea are becoming Pepper Lunch.
Pepper Lunch has hundreds of locations in more than 15 countries, including Singapore, Australia, and Hong Kong. Its first U.S. outpost opened in Los Angeles last year, where it draws lines at lunch time, and additional locations are slated for Houston and Las Vegas.
The new Midtown location will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.