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NYC Will Soon Get an Omakase from a Shuko Alum in the Subway, a la Japan

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Toko has former Shuko and Bouley chefs at the helm

A rendering of a dramatically lit sushi bar surrounded by nine seats Soojin Kim/Toko [Official Rendering]

A fancy, Tokyo-style Japanese restaurant in a subway will soon open in New York City.

Toko, located in the northeast corner of the Herald Square subway station at West 32nd Street and Broadway, will serve two different tasting menus from former Shuko and Bouley chefs. J. Trent Harris (Shuko, Sushi Ginza Onodera) will handle the sushi side of things, while Nami Song (Bouley) tackles the other savory items. Dishes in the $150 and $185 menus could include sea pineapple nigiri with vinegar-soy-sauce marinade and citrus or nine-mushroom chawanmushi (steamed egg custard) with mushroom ankake (sauce) and mushroom shoyu (soy sauce).

Though Toko is inside a subway station, it’s not past the turnstiles. A door will lead to a 1,500-square-foot-space that reveals a glass-enclosed wine room and an 18-seat white ash dining counter with leather walls, a dark gray porcelain tile floor, and gray suede high-backed stools. A private dining room seats another eight people.

The owners here are Bobby Kwak and Joseph Ko, who are also behind one of the city’s best Korean barbecue spots, Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong. The duo is also opening a Los Angeles Korean barbecue restaurant import Ahgassi Gopchang this fall.

While subway restaurants are common in Tokyo — it’s the site of the world’s most renowned sushi restaurant, Jiro — it hasn’t quite caught on in NYC. But there is Turnstyle, the food hall within the Columbus Circle subway station.

Toko is set to open in November. Stay tuned.


49 West 32nd St., New York, NY 10001