Kissaki — the anticipated new omakase restaurant from the popular chef behind former Astoria sushi bar Gaijin — opens today on the Lower East Side, at 319 Bowery, between First and Second Streets.
Mark Garcia brings his quirky and unusual takes on sushi to his new restaurant in dishes like the bluefin tuna with caviar, yuzu zest, and plum soy sauce; Buri, a type of Japanese yellowtail, served with soy sauce and pepper-infused butter; and broiled Kinmedai, a bright-red fish, served with a crispy, honey-infused radish garnish.
“I really want customers to come in here and have fun and have a laugh,” says Garcia. “I hope that comes across through my conversations with them.”
Garcia has developed a reputation for being an innovative sushi chef, and he’s bringing more of that creativity to his new restaurant. Prior to helming the kitchen at Astoria’s Gaijin, Garcia worked at top Chicago Japanese restaurants Momotaro and Sushi Kaze. At Gaijin, he was known for his innovative nigiri like tuna with butter-roasted shiitake mushrooms and toasted almonds hidden in the rice.
Garcia’s omakase is complemented by kaiseki-style plates dished out by chef Evan Zagha, who previously worked at David Bouley’s former Tribeca Japanese restaurant Brushstroke. In 16 courses — which includes a back-and-forth between the omakase and kaiseki dishes — Zagha serves plates like soy-poached duck served with a Japanese-style spinach salad, Japanese ginger, and a yuzu miso sauce, or a stir-fry made with sesame yuzu sauce, bamboo shoots, and watermelon radish. In all, the meal sets diners back by $160 per person.
“You come in not knowing what you will eat, but hopefully leave fulfilled and entertained,” says Zagha.
The intimate restaurant — decked in red oak fixtures, dark blue wallpaper featuring hand-drawn gold fish, and a long wooden sushi bar — seats 16 at the bar, and has 12 additional seats for a la carte dining. Kissaki offers multiple seatings per night usually broken up into two groups of eight, and is open Wednesday through Sunday.