The Kosaka modern japanese experience born of Michelin star chef Yoshihiko Kousaka is a truly luxurious foodie experience. With its lack of ostentatious signage it’s easily missed on this unassuming Manhattan side street, but you’d be a fool to walk by.
Step inside and the intimate experience begins immediately. The small restaurant seats only a handful of people and given the opportunity you should definitely sit at the bar to watch the skilful artistry that goes into each and every piece of your food. The menu is simple, consisting of two tasting options and a few supplements. The tasting options so carefully curated by Head Chef Yoshi, you need not concern yourself with poring over a huge list of different sushi, a sometimes overwhelming experience for those not familiar with japanese cuisine.
“As a Michelin star chef for the past ten consecutive years, Yoshihiko has appeared on popular shows such as Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Cooking Channel’s Unique Eats, and Food(ography). He has been recognized as one of the top sushi chefs in NYC by multiple newspapers and magazines such as Tokyo Calendar (2006), The New York Observer (2009), and Time Out (2013). In 2009, he took part in the annual James Beard Foundation Dinner and was recognized for
his skills in Japanese cuisine. In 2010, he was featured as the best sushi Chef in NYC on French Chef TV. Yoshihiko is also a frequent guest speaker on Randall’s Island teaching school children about the origins of rice and how to make onigiri (Japanese rice balls).”
After choosing the 15-18 piece Sushi Omakese (japanese for a type of meal consisting of dishes selected by the chef) we sat curiously at the bar while Chef Yoshi busily prepared our first piece. As if by magic, ginger appeared on our slates, the serving staff so unobtrusive it didn’t interrupt the wonder before us. (Not only that, but it was the most flavoursome ginger I’ve ever tasted.) Then, one by one, we were served a variety of salmon, snapper, sea urchins and eels. Watching Chef Yoshi was an impressive show, he deftly sliced each piece as though a hot knife through butter, whilst simultaneously moulding the rice for each piece using tiny dabs of wasabi as the glue. The paintbrush was dipped delicately in soy sauce in order to season the fish just enough to bring out the flavour, before being placed on the slate before you along with a snippet of info on the freshest fish you’re likely to taste.
Should you happen to be a sake fan, you’ve also come to the right place. The expertise of the host and serving staff along with the extensive menu will blow your mind. No need to feel overwhelmed with choice though, the staff will be happy to recommend the perfect sake to compliment the day’s menu, as well as the most incredible sparkling grape jelly sake to finish your meal on a sweet note.
While on the topic of ‘sweet notes’ it’s worth mentioning that the desserts too, are not to be sniffed at. From our rice paper jelly topped with slices of strawberry to matcha truffles for valentines day, again the passion of the creator and chef shines through.