Omakase, a type of Japanese dish that leaves the choice of dishes up to the chef, is most commonly associated with a parade of sushi bites. But it’s also applied to yakitori at this restaurant by Atsushi Kono, an expert in yakitori, or “grilled bird,” usually chicken skewers. Mr. Kono was the chef of Yakitori Torishin in New York since 2006 after working in Japan for some time. Now he’s opening his own eatery, where he serves yakitori omakase while watching over grills fueled by binchotan charcoal, which is commonly used in Japanese cuisine. It takes center stage, surrounded on three sides by a dramatically lit counter that seats 14 and offers dinner at 5:30pm, 6pm, 8:30pm and 9pm for $165 (drinks, tax and tip are extra) . Various cuts of organic chicken, including the heart, oyster, tender knees, tail and fillet, are grilled on bamboo skewers as the centerpiece of the meal. Chicken thigh roulades, chicken pies and soups are also served, with a black sugar crème brûlée to finish. Optional extras include wagyu, king crab, and Iberico pork. The restaurant also has a table for four to six people.
46 Bowery (Canal Street), 646-524-6838, yakitorikono.com.
This new Williamsburg restaurant, helmed by Chef Mike Solomonov and Steve Cook, Philadelphia restaurateurs known for their interpretations of Israeli cuisine, is located on the heated, weatherproof, open-air rooftop of the Hoxton, a London-based hotel chain. In New York they once ran Dizengoff, but in Chelsea Market it closed in 2018. For this, their first restaurant in New York, they have teamed up with Boka, a hospitality group from Chicago. Grilled meat, whole fish and vegetables are the specialties, served with side dishes and pita. The chef is Andrew Henshaw who has worked with CookNSolo, Mr. Solomonov and Mr. Cook’s company. (Opens Sunday)
The Hoxton, 97 Wythe Avenue (North 10th Street), Williamsburg, Brooklyn, www.laserwolfbrooklyn.com.
Florence Ristorante Toscano & Bar
One of the restaurants in Eataly’s financial district has transformed from southern Italian cuisine to Tuscan cuisine. Ribollita, pappa al pomodoro, pappardelle al cinghiale (wild boar) and a classic Tuscan porterhouse are the work of Diego Puddu, Eataly’s culinary director for North America, and Adam Hill, executive chef of the market’s downtown branch. Part of the wine list is dedicated to Chianti Classico, and there are Florentine cocktails like the Santa Maria del Fiore, made with Chianti vin santo.
Eataly Downtown, 101 Liberty Street (Church Street), Third Floor, 646-677-8580, eataly.com.
The migrant kitchen
Ingredients like sumac and Oaxaca cheese rarely inhabit the same sandwich. But in the Migrant Kitchen they do. You’ll also find dishes made with blends of za’atar, Aleppo pepper, chipotle chilies, turmeric and ginger. “Why not?” asked Dan Dorado, 45, of Mexican origin and business partner of Nasser Jaber, 38, a West Bank Palestinian. They met while working at Ilili in Manhattan. Jaclinn Tanney, who works on the nonprofit side, is a third partner. Before Covid, they started a catering business serving specialties from Mexico and the Middle East, but with the lockdown they were left with a stockpile of meals left over from canceled events. So they donated them and thousands more to feed those in need during the pandemic. A pop-up followed on Stone Street in the Financial District, as well as smaller outlets on the Upper East Side and a counter at Time Out Market in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Now there is this new flagship near Lincoln Center. They still donate meals through the Migrant Kitchen Initiative, their foundation, and employ immigrants like their El Salvadoran chef, Alex Hernandez. They also hope to find Ukrainians who need work.
157 Columbus Avenue (67th Street), themigrantkitchennyc.com.