On Thursday, February 6, Hakata Zen, a hot pot restaurant specializing in motsunabe a rich broth made of beef or pork intestines and served with accompaniments like cabbage, chives, chili peppers, tofu, noodles and more, will open on St. Marks Place. Alongside the traditional hot pot and sushi bar experience, the East Village establishment will also showcase NYC’s most robust Japanese beer and sake list.
The menu celebrates the historic tableside cooking technique of Japanese hot pot (nabe), which hails originally from Fukuoka prefecture in Japan. Hakata Zen’s hot pot varieties include Pork Belly Nabe with cabbage, soy sprouts, sesame, chili, chive, tofu and gobo, Collagen Nabe with pig collagen, chicken, pork belly, cabbage, chives, sesame, chili, tofu, wolfberry, garlic and gobo and Mizutaki Hot Pot with chicken intestines, chicken meatballs and assorted vegetables. All hot pot variations can be prepared using a classic base, shoyu base or miso base upon request.
In addition to the hot pot offerings, the menu also features made-to-order sushi, sashimi and special house rolls. Signature rolls include the Hakata Roll with soft shell crab, asparagus, avocado, spicy tuna and spicy aioli, Pink Lady with salmon, tuna, white fish, avocado and crunch wrapped with soy bean paper and El Diablo Roll with spicy tuna, cucumber, Japanese peppered tuna and spicy ponzu. Selections of ‘kushiyaki’ dishes or traditional Japanese grilled skewers also grace the menu in varieties ranging from Grilled Black Cod with Miso to Grilled Beef Tongue Slices. Sharable bites like Karaage, Takoyaki, Fried Tripe and Pork Buns round out the non-hot pot selections, bringing elements of Japanese izakaya offerings to the dining experience.
The beverage program, helmed by Japanese Spirit Aficionado, Katou Yuki, highlights an assortment of Japanese beers, sake, shochu and a growing Japanese cocktail list that will soon feature drinks like the Saketini and Japanese High Balls. Hakata Zen is home to the largest Japanese beer selection in NYC, including brews such as the Kyoto Matcha IPA, Kawaba Snow Weizen and Ginga Kogen. The robust sake program highlights the versatile nature of sake from nigori, a type of sake in which koji and rice grains are mixed without filtering moromi, to junmai, also known as “pure sake,” to flavored sake, which has tiny bubbles and a slightly sweet flavoring.
“Hakata Zen is an exciting concept for us to promote motsunabe cuisine and we are excited to pair this customary Japanese dining practice with a curated list of Japanese beers that many New Yorkers may have never tried before. We’re blending tradition with something new and exciting for adventurous eaters,” says Yuki.
In celebration of the opening, Hakata Zen will offer an exclusive hot pot-beer pairing special priced at $25 per person (21+). The pairing includes your choice of motsunabe hot pot and a bottle of Kyoto White Yuzu or Kyoto Matcha IPA.
Designed with Japanese minimalism in mind, the small and sleek 50-seat restaurant features comfortable booth seating, natural wood accents and neutral tones that serve as the perfect backdrop to the brightly colored dishes and of course flavorful and aromatic hot pot available at the table.