Nare Sushi, a new Japanese restaurant located in the heart of Manhattan’s Midtown East neighborhood, officially opened to the public Monday following a soft launch. Exploring fresh ingredients and authentic flavors with traditional technique, Nare Sushi offers innovative, yet approachable Japanese cuisine to locals and visitors of New York City alike.
Executive Chef Nakamichi (Mitch) Shinohara acquired KAISEKI cuisine under his master, Wakio Shimada, a current chairman of the Yokohama Chefs Association, Yorozuya-Mutsmisha. Before moving to the US in 2006, Shinohara worked for Sushi Haru, an acclaimed restaurant in Kanagawa, Japan that has been passed down in his family for generations.
The 60-seat restaurant consists of three open-floor levels that keep the energy of the restaurant flowing in unison. Yu Ohata, a Japanese interior designer, incorporated traditional Japanese elements into the design to create a casual, yet elegant atmosphere. The dark wooden tables and chairs are balanced by subtle yellow accents and fresh flowers to make the space feel light and airy. From the moment one walks through the door, they are effortlessly transported into a peaceful environment. As guests walk up the stairs to the restaurant, they pass through seven “gates” that serve as a representation of a traditional Torji gate, known to the Japanese culture as a division between the physical and spiritual worlds. Guests can choose to dine at the tables or at the Sushi Bar on the top floor of the restaurant, which is also openly displayed for viewing.
Standouts on the menu include the 12-piece Omakase, served with a traditional roll for an reasonable $55 per person. Chef carefully selects the freshest ingredients of the day with a focus on seasonality to experience the best traditional Edomae style of sushi.
The appetizers are broken down between hot, cold, raw and broiled options, ranging from Sukui Tofu, scooped all natural silken tofu from Japan topped with bonito flakes, scallion, and dressed with savory sesame soy sauce; Asari Sake Butter, lightly braised short-neck clams with sake and homemade shiso butter; and Yuan Gindara, black cod marinated in sweet sake, soy sauce and seasoned yuzu juice.
The soup and noodle dishes range from lighter to more robust hearty options, such as traditional miso soups, and more Western and Eastern Japanese-influenced styles with udon and soba noodles. The salad options are light and flavorful with homemade dressings like onion-wasabi, yuzu zest, and creamy tofu dressing, and are served in portions ideal for appetizers, sharing or as an entree.
The tempura dishes are available in a seafood or vegetable assortment, and are made with organic eggs from California mixed with a special made, low viscosity flour from Japan called “Super Violet”, which creates the optimal balance of flavor and crispy texture. Unlike typical tempura flour used in Japanese restaurants throughout the U.S., Super Violet has the lowest gluten content of any other flour, making it lighter and easier to digest.
For entrees, guests can choose from a selection of meats, tofu and seafood dishes prepared with a modern twist on Japanese flavors like teriyaki, miso, and ponzu. Guests are able to order sushi and sashimi pieces a la carte, by the roll, or as an entree serving. Each of the rolls are handmade carefully so that the ingredients complement the freshness of the fish. Specialty sushi pieces and sashimi are imported from Japan, inclusive of Uni (sea urchin) from Hokkaido, Japan; Isaki (Grunt); Shima Aji (Stripped Jack Fish), Kinmedai (Golden Eye Snapper), Kamasu (Baracuda), Aji (Horse Mackerel); and more, depending on the daily availability of the fish market.
Signature rolls include the Nare Roll with tuna, avocado, cucumber and tobiko rolled with kombu paper, topped with spicy mayo; and Traditional Edomae Futomaki with tamago, eel, pickles, kampyo and tobiko, rolled with special seaweed. Popular rolls like Dragon, California, and Philadelphia Rolls are also available for order. Seasonally inspired dishes are also prepared as specials daily.
The beverage menu features wine selections by the glass or bottle, traditional Japanese beers by the draft and bottle, and an extensive sake list. The wines range from versatile Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir from California, to Plum Wine and Koshu from Japan. Sake is served in a 300ml or 720ml format, and can be customized to pair with any course by Beverage Director Jinmi Lee. In addition to traditional sakes served year-round, Nare sushi offers seasonal Nama, fresh unpasteurized sake in limited editions. Nare sushi curates special sake parings to accompany all seasonal dishes as well.