Zutto
77 Hudson St.
(bet. Harrison and Jay)
212-233-3287
Japanese
More casual than fancy


Zutto has been rebooted as more than a neighborhood sushi restaurant: The room is more open, with more style (tables are set with wine glasses), while the menu is now “Japanese American Pub” food—with hirata buns and ramen, a lobster roll and a “Kobe Umami Burger.”

Zuttozutto room1 zutto room2

2 Comments

  1. (11-17) My first visit here since (probably) the late 80’s was a complete shock. A friend requested we meet here and my wife and I did everything to avoid it. Now we’re fans.

    I admit there was some snobbery at play. My wife and most of my family are Japanese. Over 75% of the “Japanese” restaurants in NYC have no Japanese personnel at all. That’s no crime, of course, but it does invite critical comparison, and to say most places don’t pass muster is being very kind.

    The place also has a history. I’ve been in the nabe since the mid-70’s when the dining scene was barren. When Zutto arrived in 1980 it was one of the first “serious” restaurants to take a chance here, and it built a fond following on that. Sometime in the early 90’s, if I recall, the original Japanese owner sold it. From there it apparently lost its way. It managed to stay open as “neighborhood dependable”, but I’m told the quality of the food went into deep decline.

    A few months ago it was purchased anew, and put under the leadership of a new chef. The new menu (not fond of the trendy term “food program”, but it sounds more rigorous, and so may apply here) is hard to describe. “Pastiche” sounds like a put-down but it’s definitely not Japanese. The crew is Korean, and there are some Japanese dishes along with characteristic Chinese and Korean classics, but there’s quite a bit of traditional Euro-American fare as well. I’d say the characteristics that bind it together are the exceptional quality of the ingredients, care and delicacy in preparation, and grace in presentation. That praise isn’t overwrought. We came in prepared for disappointment and left delighted. The service is warm and attentive, the staff charming, the atmosphere welcoming, and the prices modest. (About the decor: If you are coming from a Japanese background there are some amusingly odd elements, but their eagerness to do right by their guests is part of the aforementioned charm).

    It’s always a great day when you can be surprised by any restaurant, especially one you thought you knew. I recommend a visit to the _new_ Zutto very highly.

  2. Sometimes I just don’t want to travel and then be lied to about a 30 minute wait that always drags into a 1 hour + wait at Ippudo.

    Overall? No wait and no commute is a win for me! MMMMMmmm KAE-DAMA!

    http://dailyfoodie.blogspot.com/2013/02/zutto-ramen.html

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