Zutto Rebooted

I was taking Howard for a walk this weekend when I saw that Zutto‘s new awning was going up. I was taking Howard for another walk when I saw that the restaurant had reopened. I stopped to snap a photo of the menu posted outside, and new owner Angelo Cosentini came out. “It’s the blogger!” he said.

“Well, it ain’t Queen Elizabeth,” I didn’t say.

I told him that I was surprised to see that the menu had changed so much. At the Community Board 1 meeting where he applied for a new liquor license, he had said he wasn’t going to make many changes beyond improving the food. (Cosentini, who owns the commercial space and has just taken over the restaurant, would not be the first person to undershare with CB1.) He started to explain that Zutto needed a change, and I interrupted him. “You don’t have to tell me,” I said.

Click to read the menu

So what’s new? Contrary to what the menu outside says, Zutto does still sell sushi. But it also now offers hirata buns, a lobster roll, a “Kobe Umami Burger,” tea-smoked Peking duck, salt-baked Branzino, sweet potato tater tots, and a lot more that falls under the “Japanese American Pub” category.

The room got tweaked, too. Instead of entering to find yourself facing a wall (and a cabinet of knickknacks, including a framed photo of John and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy), you can see into the kitchen, and the dining room is open to the right. It feels fresher and more contemporary, although to be totally honest I hadn’t been to Zutto recently enough to know if all that much has changed beyond the addition of a communal table. In a first, tables are set with wine glasses. Wine and beer are available, and there should be full liquor this week.

UPDATE: Do read Cosentini’s comment below.



  1. Eric,
    It was a pleasure meeting you and Prince Howard this weekend. Let me clarify a couple of points if I may.
    First off (to paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen in my favorite vice presidential debate of all time), as a newly minted American, born in Canada of Italian descent, let me state that I know Queen Elizabeth. I had the pleasure of seeing her and admiring her stately wave to the adoring crowds. She was my Monarch and you Sir are no Queen Elizabeth. J. Let me also state for the record that I own Zutto with John Carson. He and I have been business partners for some 20 odd years.
    Truth be known, I did not under share with the CB1. What I did do, was spend 3 months in the restaurant on an almost daily basis. During that time, I came to realize that more than just the food needed to change. As we all know, a restaurant is more than just the food. It is an experience comprised of food, ambience and service. The more time I spent in the restaurant, the more I came to realize that it needed a more substantial change.
    Having said that, there was and is much to like about Zutto. The atmosphere remains warm and friendly. Although we updated the room, it is not a wholesale change. I would call it more of a freshening up.
    As for the menu, it is a clean sweep. We still offer Sushi as you noted. What you were unaware of is that the Sushi menu has changed dramatically and no longer lists many of the Rolls that our neighbors came to love over these many years. Although they are not on the list, if we have the ingredients available we will still make them for you. You just have to ask. If the waiter or waitress tell you that we no longer make them, tell them Angelo said you could have it. Our goal is to serve good food at a reasonable price and have you leave satiated and happy. I welcome your comments at info@zuttonyc.com. The website is temporary, but stay tuned for changes to it.

    Angelo Cosentini

  2. It’s EriK with a K! With a Ka-ka-ka-ka-K!!! Damn, that drives me batshit!! And where was the “warm regards” or “sincerely” or “peace be with you”?

  3. @Jim: Comments like that do not help with the perception that you are my alter ego, not that there’s anything wrong with that. (But thanks!)

  4. Oops, with an O. Sorry about that.

    Warm Regards and Peace be with you Erik and Jim.


  5. @Erik: Okay, but would that make me Bruce Wayne or Batman? Because I seriously think I look better it tights. No offense.

  6. @Jim: I’ll take your word for it.

  7. Is there a children’s menu?

  8. Sorry, but no. I’m sure we can find something they will like thou.

  9. Jim, that’s better “in” tights, with an N! Na Na Na NA ….N!

  10. @SJW – that’s what she said.

  11. Dined here tonight and it was a revelation! Zutto’s been in the nabe almost as long as I have, I think, and I’ll admit that I stopped going there when the original Japanese owner sold it (early 90’s?). My impression was that the place had gotten tired and lost its way. “Neighborhood dependable” at best. But the new Zutto is wonderful. The menu isn’t Japanese, but has Japanese, Chinese, European, and Korean influences. And while I despise the “fusion” concept, this is not that – it just blazes its own path and does so deliciously. The service is a delight, preparation superb and the interior is finely detailed and homey. Well done!