Tetsu’s Plans Have Changed

The highlight of last night’s meeting of the Community Board 1 Tribeca Committee (full minutes to follow) was the presentation about Tetsu, chef Masa Takayama’s long-planned restaurant at 78 Leonard. It was first announced in June of 2012, and last night, the reps had to present to CB1 again because the State Liquor Authority approval had lapsed. They said the plan was basically the same, except the dining area is 1,000 square feet smaller (what was going to be a large open kitchen is now storage space—that’s the big empty rectangle in the ground-floor floor plan below), and the 2,800-square-foot mezzanine, which was going to be a lounge/bar, is no longer for patrons’ use at all. An à la carte menu will be served on the street-level floor, while a tasting menu will be offered downstairs.

There was mention of a 16-seat sushi bar, which made me wonder whether the plan had changed even more. Sure enough, said the rep later in the hallway, Tetsu had been “reconceptualized,” still with some grilled food but away from teppanyaki and toward robata. (From Wikipedia: “a method of cooking, similar to barbecue, in which items of food on skewers are slow-grilled over hot charcoal.“)

Not until later in the meeting was I able to sneak a look at the application. The sample menus (below) are more accessible than Masa’s, or even the ones at the Tetsu in Las Vegas (pictured at top), and I don’t mean in price. You’ll find fried calamari, chicken wings, ramen, and even a burger and fries. (But no mention of sushi….)

Even more of a surprise, Tetsu plans to serve breakfast at some point.

Vote to approve: 8-0.

Tetsu conceptTetsu sample tasting menuTetsu a la carte menu1Tetsu a la carte menu2Tetsu floor plan ground floorTetsu floor plan cellarTetsu floor plan mezzanine



  1. Not sure why everybody feels the need to reinvent the wheel.
    they should just open up a higher end version of benhinana and call it a day (and by higher end i mean better quality ingredients – nothing more)
    most of the restaurants opening these days are not everyday places that you can continuously go back to.

    • I can’t describe how gutted I am at this news.

      I’ve been looking forward to a new teppanyaki restaurant in NY ever since I heard about this restaurant close to 3 years ago. Someone save us from Benihana, the only other teppanyaki restaurant in Manhattan!

  2. ANOTHER Japanese restaurant? We need MORE destination restaurants like the late Harrison. Not sushi joints, or places like Maison Kaiser and Sara Beth’s. Not places like Tiny’s with tiny, rickety tables and chairs to match.