Another Japanese Restaurant on Leonard?

Gallery 69The Community Board 1 agendas for June include this tantalizing item to be discussed by the Tribeca Committee:

69 Leonard Street, application for restaurant liquor license for Ichidan LLC – Resolution

Located is on the north side of the street, just east of Church, 69 Leonard was most recently the site of Gallery 69, and I had no idea the space was vented (if it even was). Ichidan LLC was registered in March by Idan Elkon, who appears to live on N. Moore. And of course this is more or less across the street from 78 Leonard, where chef Masa Takayama has long planned a restaurant called Tetsu. I assumed that Ichidan will be a Japanese restaurant, because the name sure sounds Japanese, but then I’m writing this from Tokyo.

P.S. Mr. Elkon, if you’re out there, please feel free to tease us with more details in advance of the CB1 meeting. I’m at or 917-209-6473.



  1. Disaster. 69 Leonard is the most Ill Managed building. When it was gallery 69 the noise and garbage level infected the whole block they had “openings” where police had to be called because of noise and drinking outside. . They are ticketed daily. The residents of this building pay no attention to garbage regulations throwing raw garbage and recycling out on the street without any regard for correct garbage pickup days. There is always a pile of stinking rotting garbage in front. Now add a restaurant? Also 69 Leonard is a “party” building on weekends lots of bros drinking beers and screaming I can’t imagine how a restaurant will fit into this already bad scenario.

  2. And the last thing we need is another Japanese restaurant.

    • I like Japanesse food. Enough to know that there are many, many varieties and that it’s not all Teriyaki, Janet. I found your statement to be ignorant, culturally insensitive, and frankly offensive to the various hardworking Japanesse/Americans who share their culture and cuisine in this melting pot we call New York. No one knows what it will be (hopefully greet sushi) but I’m sure Ichidan will be a clean and welcome addition to TriBeCa.

      • I don’t think what she said is remotely offensive or ignorant. I agree with Janet that there are a lot of mediocre Japanese restaurants in the area and would like to see some more variety. Plus, the point you make about it being offensive to Japanese Americans actually proves your ignorance because the majority of the Japanese “restaurants” in the area are run by Chinese owners.

  3. Dear????

    I knew there would be someone out there like you who would just like to argue and throw out nasty words — maybe just because you are having a bad day. Nevertheless–although I shouldn’t dignify your words with a response—I have lived off and on in Asia for years and enjoy and respect the various cultures there immensely. I was simply stating we have more than enough Japanese restaurants. Thank you, Lowphat.

    • Dearest Janet,
      Lowphat’s defense of your statement is poor at best.
      1) Chinese people are not precluded from being excellent chefs of other cuisines. To assume they all are is both unfair and a micro-aggression. But you don’t seem to see that do you?
      2) You didn’t say there are enough “mediocre” Japanese restaurants. You wrote that there are enough.
      3) Assuming that you meant “mediocre” why would you assume, and indeed it is a big fat assumption, that Ichidan is going to mediocre? Your prejudgment is an indication of bias.
      4) To say there are enough of one entire group of anything is patently offensive. I am not an overly sensitive person but think you need to look a little harder at how what you wrote might be interpreted. Your vast travel experience “knowing” all sorts of Asians does not justify your words. I know lots of ___ people does not give anyone the right to speak derogatorily about those people.
      5) If you don’t like the current Japanese restaurants around here, don’t eat at them. But to complain that another new option is coming to this neighborhood because you don’t like the existing ones is some seriously flawed logic.

      Peace Out.

      • Although you’ve peaced-out (or peace-outed) I want to carry this just one step further. Janet’s statement said a lot by implication, and I agree that’s risky. I am reading into it, but I think that she was indeed saying that there are too many mediocre (actually very poor, imo) “Japanese restaurants” in this area, and throughout the city. And we know, as a matter of fact, that at least 3/4 of these are owned and operated by Chinese food concerns, and have a different set of standards than the traditional sushi purveyors of Japan. It’s a fact we can simply pass over with equanimity and choose to support these places or not. For those who’ve had the experience of this style of cuisine in Japan, where there’s a very strict and rigorous hierarchical system of apprenticeship and attainment of rank, the differences really stand out. Those people are aware that there are precious few – perhaps a small handful at most – of truly authentic and accomplished Japanese sushi restaurants in this city (and most employ some non-Japanese preparers, btw). Most of the rest are basically in competition with the sushi offerings at Whole Foods. Nothing wrong with the latter, but there should be a recognition of the vast difference. As far as implied racism goes, however, you’re dead wrong. When Erik inveighs, as he has, against the number of nail salons in the neighborhood, for example, even though we know that most of these businesses are associated with Korean ownership, _by no means whatsoever_ is he making a statement of racist invective against Korean people. If you hear racism in Janet’s statement, please have your receptors checked.

  4. I’m afraid Southpaw’s appraisal is on target. I’ve lived next door to that building most of my life. The “bro” situation I can live with, I suppose. I like people to have fun and it’s never really gotten under my skin. The “graffiti gallery” phase, with its numerous parties that spilled out into the street was an interesting one. The guests were of the sort often euphemistically described as “colorful”. They were street artists, and grace and propriety were not their strong points. But they seemed to me by no means malignant or ill-intentioned. And I’m accustomed to pot smoke so I didn’t care much about that either. I realize I’m more tolerant than many others in this neighborhood in that regard. If there was serious drinking and noise-making, and if my apartment had windows that faced out on it, I might feel differently. But the darkest indication of mismanagement wasn’t mentioned. For about a year the storefront served as a clearing center for the “black plastic bag” people of Canal Street. They’d make their sales up there and send customers down to 69 Leonard which, for that period, had blacked-out windows. Police were called numerous times, but the miscreants seemed to know how to elude them. It hardly goes lower than to watch folks in pastels be led by brawny guys with eyes shifting side-to-side on the lookout for cops into a blacked-out chamber at all hours of the day and night for months on end. It’s truly depressing and the management had to have known about it.

    Regarding Janet’s comment, most of my living family is Japanese and she said nothing that was offensive in the least. She was correct.

  5. If anyone’s interested, this sheet was slipped under the door at 71 Leonard Street, next door to the proposed location: