Finally, an Opening Date for Tetsu

According to a Bloomberg Pursuits article, chef Masa Takayama’s Tetsu restaurant—or at least part of it—will open November 14. It’s been a long time coming: Tribeca Citizen broke the news of Takayama’s intention to open Tetsu back in April of 2012, followed two months later by the location (78 Leonard).

In the interim, Takayama says the delays were ones that any restaurant going into an 1865 landmarked New York building would have faced. […] The result is a space that feels vintage Tribeca, with 14-foot ceilings, restored Corinthian columns, and plenty of iron work. (Tetsu translates as “iron.”) The main floor is dominated by a 36-foot counter fashioned from a single Japanese Bubinga tree, with a mezzanine level decorated with zig-zagging cables.

The downstairs, meanwhile, won’t open for a few weeks at least:

If the plan for the main floor is to be highly accessible, the plan for the downstairs, called Basement, is to create extreme dinner parties. The reservations-only space has 34 seats situated between a long counter facing the kitchen and individual tables crafted from metal and designed by the chef. The omakase menu will be priced at $295 and will start around Dec. 1.

The menu has evolved over the years, but focus is still far from the kind of sushi Takayama is famous for at Masa in the Time Warner Center.

The idea of a chef whose specialty is the most elite, expensive seafood in the world turning his attention to such dishes as fried chicken and peppercorn spare ribs is compelling. Tetsu’s menu includes sections with names such as “Sizzling,” “Fried,” and the namesake “Robata Grill.” […] On the menu: A long list of skewered items, costing from $4 to $9, includes juicy pork sausage flavored with three kinds of chile; sweet beef; soy-glazed chicken; coco shrimp; baby potato; and “misoburi” yellowtail. Among the stews are meaty chunks of pork neck with black bean; grilled vegetable and miso; and tender slices of beef tripe in a tangy tomatillo broth ($8 to $14). Takayama is frying everything from quail to soft shell shrimp with garlic, as well as the aforementioned chicken, available as whole or half ($22 or $14). […] There’s a selection of nigiri sushi, and it’s cheaper than comparable options at his uptown Bar Masa. (The goal at the downtown restaurant is to make food that’s approachable in terms of prices and selection, he says.)

Neither Bloomberg Pursuits nor Tetsu’s website mention when we can begin making reservations, so I called; the staffer said they’d start on November 13.

(P.S. Not mentioned is that Takayama has aready opened a restaurant called Tetsu at the Aria hotel in Las Vegas. It appears to be less ambitious than this one, in the way that Vegas restaurants tend to be.)

The image at the top is courtesy Tetsu.

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