New Kid on the Block: Ito

While I have yet to eat at Ito — a new Japanese omakase restaurant on Barclay — I am adding it here as a New Kid since they opened two months ago (thanks to N. for tuning me in!) and since it may take me months to get there — I’ve got a backlog of fancy restaurant outings still to book.

They applied for the liquor license with CB1 in October 2019 — the restaurant was scheduled to open in March 2020, and we all know how that went — so I had completely forgotten about it. And the exterior is subtle to say the least. There are no windows and barely a sign, just a small brass plaque mounted on the gray stucco wall just west of New York Vintners. But the interior is a minimalist, wood-paneled jewel box and smelled incredible when I stopped by.

The restaurant is owned by chefs Masa Ito and Kevin Kim (along with some investors), best friends who met a decade ago in California and have worked together on and off over the years. Masa was born in Hokkaido (his grandfather had a sushi restaurant), raised in Orange County, Cali., and recruited by Sushi Zo in 2012. He came to the city as the chef for Sushi Zo’s third location, in the East Village, and received a Michelin star for his work there in his first year.

Kevin was born and raised in Orange County, started cooking at age 19, and was hired by Sushi Zo in 2016. He arrived here to work for their New York restaurant three years later. This is their first venture as a pair, and Masa’s wife — Misa Ito — is the operations manager, so it really is a family affair.

They have a 14-seat bar with an eight-seat private dining room. The only menu available is the omakase service at $285 per person, not inclusive of beverage, tax or gratuity. More TK when I treat myself. And to tide you over, watch the incredibly satisfying video below.

75 Barclay | Church and West Broadway
Book at Resy