Now Reading
Why This 10-Seat Omakase Counter Is N.Y.C.’s Most Thrilling Place to Drink Wine

Why This 10-Seat Omakase Counter Is N.Y.C.’s Most Thrilling Place to Drink Wine

If your idea of dinner and a show is watching a world-class, multiple-Michelin-starred chef prepare your meal while you sip some of the world’s best wine, then NYC’s Sushi Ichimura is the spot for you. Renowned Japanese sushi chef Eiji Ichimura has returned to New York with a luxurious 10-seat omakase restaurant serving up delectable dinners alongside a stellar wine list. Having previously earned two Michelin stars each with Ichimura at Brushstroke and Uchu, Ichimura has partnered with the team behind Tribeca’s French-Japanese fusion restaurant L’Abeille to present 20-course dinners served alongside one of the most incredible selections of wine and sake we have ever seen in a stateside Japanese restaurant.

In addition to a three-page sake list broken down by style that presents bottles ranging between $95 and $10,500 (with most falling within three or four digits) the 17-page wine and spirits list offers two pages of Champagne featuring 11 different references from Krug and nine from Dom Pèrignon, two pages of white Burgundy, and six of grand and premier cru from Burgundy, Bordeaux and other French regions. One jaw-dropping page features 29 vintages of Chateau d’Yquem in full and half bottles! Beverage director David Bérubé and head sommelier James Meringer, both veterans of the fine dining world, offer set pairings of sake and wine with tasting menus and are available for advice on bottles to accompany the experience. In addition to sake and wine, there is a large selection of beer, Japanese whiskey, and exclusive chilled Japanese teas.

While jewel box Sushi Ichimura is so unassuming you could walk past without noticing the entrance, it and its two sister restaurants take up more than half a block on Greenwich Street in far west Tribeca. The synergy between the eateries extends beyond their wine cellars. “On its surface, the most visible thread is Japanese influence; while this is obviously dominant at Sushi Ichimura, chef Mitsu [Nagae] at L’Abeille and L’Abeille à Côté draws on his personal upbringing and culinary background to add a layer of complexity and inventiveness to the largely French menu at L’Abeille,” says Kuma Hospitality group manager William Berkis. “And, while the L’Abeille wine list leans heavy into France, David has incorporated sake into the by the glass offerings and wine pairings at L’Abeille.”

The wine is excellent, and the Yamazaki 18 ain’t bad either.

Evan Sung

Based on a set roster of small plates and nigiri sushi, the omakase menu can vary slightly from night to night based on market availability, and with that wine pairings change as well. Because of the nature of omakase—courses consist of a small plate or single piece of sushi—dinner is served with seven glasses of wine, not 20. Guests can request a custom flight as well if they favor just wine or just sake. That said, it’s best to arrive on time for your seating (5:30 and 8:30 PM, Tuesday through Saturday) and make your desires known. “Keep in mind, we have a very tight window to get the beverage selections up and running for the guests before we start the menu,” Meringer tells Robb Report. “Chef Ichimura has such a rhythm to the experience, so we try to have a conversation with the guest before the meal commences.”

We put this to the test at on a recent dinner and enjoyed an all-wine lineup that included a rosé of Pinot Noir from Argentina’s Patagonia region, a Rhône white, Riesling from the Mosel Valley, Austrian Gruner Veltliner, two different white Burgundies and demi-sec Champagne, all from top producers. “The beauty of our operation is that I can jump next door and see what we have to offer from our wine pairing selections at L’Abeille or from our more adventurous selection of by-the-glass options at L’Abeille à Côté,” Meringer says. “Having these options next door helps makes the magic happen.”

It’s obvious from moment you open the list that Bérubé and Meringer have done their homework, as it is filled with exactly the type of wine that one would expect with sushi or dishes like shirako tempura with truffles or the not-to-be-missed uni and caviar sandwich on mochi rice crackers. Although they are not pouring any red wines with the pairings currently, both are aware that they may encounter a diner who prefers only reds, and they are ready. When it comes to red wine with sushi, Meringer points out, “Burgundy is the way to go. An elegant fruity and floral option from Chambolle-Musigny or Volnay would be my first approach, while making sure tannins and wood are not the driving forces but instead finesse and subtlety. We have a few selections on our list that would work, such as Marquis d’Angerville 2017 Volnay 1er Cru Taillepieds and Ghislaine Barthod 2018 Chambolle Musigny.

Diners often request full bottles rather than pairings by the glass, either of sake from Japan’s most renowned breweries or the many wines on offer. One of the most popular sake choices is Akabu Brewery’s Gokujo No Kire, which translates to “super dry.” Other favorites include IWA 5, a sake made by former Dom Pèrignon cellar master Richard Geoffroy, and the Senshin bottling from Asahi Brewery, which Meringer describes as “crisp and polished.” Meringer often steers patrons seeking white wine towards Chablis, explaining, “a bottle with a little bit of age would be the choice to reach secondary flavors and more nuances in order to have profound pairing experiences.”

Chef Ichimura is partial to Krug’s Grande Cuvée.

Champagne and sparkling are also both terrific with the briny seafood starters and sushi, and the wine team is here for it. There is “a plethora of amazing options from all three of our operations, including sparkling sake, pet-nats, grower Champagne and of course, Krug,” Meringer says. “One of my favorite bottles to pair with the current menu at Sushi Ichimura is Dhondt-Grellet Premier Cru Les Terres Fines Blanc de Blancs. Its depth, precision and intensity are all qualities that one will find in chef Ichimura’s menu as the evening progresses.”

The chef finds himself craving bubbles with his menu as well.“I enjoy all kinds of wine and sake, but to go with sushi I look for ones that are light, crisp, and lean, so that it accompanies the sushi and showcases the delicate flavors.” Ichimura tells Robb Report. “I personally enjoy Champagne a lot, for example, a glass of Krug Grande Cuvée.”

Having opened in June and been awarded one Michelin star in November, the small but serene restaurant features an L-shaped, 10-seat Japanese cypress counter that puts the focus on Ichimura and executive chef Manabu Asanuma. Serving pieces include antique Japanese lacquerware and handmade plates by Shiro Tsujimura, a renowned Japanese ceramicist, while the eclectic glassware selection features a bevy of antique crystal pieces.  At 70, Ichimura is known for his characteristic style of cured and aged fish, which he has perfected over his career. He has been known for his celebrity following at previous restaurants, including former neighborhood residents Jay-Z and Beyoncé. As to whether you may spot them or any other high-profile fans at his new spot, Ichimura quips, “I’m grateful to have a number of notable guests who have followed me throughout my career. Our intimate omakase seating allows for a lot of privacy, which we respect, and they appreciate.”

Source: Robb Report

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Copyright © MetaMedia™ Capital Inc, All right reserved

Scroll To Top