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KOYO is Just Opened – A Hideaway Sushi & Kaiseki Inspired Omakase Experience in Astoria

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KOYO is Just Opened – A Hideaway Sushi & Kaiseki Inspired Omakase Experience in Astoria

Concept: Kōyō, which means "autumn foliage" referring to the changing colors of the maple tree leaves as the seasons change, is the newest chic Japanese restaurant spotlighting a seasonally driven sushi and kaiseki inspired omakase in the heart of Astoria. The brainchild of Owner Jay Zheng of Element Restaurant Enterprise Group, the restaurant is led by Executive Chef Darry Liu (Eleven Madison Park, Shuko, Ichimura at Uchu), who stages two dining concepts under one roof. The eight-seat sushi omakase bar is helmed by Liu while he oversees his team, who crafts the kaiseki inspired omakase in the dining area. Set in a minimalist jewel box style space, the Kōyō team wants to transport its guests taking them on a culinary journey and focusing solely on showcasing the highest quality seasonal ingredients sourced from theFukuoka and Toyosu market, where the famed Tsukiji market relocated to in Japan.

Owner: Jay Zheng came to Brooklyn with his family in 1994 from China, who established eight successful restaurants throughout the United States. Throughout his childhood Zheng worked every post at his family's businesses and gained an in-depth knowledge of the culinary industry, learning everything about operating a successful business. After turning 18, he left for Chicago to further his education in the field and immediately became involved in a variety of major projects in the hospitality scene including the acclaimed Peninsula Hotel where he was inspired by all the different Michelin-starred chefs he met during his time in Chicago and their approach to the fine dining world. It was his time with these chefs that spurred Zheng to begin a fine dining focused restaurant group and bring his first concept, Gaijin, to New York City to spotlight an outsider perspective to Japanese cuisine. With the launch of Kōyō, which is found in the old Gaijin space, Zheng plans to bring more multinational fine dining establishments to New York City in the coming years.

Executive Chef: Chef Darry Liu has been immersed in the restaurant industry for over a decade helping to support on major Japanese restaurant openings throughout New York City. He sharpened his skills working under his greatest mentors Masa alums Jimmy Lau and Nick Kim assisting them as the opening sushi chef with the launch of their acclaimed restaurant Neta. When Lau and Kim decided to open a new concept withShuko they requested that Liu join them. For a brief time while Shuko was being built, Liu was offered an opportunity to work on the line at the famed Eleven Madison Park, where he truly fell in love with fine dining. Once Shuko was ready to be launched he returned to work under the tutelage of Lau and Kim. Before taking his place at Kōyō he spent several months working with Chef Eiji Ichimura from two Michelin-starred Uchū Sushi Bar to further refine his sushi skills and learning about Ichimura's fish aging techniques.A romantic at heart, Chef Liu is consistently inspired by the new ingredients that emerge in each season allotting for his menu that is ever rotating and changes as often as the winds.

Sushi Omakase: The sushi omakase menu commences with the palate awakening Sunomono, a succulentDungeness crab lightly piled on a bed of mitsuaki seaweed from Okinawa with a Japanese vinaigrette, adorned with sisal flowers. The Suimono is a work of art with strikingly ryujin cut tofu known to be found in the Roppongi District in Tokyo that resembles a flower, swimming in a pool of light dashi with ginkgo nuts and matsutake mushrooms to cleanse the palate for the nigiri course that follows. The expertly crafted twelve-piece nigiri course, which is all served with Kinmemai rice imported from Tokyo features ever-changing market-based selections such as Golden Eye snapper with yuzu zest, White Squid with Hokkaido Uni andTuna Belly with wasabi. After the nigiri a cut maki course is served followed by the rotating dessert such as a homemade mochi filled with persimmon and plated with hazelnut gelato, Hojicha crème with truffle breadcrumbs for an added crunch. The dessert is complemented by a small glass of homemade soymilk with tapioca pearls.

Kaiseki Inspired Omakase: The kaiseki inspired omakase also starts with the Sunomono followed by theHassun, their take on an amuse bouche with a variety of four different chef choice small bites like themonkfish liver and the unusual Shirako tempura. Bluefin Toro tartare is then showcased topped with uni, Kaluga caviar from China and Burgundy truffles shaved tableside on top of milk toast. The Yakimono course, which refers to the cooking style on a grill, features smoked Tasmanian Ocean Trout with sautéed spinach, grated radish and trout roe. The Suimono palate cleansing dish and dessert finish off the menu.

The omakase menus will also be offered with different supplementals, which will be available later this year.

Beverage Program: The beverage program is crafted with expert precision, which can be paired with each omakase. The menu highlights a number of unique sakes by the bottle or by the glass such as Tedorigawa's Chrysanthemum Meadow, the brewery featured in the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival winner The Birth of Sake; Tamagawa's Time Machine 1712, a non-charcoal filtered sake aged to perfection in a bourbon barrel; and Asahi-Shuzo's Tsugu with only 2500 bottles sold worldwide. The restaurant also showcases red, white and sparkling wines by the bottle and glass. A curated number of Japanese craft beers can also be found on the menu with more diverse options like the Oze No Yukidoke IPA and the Kizakura Matcha IPA.

Design: The space is warmly lit and stark with natural wood accents. An eight-seat white marble Chef's counter can be found as guests enter with a spotlight in front of each diner's seat to bring premium focus to the dishes presented by Chef Liu. An open kitchen can be seen from the Chef's counter and the ten-seat dining area, where they can get a firsthand look as the Chef's cook and plate the different dishes for the kaiseki inspired omakase.

LOCATION: 37-12 31st Avenue, Astoria, NY, 11103

WEBSITE:, PHONE: 929-328-2890, INSTAGRAM: @koyonewyork

HOURS: Wednesday - Sunday 5:30PM - 10:30PM, Closed Monday & Tuesday

SEATING CAPACITY Total: 18 Seats; Chef's Counter: 8; Dining Room: 10

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kōyō

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