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Aug 7, 2013 09:26 PM

[Hirohisa] New, kappo style Japanese restaurant

A new kappo style Japanese restaurant called "Hirohisa" has opened on Thompson Street near Dominique Ansel Bakery. Chef owner Hirohisa Hayashi is from Fukui Prefacture, Japan, and the menu emphasizes seasonality with lots of ingredients purchased from greenmarket as well as those imported from Japan.

The menu has a la carte, 7 course omakase ($100), and 9 course omakase ($150). Most dishes are non-sushi items. I tried 9 course omakase and In general, I didn't find any luxury ingredients like toro, abalone, etc., but all (rather humble) ingredients were really fresh and perfectly prepared. I particularly liked grilled Japanese sardine (which was so tender and rich), and grilled Iberico pork with shio kouji, as well as uni don. King salmon was a winner too, with crispy skin outside and tender, juicy meat inside.

73 Thompson St
(between Spring St & Broome St)
New York, NY 10012
(212) 925-1613

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  1. I will definitely try it. However, the ingredients may be humble the prices are not so humble. Is there any restaurant that you can compare it with for style? Is it like Kura, Bugs, Rockmeisha, En, Brushstroke,?

    2 Replies
    1. re: foodwhisperer

      Since Hirohisa is a kappo restaurant, which means it serves mostly non-sushi dishes, I would say it's more like seafood and meat incorporated into Kajitsu style. Seasonal ingredients presented in a simple way (Although the presenation is not as fancy as that of former chef Nishihara san).

      1. re: kosmose7

        I'll try it, then I'll compare. The kappo omakase at Kura is good.

    2. interesting...sounds good albeit a bit pricey for what you got

      3 Replies
      1. re: Lau

        I agree, Although everything was delicious, it was more like $120-ish... rather than $150.

        1. re: Lau

          Had a chance to go again there last night-just as sublime as my first experience. Had the nine course omakase. Although portions are small, they are perfect sized for the amount of food you will be served-in fact I was bordering on being a bit uncomfortably full by meal's end. Had the most perfectly done rabbit for meat course. This place is great for fish lovers who like meat as well. Everything is done so well and the space is truly zen like. The chef who I believe is owner as well is so nice and accomodating especially if you want to substitute a course. You can also order a la carte and he will customize according to your wishes. I will definitely be supporting this wonderful oasis of a restaurant!!

        2. I'm curious what the two extra courses were between the seven and nine course options - were they worth $25 each? Especially with no luxury ingredients? I'd think for that price (and omakase-size portions) they'd involve some o-toro or something on that level.

          10 Replies
          1. re: sgordon

            I wouldn't know because I haven't tried the $100 omakase, but checking out their menu prices, an a la carte appetizer (and none of them has luxury ingredients like otoro) costs $15-$22 (and MP). So any two additional dishes will easily reach the $50 extra price level, under their pricing system.


            So like I said, the 9 course, $150 dinner I had was more like $120-ish to me and the performance-to-price ratio was not really good, although everything was delicious.

            1. re: sgordon

              Wrong season for o-toro or big fatty fish, but awabi is a summer high level item that could have been included...Everything looks really nice and the decor too- especially a local touch like exposed brick. But man, I paid exactly that for a decadent kappo meal at one of those "membership" restaurants in Tokyo last year that featured as a main a probably 10-12oz pile of fresh wild winter yellowtail sashimi among a half dozen other nice courses and a couple of drinks including an expensive shochu...Maybe they step things up in the Fall/Winter when better items become available- assuming they keep prices stable. But I'm assuming you are paying a premium for this location.

              1. re: Silverjay

                By winter Yellowtail, is that Buri? I love that fish. Torafugu is in season also in December. Winter is a good time for fish in Japan.

                1. re: foodwhisperer

                  Yup. Kan-buri (寒鰤), which starts in December. I think I actually prefer it to maguro...Fugu I could do without as it has a trophy quality to it on kappo menus and jacks up the price. But something like buri or other nice Fall/Winter stuff could elevate the experience... It was actually buri-shabu that I had and then we added rice to the broth at the end, cooked it down, and ate that as a closer before dessert. It would be cool if Hirohisa can bring that sort of thing here. But again, it's pretty pricey during summer season- although $100 flat for a 7-course isn't so bad. It's the extra $28 in tip and tax that pushes the value envelope. And a la carte ordering looks absurd. So, sorry, I guess this is just a rant. Looks great, but...

                  1. re: Silverjay

                    I like the rants. I have recently over the past 2 years maybe seen buri here , but only in winter. I didn't even think it was available in Japan outside of winter. Same with say the real amaebi, I only see those around maybe december to february. But I guess the fish are in the ocean all year, so a few must show up. Cod fish season here in NY is winter. But yet you see it on menus in warmer weather. My experience is that Cod out of season usually has parasites. So I never eat Cod in warm seasons. I would feel the same way about Buri.

                    1. re: foodwhisperer

                      Well, at least in New York, any fish seems available year round right out of freezer. LOL

                      FYI, Buri is not a different species from Hamachi, which is found everywhere in NY. In Japan, they call medium-sized, cultured Buri (20cm - 60cm) "Hamachi". During summer season, its counterpart would be Kanpachi, although I prefer Buri or Hamachi.

                      God, I miss Torafugu (虎河豚) Karaage... A handful of Japanese restaurants in New York such as Sugiyama or Restaurant Nippon offer Torafugu Karaage in winter (at exorbitant prices) but it's not any way near the quality of that in Japan (or even in Korea).

                      1. re: kosmose7

                        Inada, warasa, buri- is how they are referred to from smallest to largest in Tokyo. Inada, the really young lean summer yellowtail, is a great sashimi. Fresh wasabi and a bit of shoyu and a slippery pile of inada! So good...Wild kan-buri from Himi in Toyama Prefecture has now somehow cornered the market on high-end branding (like Oma in Aomori for maguro)....You are right, hamachi pretty much refers to farmed medium-sized fish. Though my understanding is that hamachi is also the Kansai word for that particular sized yellowtail. As it is now, I usually see hamachi only at cheaper places in Japan...Kanpachi is different, though similar fish.Obviously the fatty wild winter buri are the best of the lot.

                        1. re: Silverjay

                          > Obviously the fatty wild winter buri are the best of the lot.
                          Of course. Nothing can beat the taste and flavor of fish in season! :)

                        2. re: kosmose7

                          I've had gomafugu karage at 15 East a few months ago, any noticeable differences between gomafugu and torafugu?

                          1. re: Ricky

                            Well, the reason why Torafugu is the most expensive in Japan is because it is the most flavorful of all the fugu family. Gomafugu or Kusafugu can sometimes be found at New York's Japanese restaurants, at a lot more reasonable prices than Torafugu. They taste milder (or have less flavor) than Torafugu, and the difference in flavor becomes more obvious if they are prepared as sashimi. Howewer, well-made karaage of these other fugus taste good enough, IMHO.

                            photo 1: well-made Torafugu karaage outside NY.

                            photo 2: Torafugu karaage @ Restaurant Nippon. While good, the batter could have more seasoning (soy sauce + sake + ginger) flavor. Their version was served with salt instead.

                            photo 3: Kusafugu karaage @ Sushiden.

                            photo 4: Kusafugu karaage @ Jukai.

              2. Had a chance ti try this new Japanese restaurant. I honestly didn't take notes but can only remember that the experience was sublime! We had the omakase -9 courses-comprised on the most delicious bites of meat, fish and vegetables. I am doing an injustice by not describing individual dishes but only the amazing tastes linger in my brain at this hour. I never tasted better lamb or beef and the sashimi we got as a supplement was ethereal.Space is a bit sparse in a good way-very Zen like and perfect for conversation. The owner/chef was extremely personable as was the waitstaff. I can only compare quality and style to a smaller version of Brushstroke. This place is a definite must try!

                1. I have been planning to try but a Japanese foodie friend warned me about the price was high for what i would be getting. So I have not been. Price is not really the most important issue, as both of us have 3 digits dinner here and there every week. But I do care about the food and the overall experiences.

                  I am still on the fence. Would you mind elaborate a little bit more about the ingredients/seasoning and prep? Thanks.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: nomadmanhattan

                    I can only elaborate by saying the flavors are authentic Japanese in every way and each morsel of food crafted with perfection. Why are you on the fence about trying it especially if price not that big of a concern? Trust me!! Then you'll thank me after your meal for such a wonderful recommendation! I also have to add that the personality of the chef/owner added tremendously to the dining experience.

                    1. re: UES Mayor

                      Ok, I am convinced :) Will make a reservation for this week. Then I will report back.