There’s a new chef at Brushstroke, David Bouley’s kaiseki Japanese restaurant in Tribeca. Eiji Ichimura mans the redesigned pocket sushi bar within the restaurant, which was once the cocktail bar and lounge area.
Regulars will find the Brushstroke dining room and open-kitchen counter seats unchanged, but the interior of the eight-seat bar was refigured to give Ichimura a stage for preparing his centuries-old edomae, a sushi style that involves marinating, cooking, or curing fresh fish, or wrapping the protein in persimmon or shiso leaves and then storing it near the ground to age.
The sushi concept has been in the works since the beginning, says Brushstroke general manager David Forziati, but the restaurant was waiting for the right person. “Now we have one of the top sushi chefs in America, if not the world, and we can serve sushi that upholds the standards of kaiseki that we serve,” Forziati says. (For the uninitiated, kaiseki is a formal Japanese food style that concentrates on fresh seasonal ingredients, multiple courses and artistic arrangement.)
Chef Ichimura owned sushi spot Ichimura in the Upper East Side until it closed in 2008. At Brushstroke, he focuses primarily on nigiri and sashimi. He prepares four days in advance of omakase chef’s tastings, which start at $150 by reservation. Some items will be available à la carte, but calling ahead to reserve your table will guarantee that you get a taste of Ichimura’s specialties, such as two-week cold-aged tuna.
Find Ichimura behind the bar every night during Brushstroke’s regular dinner service — the 60-something chef is just getting started.
Photo courtesy of Michel Ann O’Malley