By Jackie Yin
So what’s new in the Tribeca dining scene? If you happen to live in the “triangle below Canal Street” and was complaining about not being able to find decent Japanese dining, Zutto may be your savior. Renovated not too long ago, this Japanese American Pub with a history of more than thirty years continues to bring surprises to diners from the neighborhood and the entire New York City area.
Based on a completely new concept, Chef Joshua Smookler has turned the restaurant into a unique izakaya-like pub that serves not only traditional dishes like sushi, but also authentic Japanese drinks like sake. And on top of that, he brings in eccentric dishes with an American twist. Sounds interesting? Let’s explore more!
Zutto’s must-order appetizer is the Pork Belly Bun, steamed bun stuffed with pork belly. But wait, it’s not just that simple! The secret lies in the special miso-mayonnaise that offsets the richness of the pork. Just one bite, the softness of the puffy bun together with the juicy pork belly immediately melts in your mouth and melted my heart away. If you are courageous enough, try the spicy miso soup. With its mouthwatering chili oil, this aggressive bowl with red miso and pork minces will surely excite your taste buds to the fullest.
Although everybody was talking about their Ramen recipe which claims that “up to 120 lbs of pork bones are boiled in a 24-inch pot at the highest heat for about 24 hours”, I decided to try something else. After all, it takes more than one dish for a restaurant to be a guru. And I wasn’t disappointed at all. Their small plates are phenomenal as well.
Ebi Mayo is a popular dish of fried shrimp served with yuzu mayo and a lemon quarter. Squeeze the lemon on top of the crispy and tender shrimp and enjoy its freshness in your mouth. And how can we forget about Foie Gras – a whole piece of seared foie gras sitting on top of a piece of soaked brioche. With roasted onion layers spreading like lily petals and pomegranate seeds decorating a crimson band of sour-sweet pomegranate sauce, the delicate plating is a feast for the eyes. I cut a small piece of everything and put it in my mouth… I was in heaven.
Zutto’s sushi is also full of imagination: Tribeca – spicy tuna, avocado and caviar in a triangle, Miami – salmon, salmon row, avocado and kaiware sprouts, Gulf of Mexico – shrimp tempura, flying fish roe, scallion and cucumber with spicy mayo, the list goes on and on.
My experience at Zutto was unforgettable. After all, who can resist to be pampered with top-notch delicacies in the dim candlelight? Just sit back and relax, and let your taste buds fantasize.
77 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10013