Nov. 29, 2019 By Allie Griffin
A new Japanese omakase restaurant opened in Astoria last week, offering diners an intimate and special dining experience with dishes made of fresh seasonal ingredients.
Koyo, owned by restauranter Jay Zheng, opened Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 37-12 31st Ave. It’s open Wednesday through Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. with two seating times — the first at 5:30 p.m. and the second at 8 p.m. It’s closed Monday and Tuesday.
The chef’s choice eatery offers diners two options to choose from — sushi omakase and kaiseki inspired omakase.
The Japanese word “omakase” translates to “I leave it up to you.” In Japanese tradition, omakase is a form of dining in which guests forgo ordering food themselves and allow the chef to serve them what he or she chooses.
Koyo seats 18 people, eight at the chef’s counter where the $135 sushi-focused omakase is served and 10 in the dining room where the $175 kaiseki inspired omakase is served. Both options allow diners views of Executive Chef Darry Liu’s open kitchen, where he prepares their dishes.
Kaiseki refers to a traditional Japanese meal with several courses prepared from seasonal ingredients. At Koyo, the kaiseki omakase has a strong focus on seasonal ingredients and multi-course small plates. Many of the restaurant’s high quality ingredients are sourced from famous fish markets in Japan.
The ever-changing seasonal menu is curated by Chef Liu of Eleven Madison Park, Shuko and Ichimura at Uchu.
Some options Liu serves include dungeness crab, a 12-piece sushi course featuring an ever-changing market-based selection such as golden eye snapper, white squid, uni and tuna belly, homemade mochi with persimmon, monkfish liver, bluefin toro tartare and Tasmanian ocean trout.
Different supplementals will be added to later this year to create a variety of options.
For drinks, several specialty sakes, wines and Japanese craft beers are available with the meal.