"It's almost too beautiful to eat" isn't a phrase I throw around lightly—if it looks good and it smells good and I've ordered it, I'm eating it. The closest I've come to breaking this rule was at a preview of Suzuki, a Japanese Kaiseki restaurant opening Wednesday in Midtown. A first course of sesame tofu is presented in a porcelain chariot adorned with fresh purple flowers; alongside, a small, tulip-shaped ramekin holds cubes of tender scallop, with skewered tsukune chicken, a sliver of truffled cheese, and a pumpkin-flavored wedge of castella cake on the side.
The artful creations are that of chef Takashi Yamamoto, who created a procession of beautiful and subtly-seasoned dishes to be paraded out over the course of several hours. Some are simpler but no less intriguing to the eye, like the Tsukuri (sashimi) course—which features fresh, raw slices of fish like toro, lobes of Hokkaido uni, and prawn—served in a crystal bowl over ice. Others are more dramatic, like the Nimono course of wagyu beef set in simmering broth over an open flame until the meat has reached medium rare.
The most opulent kaiseki option, Uzuki, runs $150 for 10 courses, but there are more wallet-friendly options ringing up at $70 (Shojin). The menu changes monthly (Uzuki is the ancient Japanese term for April).
Suzuki gets its name from Toshio Suzuki, the New York sushi legend who operated Sushi Zen and now runs this three-in-one concept in Midtown with his son. Joining the kaiseki restaurant are Satsuki, a 10-seat omakase sushi bar run by Suzuki and chef Kentaro Sawada, and a cocktail bar, Three Pillars, offering drinks created by "biochemist and alchemist" Alex Ott, who told me he worked with NASA. If you're needing to boost your libido and relieve your anxiety, there's a drink for that.
114 West 47 Street, Suzuki: (212) 278-0010, Satsuki: (212) 278-0047; suzukinyc.com