fbpx

Upscale Kosher Omakase Spot Opens Next Month

akimori upper east side

@akimorinyc / Instagram

Akimori Omakase Bar, a high-end kosher sushi restaurant with multiple locations throughout the tri-state area, posted on their Instagram this week that they will be expanding to the Upper East Side in January 2024. Details on the exact location and opening date have yet to be announced (sign up for our newsletter for updates).

Advertisement


Existing Akimori locations are in Homecrest, Brooklyn and Lawrence, NY. They also cook and serve their sushi at the restaurant SALT in Long Branch, New Jersey and at Bonito in the Flatiron neighborhood of Manhattan.

Akimori was founded by 27-year-old Teddy Khafif. In an interview with From the Founder, Khafif shared that his parents immigrated to the United States from Syria in the late 1980s/early 1990s. He grew up in a house where they always had guests, which contributed to his love for hospitality. After high school, Khafif worked in e-commerce but hated sitting in front of a computer from nine to five, so he quit after a few months. Having always wanted to get into the restaurant industry, he found a job as a line cook and dishwasher at a French bistro in Brooklyn Heights.

Click here for more UES openings

It was around this time when Khafif noticed that Japanese restaurants were booming in New York City, and he saw the need for high-quality kosher sushi. Khafif noted in the interview how difficult it was to study Japanese cuisine, given that many chefs didn’t speak English and the ingredients were often written in Japanese. It took him years to fully understand the culture and cuisine before he could introduce it into the kosher community.

Khafif found a job at an Omakase restaurant at a hotel in Japan whose owners wanted to open a restaurant in New York. Omakase is a Japanese term that literally translates to “I trust you.” In this traditional Japanese dining method, there’s no menu; you just trust the chef with whatever they serve you. Although Khafif had limited experience in the restaurant industry, the general manager gave him a chance and trained him. He worked there for a year and a half, and then became a chef de partie at Masa, owned by famed three-Michelin-star chef Masayoshi Takayama. He worked his way up at Takayama’s restaurants.

Advertisement


Khafif’s goal was always to open his own restaurant. He spent all of 2019 meeting with investors, securing funds and even a space in the Financial District back in 2020. But then the pandemic hit. Khafif quickly switched gears, turned his basement in New Jersey into a commercial kitchen, and started doing private dinners.

The first Akimori restaurant opened in 2022. Most of the restaurant’s fish is sent overnight from Japan to JFK, with some also coming from Norway and the Mediterranean.

In addition to the “trust the chef” plates, which change every night, popular menu items include tuna crispy rice, salmon fiesta, bluefin tuna flight, vegetable rolls, and classic rolls.

Akimori staff did not immediately respond to our inquiry for more information.


.





Leave a Reply