On this particular day, I had dinner booked at Blue Hill Stone Barns, but had an opportunity to try newly-opened Uchu on the same night. Blue Hill Stone Barns is not a short meal, sometimes running five or six hours long. After discussing my “dilemma” with my dining mate, she selflessly said she would be happy to shorten our dinner to three hours if they were willing, and they were.
I took a one-hour taxi ride from Pocantico Hills, NY to unassuming Eldrige Street arriving just before 9 p.m. The area was quiet for a Friday night and a white, glowing sign with Japanese letters beckoned me to cross the street.
Once inside, I felt immediately transported to Japan. I have never been to Japan, but it’s how I think I might feel there. The decor was serene, calm and monochromatic. Upon entering the back room, the first thing I noticed was the barware. Beautiful sake vessels, Zalto stemware and gold-rimmed cocktail glasses filled the shelves that were backlit like the sign out in front. Each glass was an exquisite work of art.
Frank Cisneros, who previously worked at Tokyo’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel, hand-selected each single vessel for Uchu. Upon a closer look, the shelves were graced with prized Japanese whiskies. I was getting excited to see the rest of the night unfold.
Uchu has two different Japanese dining experiences. The front room holds their sushi omakase dinner for ten guests which was not yet open at the time of my visit. I was there for the kaiseki-influenced meal run by Sam Clonts, alum of Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare. Eight seats surround the L-shaped bar where five of us would be joining a couple who was already seated.
Samuel Clonts, formerly of Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, has designed an intimate, meticulously prepared kaiseki-influenced dinner for eight people at a time. You listen to the likes of David Bowie and The Smiths as lids are removed from bowls, each filled with Japanese-inspired dishes. The beverage pairing included some fine champagnes, sake, burgundies and we also enjoyed cocktails accompanied by table-side ice carving, gold-plated swizzle stick spinning and tea service at the end of the dinner.
Chef: Samuel Clonts
Beverages: Frank Cisneros
Watch the video of my dinner at Uchu.
Bar Uchu | 217 Eldridge St, New York, NY | 212 203 7634