BlackBook Exclusive: Japanese-Inspired Cocktail Recipes From NYC’s New Katana Kitten

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If you’ve ever imagined sitting in a whimsical Tokyo bar that has a NYC neighborhood feel, then you basically get the vibe of the cool new West Village gem Katana Kitten.

The latest from former Saxon + Parole bartending ace Masahiro Urushido, in partnership with the hospitality gurus behind Boilermaker and Pegu Club, this isn’t your typical trend-driven cocktail spot. Inspired by Japan’s “Jazz Age,” the interiors are infused with Japanese architectural elements, but with a bit of a rustic European vibe. It charmingly blurs the lines between playful and sophisticated.

No surprise, Urushido mixes classic highballs, signature cocktails, and, yes, boilermakers (beer cocktails) with Japanese ingredients, to the effect of inventive fusions like the Calpico Swizzle – Bombay Sapphire East, Nigori sake, calpico, lime, sansho pepper, and blanc de blanc – and the Fancy Ramune, a mix of Other Half Forever Ever IPA x “Lemon-Daiginjo.”

We asked Masahiro to share a couple of his fave summer-inspired recipes. Though we urge you to experience his liquid gold, paired with Japanese street-food bites (we highly recommend the kakuni rillette kushiage skewers) in person.



Bright n’ Sunny by Masahiro Urushido 

1.5 oz. White Rum Infused with Butterfly Pea Flower*
Dash of Lime Juice
ginger beer
Method: Build in highball glass and garnish with lime and a pineapple slice.
*butterfly pea flower infused rum
750ml white rum
1 TBSP butterfly pea flower (dry)
Method: Combine rum and dry flower in a glass jar with tight lid. Shake well and let it sit in room temperature for 10 – 20min then strain the flower.


Delicious Summer Punch by Masahiro Urushido 

6 oz. Gin / Vodka
2 oz. Sake (dry and crisp)
2 oz. ITALICUS Bergamot Liqueur
10 oz. Cold-brewed (sencha) Green Tea
6 oz. Lime Juice
3 tablespoons of sugar
6 oz. Dry Sparkling Wine
Method: Combine sugar and lime juice, stir well to dissolve. Add all the ingredients (except the sparkling wine) in the punch bowl, add ice and stir to combine. Add sparkling wine right before the serving. Garnish each glass with a lime slice, cucumber slice and fresh mint.
Glass: Punch bowl + punch cup


Brooklyn’s DUMBO is Becoming a Destination Unto Itself

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DUMBO is at last becoming a thing.

Emerging as a new Brooklyn “it” neighborhood in the post-Millennium, it somehow managed to avoid the out-of-control development of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. But now no longer just a sleepy, formerly-industrial swath of land sitting under the Manhattan Bridge, DUMBO’s burgeoning dining, shopping and cultural scene has made it a destination unto itself. Much can be attributed to David and Jed Walentas’ Two Trees, which has seen to the slow and careful growth of the area – while also supporting the local creative communities.

Notably, those same creatives will surely be congregating at the newest outpost of Soho House, fittingly named DUMBO House, which will be opening thus summer. Expect a lot of hobnobbing around the rooftop pool.




On the walkway along the East River between the Manhattan Bridge to the north, and the iconic Brooklyn Bridge to the south, is the Empire Stores – a beautifully restored brick warehouse and garden. The open air complex is home to West Elm, the Brooklyn Historical Society, and Cecconi’s, a fashionable Italian eatery imported from LA – with outdoor dining, spectacular views of Manhattan, and a creative selection of cicchetti, gourmet pizzas and pastas like agnolotti del plin with black truffle.

It’s also home to Lauren Bush’s FEED. Founded to provide sustainable livelihoods to underserved populations, each sale of the artisan-made totes, bags and accessories provide meals to the community. We love the Go-to Canvas bag and the burlap Beaded Kenya Bag – hand beaded and sewn by locals in Kenya.

For an exquisite collection of furnishings art and decor, including their own namesake line, Mark and Kristen Zeff’s 3000 square foot BLACKBARN (at 20 John Street) is a must stop. The candles and wicker baskets are particular faves.




Running parallel to the park is the quaint, cobblestoned Water Street. Pop into The Modern Chemist, a neighborhood pharmacy, for a selection of hard to find personal care and beauty products, or chat with one of their in-store wellness experts. We can’t resist a stop at the beloved Seamore’s, where you’ll instantly be transported to the beach. Replenish with a Hook, Line + Sinker cocktail, w/ Hendrick’s gin, strawberry, fresh lemon, mint and peach bitters, paired with an order of blackened shrimp Big Fish Tacos. Before heading off to gallery hopping, pick up a decadent handmade truffle or ice cream sandwich at Jacques Torres.

Round out your day at 16 Main Street, a former horse stable that is now home to DUMBO’s gallery scene. From the abstract works at Minus Space to contemporary fine art photography at Klompching Gallery and United Photo Industries, you’ll see thought-provoking works from emerging and mid-career artists.

For post-gallery-hopping happy hour, head back to Empire Stores and the Sugarcane raw bar grill – for oysters, sushi rolls and $7 mojitos and caipirinhas.


Minus Space 



Striking New Photo Book ‘New York, New York: A Visual Hymn’ Captures Gotham in All its Inimitable Glory

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Unlike, say, Paris, appreciating New York from an aesthetic point of view is a somewhat more complex matter. But capturing the essence of both the grit and glory – and everything in between – was actually the muse for Richard Koek’s striking new book New York, New York, A Visual Hymn (from Lannoo Publishers). Through his lens, the notable photographer takes you on a multi-dimensional and very up-to-date journey (most of the photos were taken in 2017) through architecture and street life, the majesty and the minutiae, encouraging viewers to form their own Gotham narrative.

A New York transplant – from Amsterdam, arguably the city’s “fountainhead” – Koek’s visual perspective of NYC’s iconic landmarks, street art, subway stations, alleys and residents explores and celebrates the dichotomy between struggle and success. Despite challenges and continual change, he seems to view his adopted home as an inspiration for personal happiness, where everyone can ultimately become the best – or worst – version of themselves.

“The wonderful thing about my book,” enthuses Koek, “is that it is such a product of pure love for this city. And the best images are images that keep on telling me new stories.”

He is uniquely suited to the task. Pursuing his passion for photography, Koek gave up his life as a tax lawyer when he moved across the Atlantic. He has since shot for publications including The New York Times and Interview magazine, and has exhibited at Photoville festival in NYC and Fotofestival Naarden in The Netherlands.

The book is available for preorder now, and will hit shelves April 20.


Armory Show Highlight: Carpenters Workshop Gallery Presents Johanna Grawunder + Nacho Carbonell

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Big Black Sky, Johanna Grawunder


As art fair season kicks off in NYC this week, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, the pioneer in fusing functional sculpture and collectible design, will be presenting thought-provoking solo exhibits of acclaimed artists Johanna Grawunder (at Collective Design) and Nacho Carbonell (at the Armory Show).

Grawunder, an innovative minimalist who incorporates light to bring life to her designs, presents Objects of Permanence. On view are works from past and current limited editions: Big Sky (2012) and No Whining on the Yacht (2013), alongside a more recent piece, Gioster (2017), inspired by the modernist geometry of Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion, and Craig Ellwood’s Palevsky House. The architect cum designer/artist explains: “We often associate modernism with boxes, but the sculptural qualities still have much to offer.”


Johanna Grawunder, Black Dot


Named Collective Design’s 2018 Designer of Influence, Grawunder’s thought provoking work is included in permanent collections at museums around the world including LACMA, The Art Institute of Chicago, and Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Her broad range of projects include collaborations with notable architects, and she has designed products for luxury brands Flos, Boffi and Glassitalia, amongst others.

March 9-11, Skylight Clarkson Booth A13

At their inaugural exhibit at The Armory Show, Carpenters Workshop Gallery will also recreate Nacho Carbonell’s studio, where large cocoon-like sculptures are brought to life as fantastical creations in a contemporary twist on Pygmalion. Part of his acclaimed Light Mesh series, steel and metal mesh rise from smashed concrete bases, constructing an uncanny forest where one becomes lost in textural details and biomorphic shapes. These works offer a parallel reality where objects and things are built or grown from inhospitable soil and environments.

March 8-11, Pier 92 & 94 Booth 912


Nacho Carbonell, Table Cocoon