Exalted Sushi Master Masa Takayama Opens Tetsu in Tribeca

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All Images by Dacia Pierson 


Lording over his three-Michelin-starred Masa above NYC’s Columbus Circle, he could arguably be called the the greatest sushi chef in America. Indeed, Masa Takayama has been causing critics and devotees to swoon and wax endlessly rhapsodic since opening in 2004 – even more so since expanding the empire in 2014 to include Kappo Masa at the Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue.

Now he’s at last brought his particular brand of Japanese culinary alchemy to Downtown, this week opening his new robata grill Tetsu on Tribeca’s buzzy Leonard Street. In a striking interior that marries stark Asian minimalism with a sort of industrial-rustic-gothic, the new restaurant manages to be both cooly chic and alluringly sensual/romantic.

But the menu is definitely “approachable” Masa. Most plates are under $20, and include raw items like seared tako ceviche with bottarga, and kanpachi poke seaweed; surimi pasta dishes like squid pasta with garlic, bacon & chili; and specialities from the robata including yellowtail tataki skewer, and salmon belly himono. Oh, and a deceptively decadent lamb burger.

Pair with a rum milk punch (with Japanese horchata) or a Soju Thai Basil cocktail.

Okay, we’ll say it: Tetsu has Masa-ppeal.