Japanese At Juku…



An intimate, tri-level, hidden gem Japanese restaurant sandwiched into an unassuming building in lower Manhattan known as the Chinatown/Five Points district.

Push through the dreary door and the sleek entrance surprises you.


Once you check in, you are led through another door into a small dining room serving izakaya and seating 36.

Upstairs is a 12 person, reservations only Omakase bar ($80 for 12 pieces of sushi and $120 for 15 pieces and a hand roll).

Downstairs is the Gaudi influenced soon to be opened Whiskey bar serving rare Japanese whiskies accommodating 56 and also earmarked for special events.

Artwork by Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe is boldly incorporated into the lounge.

The concept was instituted by co-owner Max Levai who is very involved in the art world.

I am sure that the millennials will come in droves.

We snuggled into our table, but quickly moved because the biatch next to me was spatially greedy and would not move her handbag.

If it was a designer bag, I would have understood her desire to safeguard the precious piece, but it was a Canal Street cheap copy…I know real so do not attempt to challenge me. The strap and hardware were a dead giveaway.

Not even Gigi Hadid could have folded into the spot.

Finally settled, we started the meal with a lovely bottle of sake.

Seaweed Salad

The plates are small and meant for sharing. We kicked things off with an excellent Seaweed Salad with Ikura and Crispy Potato ($15).

Being Valentine’s Day, East and West Coast Oysters, a known aphrodisiac, were a must ($24).

Karatsuki Uni

We followed up with a gorgeous presentation of Uni in the shell with Fatty Tuna, Salmon Roe and Soy Gelee ($32).

The Fried Chicken with Mushroom Marinade and Lemon was crispy and succulent ($9).

Nigiri Flight

the Nigiri looked like my daughter’s play food sushi rolls. I don’t think the serving was the size of my pinky. It was good, but not fantastic (7 pieces/$47).

The spirited manager graced us with a generous, flavorful serving of Steak Tartare, Australian Black Label Strip with Ponzu and Sesame ($17).

I offered some to the newly married millennials who had just sat down at the next table.

We had a vibrant conversation about life and NYC restaurants.

They reciprocated by gifting me with a slice of tasty, tender lamb.

The Uni Rice ws outstanding. If available and obviously affordable, I could consume uni the way people gorge on peanuts ($25).

The daily selection of Grilled Vegetables were crispy and delicious ($11).

Japanese Strawberries

Desert was a mistake…tiny and flavorless.

Chef Kazuo Yoshida, known for amassing a cult-like following while behind the sushi counter at Williamsburg’s 1 or 8, can now be found in the kitchen at Juku.

Juku adds up quickly, but the preparation is uniquely beautiful and the food quite pleasurable.

We experienced a memorable Valentine’s Day.

Juku 32 Mulberry Street NYC. Open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday 6pm-12am. Reservations by phone 646. 590.2111 or on the Yelp app.

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