Since September, the Royalton hotel has been home to Ozoku, a 30-seat pop-up sushi and sashimi bar. The menu was created by Vanessa Miller, the executive chef at the restaurant, and is described as a mix of “traditional Japanese technique with Western flavor profiles, culminating in a selection of clean, fresh, and surprising small bites,” according to a release.
New menu items for the pop-up this season are four poke dishes: tuna, salmon, Hamachi, and watermelon — yes, watermelon. The watermelon poke featuring kimchi vinaigrette, crispy onion, and cilantro could have easily been mistaken for tuna with its rich, pinkish-red color, but the watermelon adds freshness and makes for a great dish.
The charred edamame with togarashi and sea salt, and the mixed radishes with fennel, apple-miso butter, and sesame, are flavorful bites that make for a great snack or beginning to a meal.
Of the sushi rolls on offer, The Sidepiece was my favorite. Featuring shrimp tempura, spicy scallop, scallion, and sweet soy, the roll is heated up in the oven for just moments but enough to give the roll a delicious warmth.
Ozoku is open Monday through Friday from 5 to 10 p.m., through Dec. 31, 2016.