Sushi Samba Executive Chef Launches Hirohisa in New York’s SoHo

The kappo-style restaurant puts a unique spin on a familiar concept
Time Out

The chef buys his fish and products daily from local purveyors in an attempt to create unique multicourse meals for his customers, omakase style.

Chef Hirohisa Hayashi, former executive chef at Sushi Samba and owner of Hibino, a neighborhood restaurant in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, has broken out on his own with a new, sleek Japanese restaurant aptly named Hirohisa in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood.

The concept behind the restaurant is quite simple and traditionally Japanese. It practices kappo cuisine, which showcases cooking techniques such as boiling, braising, grilling, steaming, and frying. Chef Hayashi explained to The Daily Meal that it also means that the customers can engage the chef to explain to him their likes, dislikes and dietary restrictions.

Another aspect to the kappo-style restaurant is that all the food is fresh and seasonal. The chef buys his fish and products daily from local purveyors in an attempt to create unique multicourse meals for his customers, omakase style.

For example, on the summer menu, items like the slow-roasted Hudson Magret Duck salad and the sesame tofu with sea urchin are featured. What’s to come for fall, explained the chef, are dishes that showcase in-season mushrooms and mackerel imported from Japan.

"We do very traditional cuisine," noted the chef, adding that the menu reflects the local food created in his hometown of Echizen, Japan where they practice West Coast box-style sushi making. During the process, the sushi is pressed down in a box, layering the rice on the bottom and the fish on the top, he explained, which is different from East Coast style that produces nigiri-type pieces.  

While guests may come to Hirohisa for the fish, they may stay for the sake.

Not only is the chef crafting all the meals in the open kitchen for guests to see, he’s also spent years making his own sake that he serves  on the drink menu. As a certified sake sommelier, Hayashi has aged his own plum sake for three years and offers it in three varieties: mint, shiso and kokuto. While the menu boasts a variety of beer and wine options, the sake either on the rocks or served with soda, is a real specialty.

To round out the meal, the chef offers two desserts each night. Currently, he’s serving peach sake compote as well as a dessert crafted with Asian pears. He believes with these two seasonal fruits, he’s carefully moving from summer into fall through his menu.

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The restaurant itself is quintessentially authentic. From the washi paper used to craft the handmade menus to the knives and ceramics displayed in the open-air kitchen, nearly everything is transported to New York from Echizen, a point of pride for the chef.