Fusion Flavors Shine at NYC's Sen SakanaFebruary 23, 2018 - by Merrill Lee Girardeau
Guests at Midtown newcomer Sen Sakana love the fusion of Peruvian and Japanese cuisines, a hybrid style of cooking called Nikkei. Chefs Mina Newman and Taku Nagai bring South American and Asian elements together, as Newman has Peruvian heritage and Nagai hails from Japan. (A separate sushi counter is helmed by Sang Hyun Lee.) Enjoy a very tasty adventure as you sample the likes of zesty yuzu balanced with aji amarillo pepper, or sushi with a bit of sweet potato, or pork belly with oshinko, a Japanese pickle. You’ll enjoy it all in a stylish, energetic space with a contemporary vibe.
THE STARTERS. There are appetizers “for the table,” soups and salads, cold and hot starters, and kushiyaki skewers. Sen Sakana has quickly earned a reputation for incredible sauces like the Yamitsuki “Addictive” Cucumber (from “for the table”), decked with sesame and quinoa and dressed with a delectable spicy yellow sauce. Yucca queso croquettes and salchipapas are two takes on Peruvian dishes with Japanese accents like daikon and miso. Take a look at the kushiyaki as well, featuring a collection of fine cuts of meat grilled to perfection, like the pork belly with shimeji mushroom.
THE MAINS. A seemingly simple option, but stunning nonetheless, is the skirt steak with Peruvian rice called tacu tacu. It’s wonderfully savory, a perfect blend of textures, and filling to boot, as the tacu tacu sits beneath a sunny side-up egg. The Chicken Nanban is fried with quinoa as the crust and accompanied by a fantastic pair of sauces.
THE SUSHI. The sushi counter is set off the roomy main dining room. Chef Lee can tailor an omakase selection, or you can take a look at the Nikkei maki portion of the menu, a selection of sushi hand rolls with Peruvian accents. Try the Unagi Hako with eel, quinoa, and tamago, or the Andes Yama with snow crab, pickled asparagus, beet puree, and salmon. The sushi menu also includes traditional maki, nigiri, and Nikkei nigiri.
PRE-THEATER PRIX FIXE. For $49 per person, get four courses of Nikkei goodness before your show. Guests choose among soups, appetizers, main courses, and desserts. We’d steer you to the salty pork belly miso soup to start. For appetizers, it’s a tough choice between light bites like Negihama Maki and savory picks like the salchipapas. For dessert (a choice of ice cream flavors), we love the matcha. Like everything here, it embodies Sen Sakana’s “culinary romance of Japan and Peru..”
28 W. 44th St. (btw. Fifth & Sixth Aves.), 212-221-9560, sensakana.com