Among the most anticipated openings in New York City this year, KYU, the acclaimed wood-fired Asian-inspired restaurant, opens today on 324 Lafayette Street. Since 2016, KYU (pronounced “cue”), a staple of Miami’s creative and eclectic Wynwood neighborhood, has received numerous accolades including being a James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Best New Restaurant and TIME’s “Best Restaurant in Florida.” On the heels of KYU’s resounding successes in Miami and Mexico City, the restaurant is set for global expansion through a new partnership with the Britain-based firm Reuben Brothers. The Reubens, along with KYU founders Alan Omsky and Jordan Sayfie, will expand the KYU brand across America and Europe.
“I am excited and proud to bring the soul of KYU’s unique cuisine and hospitality to the heart of New York City. It’s a dream come true for our fabulous team,” says owner Omsky.
True to its original Japanese yakiniku wood-fired grilling methods, KYU’s signature dishes include smoked wagyu beef brisket, whole-roasted cauliflower with goat cheese and shishito herb vinaigrette, and its coveted multi-layered coconut cake. Heading KYU’s culinary team is executive chef Chris Arellanes, an alum of Per Se and Eleven Madison Park.
The 5700-square foot restaurant is a multi-function space with an expansive open kitchen. Visitors will notice a harmonious dichotomy: in concrete finishes manifesting modernity juxtaposed against warm Versailles oak-wood floors; in brick-walled columns softened by custom fabric light fixtures; in the glowing twenty-foot brass mesh curtain that divides the lounge and dining space. KYU offers guests several immersive experiences — a spacious lounge upon entry, a focal point bar, and an open kitchen abutted by a metal-stitched wooden chef’s table for large-party seating where guests can enjoy KYU’s spectacular wood-burning grills and smoker.
Equally camera-ready is KYU’s gorgeous food — bold flavors offset by bouquets of fresh herbs and designed for sharing. You won’t want to miss KYU’s succulent seven-hour smoked short ribs or Wagyu brisket enlivened with black shichimi pepper – both typifying the restaurant’s “low and slow” cooking methods. Stylish starters include burrata with yuzu marmalade; chicories and bergamot with caramelized mirin and pecorino sesame breadcrumbs; wagyu toast with truffle puree and grilled garlic chives; tuna tataki with roasted peppers, citrus and fermented chilies, and pork and shiitake gyoza with truffled ponzu. Add main courses like pan-roasted red snapper with brown butter-white miso and pickled myoga slaw; or the classic duck breast “burnt ends” — slowly smoked to bare rareness then resoundingly crisped over a wood fire—and you’ll get a sense of the culinary mastery offered at KYU.
KYU’s Asian-inspired bar program offers clever twists on classic cocktails: Highlights include the Wynwood Mule, infused with vodka, ginger beer, bitters and house-smoked pineapple; the Spicy Shiso Sour crafted with tequila, fresh-pressed cucumber juice, and Thai chili tincture; and the Raging Geisha, made with double aged Toki Japanese whisky, Thai basil, obliterated cucumbers and fresh dill.
Tightly gripping onto KYU’s identity, diversity, and commitment to green practices, KYU’s newest location embraces the excellence of fine dining and immersive architecture with a modern vibe. In addition to sourcing ingredients locally, KYU is committed to sustainable dining and has a number of initiatives in place designed to cut down on waste and carbon emissions. As KYU uses large quantities of wood, they have vowed to plant enough trees to neutralize their utilization and has partnered with 1% for the Planet Charity, an organization that supports environmentally based non-profit organizations.
Jamie Reuben (Reuben Brothers) commented: “As a long standing fan of KYU in Miami, I am excited to bring the KYU brand to New York, alongside our fantastic partners Alan and Jordan. The food, atmosphere and service are all incredible, and I couldn’t think of a better location for our first opening together.”