Nikkei in Brooklyn: Steakhouse Turns to Japanese-Peruvian Food

Kinmedai Tiradito, one of the dishes offered at Kizuna Nikkei (Photo by Dina Rabiner via BKLYNER)

While Americans may recognize “Nikkei” to mean the Japanese stock market index, New Yorkers may soon recognize it as a type of cuisine as well. The word, which also refers to the Japanese diaspora, is the name of Japanese-Peruvian cuisine started by Japanese immigrants in the South American country. The food has recently seen international success, but in New York, Nikkei restaurants exist only in a few locations in the area – Port Washington on Long Island, soon in midtown Manhattan, and Park Slope – reports BKLYNER’s Adam Rabiner, who pays a visit to the Park Slope spot, a restaurant called Kizuna Nikkei. Its owners first opened their business under its original name, Carnem Prime Steakhouse, but turned their attention to Nikkei cuisine thanks to a job audition.

How a traditional Park Slope steakhouse became “the first restaurant in NYC serving dishes from the latest gastronomic sensation that hit Europe’s culinary capitals” is a matter of happenstance.

Carnem’s owner Jacob Krumgalz placed an ad on Craigslist looking for a sushi chef. Enter Jorge Dionicio, a Peruvian chef who’s worked in New York’s O Ya and Morimoto, as well as restaurants in Texas and Nebraska, and ranked 7 out of 20 in Tokyo’s 2014 World Sushi Cup.

Auditioning for the job, instead of preparing sushi, Dionicio served up Nikkei. Though unacquainted with the cuisine, Krumgalz fell in love.

Kizuna Nikkei’s menu is divided into Cold Tastings, Hot Tastings, Sushi and Sashimi, and Makimono (Rolls). Koshihikari Echigo, a clean and crisp rice beer, pairs well with this delicate food, the first of which was Hirame Usuzukuri.

Go to BKLYNER to get a taste of the restaurant’s offerings in Rabiner’s full, and detailed, review of the cuisine, from the “Catch of the Day Ceviche,” which was “prepared with leche de tigre, or tiger’s milk, a citrus-based marinade” to the “aji de gallina, a spicy chicken stew.”

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