When Masa Takayama came to Los Angeles in the late 1970s and eventually opened
Ginza Sushi-Ko, the Japanese-born chef kickstarted the city’s love for sushi. In 2004, with the encouragement of Thomas Keller—who was opening Per Se in New York—Takayama left the City of Angels for the
Big Apple, soon establishing one of the finest restaurants in America with his Michelin threestar Masa.
But after arriving in New York, he felt something was missing. He envisioned the kind of place he’d want to visit on his day off, to sip a martini—extra cold, with dry gin and three olives—and enjoy some of his favorite comfort foods, like a hamburger or steak seared over a traditional Japanese grill called a robata. So this past November, he opened that restaurant himself in Tribeca: Tetsu (tetsunyc.com).
Inside a building constructed in 1865, Takayama designed the restaurant so that diners can see food grilling on the robata, evoking what they’d witness in a Japanese home. Along with salads, stews, and raw fish dishes, Tetsu serves refined yet accessible food from the grill, like chili pork-sausage skewers, tamarind baby back ribs, and skirt steak. —JEREMY REPANICH