Sen Sakana is a fantastic new restaurant that may just be my favorite one that I have checked out in 2017 (and I go to a lot of great places, mind you). Fusion has always been a wonderful vocabulary word when it comes to culinary cuisine, and the blending of Japanese and Peruvian is simply delightful with what they are able to accomplish in their diverse and absolutely delicious menu.
Located right outside Times Square (I usually avoid at all costs, but this is a great exception), on W. 44th Street between 5th and 6th Avenue, Sen Sakana is a welcomed new neighbor in the bustling and always busy Midtown area of Manhattan.
Keeping in the theme and massive and big (in regards to where it is), the space is stunningly big and is very intimate after a certain point at night. It is similar to other restaurants around it in that it acts perfectly for a night out with some friends or date with your boyfriend or girlfriend. The staff is also very knowledgeable of the entire menu, which I will get to a little later.
The cuisine that myself and a friend feasted on is called Nikkei. Per the restaurant’s official website, it reads as follows:
In the late 1800’s Japanese immigrants traveled to Peru. They found a new home and gave Peru the rigor of their cuisine… orderly, intricate, and delicate. The Japanese and Peruvians shared the flavors and practices of their cultures, creating a new style of food: Nikkei Cuisine.
Nikkei is an intense intercultural exchange, expressing the diversity of flavors born from the union of two age-old civilizations. It is a cuisine whose identity is constantly being redefined and enriched, making it an exciting one to work with. The name Sen Sakana – Japanese for “one thousand fish” – refers to the 1,000 different species that are said to swim in the waters off Peru.
Executive Chef Mina Newman, Co-Executive Chef Taku Nagai and Sushi Chef Hyun Lee take the art of Nikkei Cuisine and elevate it to its fullest potential with all the dishes that they create.
The menu is big, and has a lot of options you are going to want to try so please try to come on an empty stomach. That being said, here are the standouts from that night! For the small plates, you have cold and hot options to try. The cold option that we enjoyed was their Harumaki, which comes with spicy tuna, yuzu scallop, guacamole, micro oba and a crispy spring roll skin. The hot option on the other hand was their Crispy Tebasaki Nikkei, which were black feather chicken wings in a Aji Panka Amakara sauce.
The cold option really was my first taste into the fusion that this restaurant is proud of, as I would’ve never put guacamole with some of the other items. However, it was a delicious dish and a great way to start the evening. The Crispy Tebasaki Nikkei is easily some of the best wings I have had in ages, and that sauce that comes with it was finger licking good.
Then you have your Ceviches and Tiradito (Sashimi meets Ceviche). Their Hot Shrimp Ceviche was really amazing, with the heads still on and came with an assortment of Japanese mushrooms that really elevated the flavor of the shrimp itself. On the other hand, their Gyu Tataki (Washu beef, Ponzu Jure, Aji Limo, Sen Sakana Criolla and Micro Oba) was a fantastic dish as well as the Ponzu and the Washu mixed really well for a couple of yummy bites.
Kushiyaka, otherwise known as Grilled Skewers, are good to sink your teeth into. The Tsukune (Chicken Meatball) was my particular favorite of this bunch. Regarding the sushi options, the hands down favorite (and one of the best rolls I have had in ages) was their Unagi Hako (Rice, Avocado, topped with Crispy Quinoa, Unagi, Tamago, Sanso, Bonito Flakes and Aji Panka Amakara). It’s one of the rare occasions where I didn’t need soy sauce (although a touch helped) because the flavors in this roll were mindblowing and incredible and was a party in my mouth from start to finish.
Overall, Sen Sakana excelled in every single item they provided us and made for a heck of a night. Go check this place out before it becomes too impossible to get a reservation.
For more information on Sen Sakana, please check out their official website.