Article By Linn Yen
Photo by Peter Zhao
The dining experience at Kibo Japanese Grill is characterized by exciting contemporary twists on classic Japanese cuisine and culture.
The ambiance at Kibo certainly reflects a juxtoposition of modern and traditional. For instance, a prominent mural emblazoned across the back wall of the dining space depicts a classically painted Japanese woman next to a girl illustrated with a manga flair. Similarly, traditional Japanese decorative accents line the walls as modern music fit for a high fashion runway pumps through the speakers. The result is a truly distinctive dining environment. The traditional elements create a sense of romance while contemporary touches bring edge to the space. The stylish ambiance alone arguably qualifies Kibo as a prime location for a special event or a first date.
Cuisine at Kibo is just as, if not more enticing than the decor. Each item on the menu has a unique twist that elevates it beyond what is expected. Take, for instance, the omakase sashimi platter. While the offerings initially sound straightforward (tuna, salmon, hamachi, etc.), each piece is served with an unexpected component that enhances familiar flavors. Whether it be a subtle glaze or a sliver of spicy chili, these clever tweaks make for exciting and surprising dishes. The restaurant’s robata grill selections provide similar flavor enhancing updates.
As far as main plates, the Miso Cod merits a special note. Presented on a charming arched leaf, the fish is served with a small amount of ginger paste that melts into the meat and provides a subtle but refreshing kick. There isn’t Japanese food like this anywhere else.
These unique takes on Japanese dining can be traced to Executive Chef, Ayumu Matsuda. Born and raised in Japan, Chef Matsuda’s training and credentials are rooted in French cuisine and include extensive time spent working with acclaimed chef and restaurateur, Joel Robuchon. After sampling Chef Matsuda’s dishes at Kibo, it becomes apparent that his influences spring from both his heritage and his training as a chef.
Beyond his well-executed dishes, Chef Matsuda is also a fantastically friendly person who clearly has a thriving passion and curiosity for his craft. His warm demeanor and enthusiasm are as apparent in his work as they are in his presence. It’s often said that like attracts like; so it comes as no surprise that the employees and staff at Kibo bear similar warmth to that of Mr. Matsuda’s.
The amiance and cuisine at Kibo feature exciting modern takes on traditional Japan. Combined with the delightful staff on hand, Kibo is an excellent choice for those seeking a fresh experience with Japanese dining.
Kibo Japanese Grill is located at 111 East 18th Street, New York, NY 10003 and provides live DJ entertainment in the lounge space on Fridays and Saturdays. For more information please visit www.kibonyc.com