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Philly Happenings: Omakase by Yanaga in Fishtown Grand Opening

TyPRQxR4OmakasebyYanaga-Photo by Eddy Marenco

 

PHILLY SUSHI WHISPERER KEVIN YANAGA AND GLU HOSPITALITY GRAND OPENING OMAKASE BY YANAGA IN FISHTOWN WITH 25 COURSE TASTING MENU

Philadelphia, PA - Philly's Sushi Whisperer Kevin Yanaga and Glu Hospitality announce the grand opening of Omakase by Yanaga in Fishtown at 1832 Frankford Avenue. Omakase is a Japanese cuisine-style “menu” that is completely left in the hands of the Chef. Chef Yanaga will be preparing his Kaiseki style Omakase, in the intimate and exclusive eight-seat dining area attached to the already existing Izakaya by Yanaga restaurant. Through the discrete double doors to the back of Izakaya, each guest will enter a unique tasting room where they will sit facing Chef around a custom sushi bar, where Chef will perform his culinary craft nightly. Every diner will spend the 90 minute experience with the Chef watching his artistry, sharing stories and learning about the dishes. All 25 courses served will be specially selected by Yanaga. No two experiences are ever the same. Alongside the exclusive dining experience, sake and wine pairings tailored to the experience will be offered, as well as tea service and unique cocktails. Omakase by Yanaga is open Thursday through Saturday, with seatings at 6:00pm and 8:30pm. Reservations are required in advance. For more information, menus and reservations, call 267-758-6275, visit www.byyanaga.com, reserve on Resy and follow @omakasebyyanaga on social.

"Omakase offers a higher end dining experience that is upscale, personal and intimate," said Yanaga. "Focusing highly on fresh, exotic, and semi-traditional offerings for both food and drink, we are excited and humbled to bring this high-end and unique experience to the Fishtown, Northern Liberties and the Kensington area. These three neighborhoods are full of exciting and boundary-pushing restaurants, and this seemed the perfect place to break out on my own and add to the mix with both Izakaya by Yanaga, and now Omakase by Yanaga. I wanted to create a new restaurant that is friendly and approachable, yet has a second side with elevated food and drink selections not typically seen in our area. We want to be both a neighborhood restaurant for locals with Izakaya, as well as a culinary destination for people traveling across and into the region with Omakase."

After years of perfecting his craft, Chef Kevin Yanaga, known through social media channels as the  “Philly Sushi Whisper," is ready to unveil his Omakase bar. Yanaga brings 10+ years of experience in the top sushi restaurants in the region, including at Izakaya at Borgata, Double Knot, Pod, Morimoto and Zama. After working with Stephen Starr, Michael Schulson and some of the biggest names in the business, Yanaga partnered with Glu Hospitality as Executive Chef and Partner for Izakaya by Yanaga. Yanaga and Glu are now proud to introduce the new Omakase experience one year later.

Omakase in larger terms is a Japanese cuisine style “menu” that is completely left in the hands of the Chef. Yanaga will be preparing his Kaiseki style Omakase. No two experiences will ever be the same as the menu and stories will change each time. During this $195 per person experience, guests will enjoy a total of 25 courses, prepared by Yanaga himself as guests observe his meticulous knife skills and both traditional and modern culinary techniques before their own eyes. Each evening, the menu will include 12 courses of nigiri, 3 non-traditional sushi, 9 amuse courses and 1 dessert. Specific offerings will change daily and weekly, tailoring the menu to each experience.

Chef said, "I love the flexibility and freedom to take the menu in new and different directions each day. My goal is to have people leave with a smile on their face and to see them try something new they may have not tried before. With 25-courses, the options are really limitless."

Alongside the elevated culinary offerings, sake and wine pairings as well as Japanese whiskey and hand crafted cocktails will further enhance the evening. Yanaga General Manager Michael Ego selects and creates menus for all cocktails, wine selections, sake pairings and spirits.

For cocktails, Omakase features exclusive offerings - available only in the Omakase room. They are not even available next door at Izakaya by Yanaga. They were designed specially to pair and enhance the larger culinary experience and menu. All Omakase cocktails are $16.00.

For tea service, selections will vary as Omakase sources limited quantities of unique teas, and they are priced at market price. Tea Service will vary between $15-$25 priced per tea kettle.

For sake lovers, there is a six and eight course tasting for sake which rotates based on Chef's menu for the weekend. Ego works with Yanaga to curate each sake tasting with Chef based on his selection of sashimi, nigiri, and amuse to be offered. Selections will vary and include dry, floral and sweet, with all meant to coincide with an aspect of the dish chef prepares.

With Omakase only being eight seats, the team did not want to overload with menus, as the whole experience is to not only be exclusive but informative. Servers when presenting the next course of sake will be explaining key aspects of why this sake was picked and what notes to look out for when preparing for the next course in Omakase.

For interior design, Glu Hospitality and Yanaga tapped the creative talents of John Christinzio and Quest Design, who were the interior designers for Izakaya by Yanaga, and most recently Figo Ristorante and Figo Pizzeria. They also have been tapped for Glu's forthcoming The Peabody at the Temple Campus.

For the space itself, the intimate Omakase bar draws inspiration from nature and simplicity. Custom carpentry throughout the room transformed a once lounge style seating area into an elusive and personal space, complementing the food and beverage offerings provided.

Over 100 custom storage lockers for chopsticks which can be purchased for guests to store their own, marked with the guests initials. Custom plates and glassware, all hand picked by Yanaga, bring a modern touch to his classic Japanese offerings.

For vibes, Omakase aims to create a darker aethstetic as opposed to the modern traditional look in other Japanese restaurants.  

"I am thankful to have my name on two concepts and experiences that are all under one roof," concluded Yanaga. "After an amazing year with Izakaya by Yanaga, I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate our anniversary than to debut Omakase."

Omakase seatings are Thursday to Saturday, at 6:00pm and 8:30pm. Each seating lasts around 90 minutes. Chef's Omakase is $195 per person and consists of all 25 courses. Dietary restrictions unfortunately cannot be accommodated. Omakase cannot accommodate vegetarian guests, guests who are allergic to shellfish, guests with soy allergies, gluten allergies or kosher guests. Reservations are required and all cancellations must be made with 48 hours notice before the experience.

Reservations are available now by calling 267-758-6275. Reservations will also be available on Resy starting this week. For more information, visit www.byyanaga.com and follow @izakayabyyanaga @gluhospitality on social media.

For special events and private party rentals for Omakase by Yanaga and Izakaya by Yanaga, interested parties should contact Michael Ego at mike@gluhospitality.com.

EXECUTIVE CHEF KEVIN YANAGA

Born in California but raised in Japan, Kevin Yanaga got his start in professional cooking in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture. Though his home city sits on Tokyo Bay, a short distance south from the bustling capital, the longtime sushi chef found his earliest work in kitchens, manning the burners in a series of Izakayas, or casual pubs.

Long fascinated by the artform, Yanaga logged his first real experience preparing sushi back in the States, as the executive chef of Naked Fish in Salt Lake City, Utah. In addition to immersing himself in the nuances of preparation and sourcing, Yanaga also fell in love with the high pressure, interactive nature of the sushi bar, solidifying his career path. “You’ll get direct feedback from your guest,” he says. “You’re always getting judged, finding out if people like your work, so you have to have so much discipline. It motivates you to be your best.”

In 2009, Yanaga relocated to Philadelphia to grow his raw-fish repertoire, starting at STARR’s flagship Morimoto before becoming the head chef at Hiroyuki Tanaka’s Zama, in Philly’s Rittenhouse Square. This position gave him the opportunity to develop his own style in the context of sushi, marrying local ingredients and Western culinary techniques with traditional Japanese touches via omakase, multi-course tasting menus that showcased his original voice.

Next up for Yanaga was a run behind the eight-seat sushi bar at Izakaya, chef Michael Schulson’s Japanese restaurant in the Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. Success here led to Schulson installing Yagana as the main sushi draw at Philadelphia’s Double Knot, where he earned numerous accolades for his innovative omakase stylings, including a rave three-bell review and a “Rising Star Chef Of The Year” nod from The Philadelphia Inquirer, and a “Best Chefs of 2016” honor from Thrillist.

Back with the STARR family as of 2018, Yanaga brings talent, precision and creativity to University City’s Pod as the restaurant's executive chef. Serving Philadelphia since 2000, the long-running favorite is in the process of evolving physically and conceptually to accommodate contemporary tastes. Driven by his personal  philosophies of culinary fluidity and sustainable sourcing, Yanaga bolsters Pod’s reputation in a restaurant scene that’s ever-changing.

OMAKASE BY YANAGA FULL TEAM

Executive Chef and Partner - Kevin Yanaga
General Manager - Michael Ego
Glu Hospitality Group - Tim Lu, CEO
Glu Hospitality Group - Derek Gibbons, Partner and COO
Glu Hospitality - Atit Mehta, Partner and Director of Technology
Interior Designer - John Christinzio, Quest Design
Public Relations - Kory Aversa, Aversa PR & Events

ABOUT GLU HOSPITALITY

Glu Hospitality currently owns, operates and/or partners on newly opened Bagels and Co., Leda and The Swan, Leda and The Swan Popup Cocktail Garden, Vesper Dayclub, Vesper Center City, Germantown Garden, Germantown Garden Grill, The Igloos at Germantown Garden Grill, Hunnies Crispy Chicken, Tiny's Burger Joint, and soon to open Figo Ristorante and Figo Pizzeria. Glu also are partners in Anejo Philadelphia and SET NoLibs. Glu currently owns and operates more than 25% of restaurants along and around the Northern Liberties restaurant row on N. 2nd Street.

Glu is actively working on opening future locations for Bagels and Co. Back in Center City, Glu will launch a brand-new dining experience at Vesper Center City. Stay tuned as Glu continues to evolve and pivot out the pandemic as a more food-focused hospitality group with over a dozen concepts open or on the way.

For additional info on the opening of the Igloos at Germantown Garden Grill and associated family programming for the holidays, please stay tuned for more info after Labor Day.

For more about Glu Hospitality, visit www.gluhospitality.com.

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