Preview: KOKU Japanese

An 80-seat eatery featuring modern Japanese favorites, like blue-crab fajitas, an organic basil chicken entrée, and of course, sushi


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Among 16 signature rolls at KOKU is the shrimp-tempura-and-avocado-filled North Castle topped with seared filet mignon and spicy tuna.

Photographs by AM Studio

Despite a population just north of 4,000, Armonk packs a healthy number of worthwhile dining options into its quaint downtown. KOKU Japanese, since opening early last year, has  further enhanced the hamlet’s dining status. 

Spicy edamame is an addictive app not to be missed.

The 80-seat restaurant bills itself as modern Japanese, which means there are plenty of global influences (blue-crab fajitas, an organic basil chicken entrée, sushi rolls with ingredients like truffle kimchi sauce or steamed Canadian lobster) and that classics like tempura and teriyaki, while available, are a minor part of the menu. The spicy edamame, amped up by shichimi togarashi (a seven-seasoning spice mixture) and topped with Parmesan, is an addictive starter; the grilled black cod, marinated for a day in golden-yellow, mildly sweet saikyo miso, reaches the rarified “fifth taste” umami. 

Sushi, heavily represented in the form of 16 signature rolls, platters, and à la carte sashimi/hand-roll selections, is marvelously presented. Partner Eric Cheng is a lifelong sushi fan. “I want to bring New York City-quality sushi to the burbs,” he says. “I grew up in Hong Kong and started eating sushi when I was 5 or 6; it’s always been a passion of mine.” To this end, he uses top Japanese fish suppliers, like USA Seafood in Brooklyn. 

The décor is “classy Zen,” with brick walls, a curved walnut overhang above the sushi bar, onyx marble bar, and a lot of muted browns, whites, and grays. 

454 Main St, Armonk  914.730.0077; www.kokujapanese.com

 

 

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