It is interesting to observe how restauranteurs and chefs are constantly expressing themselves while connecting with their diners through carefully crafted ambiance/vibe, their staff and of course the presentation of their food. Constantly innovating, constantly adapting to the current trends… each establishment is trying to address a need. Be it casual or romantic, boisterous or quiet, family-friendly or intimate, affordable or extravagant, trendy or classic. From a sophisticated dining establishments to a window selling bone broth to hipster ramen joints to tasting menus to pop-ups to food halls to food festivals… There is something for everyone! Or is there?
Say hello to Ikinari Steak. A new gem of New York city, for steak lovers on the go! A concept straight from Japan with a goal: To serve “super thick” high quality meats quickly and economically…. A fun, interactive, communal, and brand new experience for New Yorkers!
But wait, how do they run a steakhouse that serves high-quality meats and keep it economical?! Answer: By turning it into a standing-only restaurant. So unlike a traditional steakhouse, here the idea is not to pamper you in a traditional steakhouse kind of a way. It is all about the steak here. Steak and nothing else! So, you get to walk up to the ordering station, pick your cut of meat (ribeye, sirloin, filet), choose the weight of your streak, its doneness (Ikinari recommends rare) and finally one or more sides (from a small list of options)… oh and be sure to order a drink from a teeny-tiny drink menu! That’s it! You have a number assigned to your “standing” spot…. and your steak will come to you as soon as its ready. Each table has a selection of sauces to enhance the flavors of your steak. Take special note of the special J-Sauce (a special blend of soy based steak sauce)
The steaks are cut to order, cooked on an open-fire and presented in a sizzling cast-iron pan. There is garlic butter on top as well as a serving of corn at the bottom of the steak. I for one, needed nothing more than that. But for good measure and in keeping with the whole Japanese tradition and all, I ordered some sake (note: only one option offered in glass or bottle).
I loved the simplicity and the genius of this concept. It is very easy to satisfy your streak craving and stay within your budget… as you get to pick your steak size (they literally use a weighing scale to get it right). How easy it is to enjoy a really high quality steak meal while under a time constraint. Finally! You can totally have decadent steak meal for lunch!
Ikinari is fairly new and attracting tons of curious diners, so expect lines at peak hours. However, since its not the kind of place where people will linger, the wait should not be too bad. I got lucky as I happened to pass by around 5pm o na week day, and noticed no lines. So, I jumped at the opportunity.
As for the steak, it is really juicy and well prepared. The seasoning was just right and the garlic butter was yummy. I say this place is totally worth checking out!
Ikinari Steak, New York | http://ikinaristeakusa.com