Restaurant Feature: Icca
This New York-based Japanese restaurant offers a unique style of sushi known as Edomae.
With its name inspired by the plum flower from the Zen proverb “One flower opens the sky in spring”, Icca dedicates itself to providing guests with a dining experience that is akin to experiencing a spring flower blossoming. Their Japanese menu focuses on one particular style of sushi—edomae. Born in Ryogoku, Tokyo, edomae sushi is in fact the predecessor of what we know today as nigiri sushi, otherwise known as a thin slice of raw fish delicately laid atop a piece of rice.
Icca strives to provide New Yorkers with a unique dining experience that fuses this ancient method with more traditional local cuisines. The result? An unforgettable experience lined with top-shelf ingredients and impeccable attention to detail.
We spoke with Kazushige Suzuki of Icca to learn more about this local gem and its offerings:
What is the concept behind your restaurant? Tell us about Edomae sushi and what sets Icca apart from other sushi establishments?
At Icca, we have developed an original new style of Japanese cuisine that fuses traditional Edomae sushi with the Italian flavors that are such a big part of New York’s food scene. Essentially, edomae sushi is a sushi tradition from the Edo period that introduced the very first nigiri-style sushi. One big difference that sets it apart from conventional sushi is that we use red vinegar to season the rice, giving it a strong, yet balanced fragrance that complements the fish perfectly. You will notice that it also gives the rice a reddish tint.
There is also a lot of work that goes into the preparation of the fish. We don’t just serve raw fish as-is on top of the rice. We season it to bring out all the right flavors and textures that will blend well with the rice. Depending on the fish, it might be broiled, torched, seared, preserved, or marinated. This is the beauty of edomae sushi.
We pride ourselves on all of the intricate details that we put into each dish. That's why our name is inspired by the Zen proverb referring to a plum flower. Each dish is intended to serve just a fraction of that beauty.
What are some of Icca’s signature dishes or menu options?
Our Abalone Liver Nigiri is one of our top menu items. It’s one of our original nigiri sushi prepared with carefully selected black abalone liver sauce and freshly cooked rice. We always recommend to new customers to try it. It’s quite the experience.
We also receive a lot of orders for our Tokachi Herb Beef Steak, which is made with sirloin, the best cut of the Tokachi herb beef, which the owner of Iccca personally raises in Hokkaido, Japan. Hokkaido is famous for its fertile land and aquatic resources, which they take advantage of for the booming agriculture industry.
What made you start using rice from the Rice Factory?
When we found out that the Rice Factory freshly mills Japanese rice to order, we decided that this was the easiest way to have Japan-quality rice here in the U.S.
The fact that they offer a wide variety of rice was also a huge bonus for us. That’s all we needed to know to start carrying their rice!
How are your customers responding to rice from the Rice Factory?
Our customers love our sushi because the rice is just as delicious as the fish. For anyone who loves sushi, you must know that the quality of the rice is just as important as the quality of the fish! You need both to create a truly exquisite sushi experience.
Does Icca have any news or upcoming events that we should know about?
We are excited to share that we are now serving seasonal fish sourced from the Toyosu fish market in Japan. This is worth mentioning because the Toyosu market, located in the Kōtō Ward in Tokyo, is one of Japan’s most well-known markets for its quality. Aside from fish, they also sell wholesale vegetables, fruits, and other seafood that are sold to restaurants and businesses all over the city.
Do you have a message to share with our readers?
Japanese rice is the best rice in the world! Everyone needs to try it at least once in their life. We are proud to promote it and serve people from all over the world in New York. Come to Icca to try it for yourself!
Address: 20 Warren St, New York, NY 10007
Phone: (646) 649-3415