Restaurant Feature: WOKUNI (NYC)
We spoke with WOKUNI’s Kuni Yoshizawa to get some more insight on how this restaurant creates a whole new meaning for farm-to-table, or rather, aqua farm-to-table.
What was the initial concept behind WOKUNI? What was the inspiration?
Our vision was to oversee the process through professional culinary eyes, from when the fish is cultivated right up until the moment that it is served to our guests. This allows us to build a sustainable and traceable system that leads to happier customers. We are passionate about reflecting on Japan's opulent natural elements, from the mountains to the sea, and all of the fertile land in between. One of our biggest goals was to bring the fresh quality seafood, central to Japanese cuisine, to the rest of the world, enriching and diversifying the global food scene.
What are some signature menu items at WOKUNI? What do the customers keep coming back for?
One of our top items is the 9-piece Nigiri & Maki Combo, which comes with 9 pieces of sushi and one roll, with the fish for nigiri selected by the chef. Another popular item is the Triple Sashimi Platter, which includes 9 pieces of 3 different types of sashimi (3 pieces of each). The Assorted Maguro Sashimi is another hot item on our menu that sells every day. “Maguro” means tuna in Japanese, and one thing we love doing is showing off the different cuts of sustainable and high-quality tuna that we source.
When did you decide to switch to using the Rice Factory New York’s rice and why?
A few years ago, we had to adjust to inflation and other factors, and were faced with the possibility of raising our prices. However, we didn’t want our customers to face the burden, so we temporarily used a cheaper brand of rice produced in the U.S. We needed to consider our financial situation, but at the same time, still wanted to maintain our integrity and quality. Luckily, we received a promotion from the rice factory NEW YORK and were very impressed with the quality of rice for the cost. We were very happy that the quality of the rice, which plays such an important role in Japanese cuisine, did not need to be sacrificed. After a short trial period, we started receiving very good reviews about the rice and soon after made the permanent switch. We haven’t looked back since.
How have customers responded to the switch to rice from the rice factory?
Since we’ve permanently switched to this new rice brand, our orders have increased. We also no longer receive complaints about rice quality. Great news!
What is new and exciting for WOKUNI?
We have a “tuna carving show” that is held every month. These shows are held at Japanese fish markets and restaurants as a way of showing sushi lovers and restaurant goers how chefs/fishermen carve up large tuna. It’s a great way of creating a deeper connection with your food and the farm-to-table process. Each event has an auction that anyone can enter to win rice from the rice factory NEW YORK!
What message do you have for New Yorkers interested in authentic Japanese cuisine?
WOKUNI is excited to give you a premium Japanese culinary experience that brings you closer to where your food comes from. We are open daily for lunch and dinner and look forward to serving you!
Address: 327 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016
Phone: (212) 447-1212