A new omakase spot offers temaki galore in Flushing.
Kaizen, named for the Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement, opens July 1 in Queens. Led by the self-proclaimed perfectionist sushi chef Ben Chan (former executive chef at Sushi Seki and an alum of O Ya and Kissaki, plus Tim Ho Wan's Hong Kong outpost), Kaizen serves premium handrolls, donburi, Japanese salads and soups.
The sushi is built on rice fermented with Kyushu-kuro vinegar, mushrooms, shallots, vegetables and a secret spice blend. The menu is available ala carte, or omakase-style, with five-piece temaki sets going for $35.
Kaizen's kamasu hand roll, aka barracuda, is a rarity in New York's sushi scene and made with yuzu and peppers. Other signature handrolls include kinmedai (golden eye snapper) with homemade yuzu apple sauce, akami (lean tuna) with tofu chili sauce, yellowtail jalapeño with shallots and aji Japanese horse mackerel with ginger scallion. Additional options include red miso clam soup with enoki mushrooms, rock shrimp tempura, plus yuzu sorbet and a warm mochi brownie with miso caramel for dessert.
The beverage program at Kaizen is overseen by general manager Louis Santini. Choose from craft cocktails such as the Oolong Hsu, which infuses tea with winter melon blended with mezcal. Santini has created his own “ice-kase” — that is, unique sculptural molded ice differentiated in six specialty cocktails, built for temaki pairings. The sake list includes junmai, ginjo, daiginjo and premium reserve sake as well as wine and imported beer.
Kaizen is at 33-70 Farrington Street in Flushing and open for lunch from 11:30am-3pm daily, and dinner from 5 p.m. to midnight. Reservations are available via Tock.