1 or 8

Restaurants , Japanese Williamsburg
  • 1 out of 5 stars
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1 or 8 (Photograph: Jolie Ruben)
1/5
Photograph: Jolie Ruben

1 or 8

1 or 8 (Photograph: Jolie Ruben)
2/5
Photograph: Jolie Ruben

1 or 8

1 or 8 (Photograph: Jolie Ruben)
3/5
Photograph: Jolie Ruben

1 or 8

1 or 8 (Photograph: Jolie Ruben)
4/5
Photograph: Jolie Ruben

1 or 8

1 or 8 (Photograph: Jolie Ruben)
5/5
Photograph: Jolie Ruben

1 or 8

Deep in the heart of Williamsburg, where the old-timey look is de rigueur, a minimalist place like 1 or 8—the second sushi project from the owner of Bozu—stands out. There’s the stark interior: calming and blindingly white. And the service: reverent, knowledgeable and doting without a hint of affectation. “Atelier of food” reads the restaurant’s confident tag line, and the message is clear: Pay attention, we’re about to blow your mind. Unfortunately, the food fails to back up the fanfare. The fusion menu, from co-chefs Kazuo Yoshida (Jewel Bako) and Atsushi Yokota, begins with a daunting selection of appetizers. On the night we visited, the rotating lineup of terrines included a crock of chalky chicken-liver mousse sealed with artificial-tasting clarified butter. Despite the good-on-paper combination of avocado, yuzu, mango and grapefruit in a lobster ceviche, the dish was unbalanced—so sweet-tart that it overwhelmed the subtle shellfish. Entres were also seriously flawed. A sashimi platter certainly looked pretty, with its ruby akami, ridged hunks of octopus and coils of silver fluke. But piece after piece, the fish was dry and bland—far from top-shelf. That’s more than can be said for the uni, musty and sour urchin served in a hollowed-out cucumber. Hot dishes were equally off-putting: Pork belly served two ways (grilled over a bed of sauerkraut and deep-fried in a greasy batter) was really just served one way—gristly. Sushi restaurants rarely bring their A-game for dessert, and 1 or 8 doesn’t break the mold. Jiggly shiso flan worked only as a serviceable palate cleanser. The place does have one compelling draw—a tidy collection of rare Japanese beers, including the unusual Coedo Beniaka, made with sweet potatoes. Nutty and robust, it would pair beautifully with a hearty meal—if only we found something here worth eating.

Venue name: 1 or 8
Contact:
Address: 66 South 2nd St
Brooklyn
11249
Cross street: between Kent and Wythe Aves
Opening hours: Tue–Thu, Sun 6–11pm; Fri, Sat 6pm–2am
Transport: Subway: J, Z, M to Marcy Ave
Price: Average main course: $20. AmEx, MC, V
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