Kunio Ichinose, the chef and owner of Ikinari Steak on East 10th Street where diners eat standing up.
(Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News) (Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News)
It’s okay to stand your date up at this restaurant.
At Ikinari Steak — the first U.S. outpost of the popular Japanese steakhouse that opens Thursday in the East Village (90 E. 10th St.) — customers eat their meat while standing at tables instead of sitting.
The concept is an affordable steak dinner with quality meat and quick service. Guests order drinks and sides like a mixed salad and a savory beef broth soup first, then line up at a counter to put in steak orders — a choice of ribeye, sirloin, filet or assorted steak. Each slab of meat is cut in front of you based on your requested weight in grams (Between 7.1 and 21.2 ounces).
The meat is perfectly grilled, and typically served rare, but patrons can continue to cook the juicy meat on hot plates. You can add a little J-sauce, a zesty blend of soy sauce-based steak dressing. The spectacle of it all makes you forget you’ve been standing around the whole time — the meal is served within 30 minutes.
“It was a challenge to bring steak to a steak-centric city. I wanted to serve affordable, thick-cut steak to busy New Yorkers,” executive chef and founder Kunio Ichinose, who has more than 60 locations in Tokyo, tells the Daily News.
And he’s determined to churn it out ASAP.
Daily News writer Jeanette Settembre dines while standing up at Ikinari Steak on East 10th Street.
“We have to serve quickly. If not, people will get upset because they’re standing.”
Come for the meat, but don’t underestimate side dishes like a sublime, steaming hot plate of garlic white rice sizzling with corn, pepper and chunks of beef. Even the salad dressings, like a sweet onion variety, are tasty.
In our road test this week, standing while eating steak wasn’t much of a challenge, though at $30 or so for a regular-sized sirloin or filet mignon, prices are only a little less than restaurants with a little more comfort.
The lack of pretensions – and the no-tipping policy – were a definite plus, though.