It’s always been hard to snag a seat at the chef’s counter at Robataya NY, one of Timeout‘s best restaurants of 2011, but now you can forget about it: last Thursday, the Little Tokyo restaurant closed for renovations that could take between two to four weeks.
Earlier this year, it was bought by Ootoya, a large Japanese chain, according to documents filed with Community Board 3. A soft opening is expected in late April or early May, according to Koji Ro, the restaurant’s new general manager.
Ro said that some menu items will change, but much of the restaurant will stay the same — including the robata style of food grilled by chefs perched atop a dining counter, who hand patrons the food on paddles.
In his New York review, Adam Platt described Ootoya as a “populist, Cracker Barrel-style chain of more than 100 restaurants in Tokyo,” but its Chelsea and Midtown outposts have distinguished themselves for offering classic, meat-heavy Japanese dishes — in 2013, its pork katsu cutlet was named the best in the city.