Till now, the East Village’s Robataya has been our go-to for charcoal-grilled Japanese food (I mean, they hand you the stuff on paddles), but this may well change things.
Long hidden by construction plywood, the restaurant at the corner of Bedford Avenue and Grand Street has finally revealed itself to be Salt + Charcoal, a Japanese robata spot that’s expected to open in the next few weeks.
According to a Craigslist ad soliciting staffers, S+C is a “high-end” affair owned by Jiro Iida, previously executive chef at Aburiya-Kinnosuke. If you’re not familiar with that popular Midtown spot, it’s the sister restaurant of Yakitori Totto, which is worshipped by the likes of Anthony Bourdain, Eric Ripert, and pretty much every other chef in town. As Robin Raisfeld and Rob Patronite pointed out when they put Aburiya-Kinnosuke on New York‘s in ’05, there’s a “congenial counter by the robata grill, where poker-faced cooks painstakingly monitor the progress of the skewers and planks they prop amid the embers.”
At Salt + Charcoal, according to the Craigslist ad, Chef Iida will be serving “real charcoal grill Robata along with traditional Japanese cuisine,” and there’ll be “a great selection of sake, shochu, wine and our original cocktails.” The restaurant will seat about 110 across two floors, a full bar, a lounge area, and an outdoor cafe.
We’ve left our number with the owner so as to find out whether diners will be able to grill at their own tables, as with Aburiya-Kinnosuke. We’ll let you know what we hear.
Salt + Charcoal, 151 Grand St., at Bedford Ave., Williamsburg