Between culinary hot spots Suraya and aether, it’s no secret that food is synonymous with Fishtown. The addition of traditional omakase restaurant HIROKI, which quietly opened last spring, has only added to the excitement. Helmed by executive chef Hiroki Fujiyama and Method Co. (the company is also behind Fishtown’s Wm. Mulherin’s Sons), the old Kyoto-inspired dining experience leaves the menu entirely up to the creative mind of the sushi chef. Here, Fujiyama, who grew up in Kyoto- shi, Japan, and trained with world-renowned chef Masaharu Morimoto for over a decade, gives us the inside scoop. Corner of Lee & Master streets, 215.422.3222, hirokisan.com
What makes HIROKI stand out from other restaurants in the area?
It’s all about the guest getting lost in the experience. Our guests can come in and not even have to worry about what to order. They can just relax and let us take care of them and allow them to share an experience with each other. We traveled throughout Japan prior to the restaurant opening and tried to bring as much of that experience back with us to share with each guest.
What is the inspiration behind the interior design?
The interior design and architecture inspiration was pulled from the most visible representation of old Kyoto that still exists today in the form of thousands of traditional machiya-style houses dotting the cityscape. We wanted to build a symbolic marker to remind those who enter to come into the present moment.
What is the most popular dish so far?
The seared scale-on amadai red tilefish. [It’s made with a] technique that requires 24 hours of brining and then drying. It has an amazing texture because the scales are very crispy, but the fish is very delicate.
What is your favorite course?
Our white Saikyo miso soup, a less common style of soup that is very personal to me. In Kyoto, this type of soup varies by household and is served on New Year’s Day for good luck.