Astoria, Astoria Arrivals, Food and Drink, Food Talk, Long Island City, Sushi and Japanese
Sep 19, 2019

What to Expect From the New “Koyo” (formerly Gaijin)

If you saw our Instagram story on Thursday, you know we got a sneak peek of “Koyo,” the new omakase restaurant that is the rebranded version of neighborhood favorite Gaijin…and (…)

Share this Scoop

total shares!

Credit to Victoria Argento.

If you saw our Instagram story on Thursday, you know we got a sneak peek of “Koyo,” the new omakase restaurant that is the rebranded version of neighborhood favorite Gaijin…and boy was it delicious.

Foodies and locals were equally dismayed when they announced via Instagram over the summer that they would be closing down after three years of business. Luckily, we found out it would only be for a few months, and they would still be serving what it was beloved for: fresh, high-quality omakase.

Hassun “八寸”, typically an platter sets the seasonality and tone of the meal. Stellar Bay Oyster, Kamasu, Nasu and Tempura Uni. Credit to Victoria Argento.

If you’ve missed the trend, omakase translates to “entrust” and means that patrons are completely entrusting their meal to the chef’s choice for that evening. There are no menus to order from or alternatives for picky eaters. It’s been a widespread trend in the city for the past few years, but Gaijin was one of the first to bring a high-ending establishment to Astoria (omakase normally runs anywhere from $100-300 per person).

So, here’s what to expect of Koyo, and how it compares to the original Gaijin:

The Interior

The team first did some light interior updates. They got rid of two tables, focusing instead on the main counter/bar where you can watch the chef prepare your food, which they say was the most popular element among customers anyway (if you want this option, make sure you select “Chef’s Counter” when you make the reservation). Now there are 18 seats instead of 22.

They also added light wood paneling to give it a warm, minimalistic air, and closed up the outdoor patio, which wasn’t as popular as they had thought it would be originally. They may convert to it a private dining room in the future.

The Concept

Gaijin used to have a hot food à la carte menu (which can still be seen here, if you’re curious), but now Koyo is focusing exclusively on omakase. It is available across the entire restaurant (another former issue resolved, as it used to only be available at the chef’s counter, which patrons didn’t realize).

Milk toast with chu toro, Maine uni, Beluga caviar and shaved summer truffles. Chef Darry Liu is formerly of Shuko and Ichimura. Credit to Victoria Argento.

Koyo means “maple leaf,” which marks the transition into the fall season in Japan. It’s appropriate for the time of their re-opening, of course, but also emphasizes their new focus on seasonality. Menus will change throughout the year, highlighting items that are fresh and in-season.

Their goal is to be one of the top fine-dining establishments in Queens.

The Menus

Currently, there are two menu options: Sushi Omakase, $135/person, and Kaiseki Omakase, $175/person (which are what the pictures in this article are from). Both are 16 courses, but the former is focused on sushi, while the latter is focused on small plates. Each lasts about 2.5 hours–a true dining experience.

ous vide duck breast, soba barley, charcoal roasted brussel sprouts, red miso demi. Credit to Victoria Argento.

Right now they are open Wednesday-Sunday, but this is still more of a “soft opening” period for them, so hours will likely expand over the next few months.

Make reservations on Resi, though you may have to wait a few weeks!

Examples of the sashimi courses. Credit to Victoria Argento.

Examples of the sashimi courses. Credit to Victoria Argento.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *