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Sen Sakana Settles Down in Midtown

Restaurants rarely open exactly when they intend to, thanks to the reliably red tape-ridden, drawn-out processes of wrangling permits and overseeing construction (not to mention somehow retaining sought-after staff throughout). But Sen Sakana really takes the cake when it comes to a delayed debut, appearing three whole years after their original calculation.

Based on the Japanese-Peruvian culinary tradition known as Nikkei — originally developed by Japanese workers in the 1800’s, who immigrated in waves to Peru — the concept marries an Asian penchant for freshness and simplicity with signature, South American savor and spiciness, not to mention a shared appreciation of fish (fun fact: Sen Sakana means “one thousand fish” in Japanese; a reference to the 1,000 different species that swim in the waters off Peru).

Owned by Allan Wartski of Edison Ballroom and Christos Steakhouse, and co-cheffed by Mina Newman (also of Christos) and Taku Nagai (Ootaya), the three-level, 185-seat eatery definitely takes a something for everyone approach.

Which means while sushi made with hamachi, maguro and unagi is on the menu (often finished with flourishes like olive, green sauce, and pisco ponzu jelly), so too is ceviche and tiradito; look for Torched Salmon bathed in yuzu leche de tigre, and Red Snapper plated with harumaki crisps, and salty shio kombu.

Robata skewers, while ostensibly Japanese, have plenty in common with marinated and grilled anticuchos.  In fact, you’ll find traditional Beef Heart listed amongst the offerings, as well as Cheese wrapped in pork belly, Washu Steak flavored with cilantro, and Crispy Chicken Skin.  As for large plates, they’re a cross-bred mix of what you’d expect to find at either a Japanese yakitori or Peruvian churrascaria.  Think Tonkatsu with potato salad, Yaki Soba “Saltado de Mariscos,” and Quinoa Chaufa topped with plantains, smoked oshinko and onsen egg.

Considering Sen Sakana’s belabored, 7 million dollar buildout, they’ll need all the patrons they can get from Midtown’s diverse, high density crowd.

Sen Sakana
28 W. 44th Street
(212) 221-9561

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