It’s always thrilling when a European or American restaurant takes up residency in Tokyo. When Noma stormed Tokyo a few years ago, for a short stint, the food world was set alight and reporters and foodies alike swarmed to the pop-up for months on end. Park Hyatt Tokyo, situated in Shinjuku, is joining the list of hotels in the Japanese capital that encourage outside influences and, for six days from October 29 to November 3, are welcoming famed New York eatery Contra and legendary mixologist William Elliot from Maison Premiere to its New York Grill & Bar.
One of the gastronomic highlights of the year, this promises to be a match made in heaven as lucky guests sample Contra chefs Jeremiah Stone and Fabian Von Hauske Valtierra’s culinary concoctions — the concoctions that have led Contra to its one Michelin star and plaudits from The New York Times (which gave it two stars and named it one of The Best 10 New Restaurants of 2014). Pair Contra with Maison Premiere’s groundbreaking mixology, which earned the accolade of Time Out New York’s Bar of the Year 2016, and you’ve got one of the most exciting and eagerly awaited events on the Tokyo culinary calendar.
The setting, Park Hyatt’s famous New York Grill & Bar located on the 52nd floor with views other hotels can only dream of, is perfect for this week of experimentation, gastronomy and mixology.
October 29 – November 3 2018
New York Grill. 5.30pm – 10pm
New York Bar. 5pm – midnight (Thursday to Saturday to 1am)
Dinner Menu: ¥21,000 (subject to tax and service charge)
Cocktails from ¥2,000 (subject to tax and service charge)
A la carte menu available
Sponsored by United Airlines
For reservations, please contact New York Grill & Bar 52F 03-5323-3458
Note: New York Bar does not accept reservations.
Contra NYC chef Fabian Von Hauske Valtierra was kind enough to answer some questions from Metropolis about the upcoming guest chef event.
Metropolis: Is this your first time to Japan? If so, what are you most looking forward to?
Fabian Von Hauske Valtierra: Yes it is my first time and I’m very excited about all the food and seeing it in a new perspective. I have never been to Asia before so am looking forward to experiencing something so far from my comfort zone, to seeing what restaurants are doing differently, and all the ingredients that we don’t get back in NYC.
M: At Contra NYC there are some Japanese influences like wagyu, miso, matsutake mushrooms, dashi, and yuzu kosho. Do you think you will change or adapt your menu for Tokyo diners? Are there some Japanese ingredients that are harder to source in NYC that you are hoping to work with?
FVHV: Absolutely, I am more excited about all the different fruits that we can’t get there, especially trying some citrus fruits and some of those Nagano grapes.
M: The Contra NYC menu is hyper-seasonal. Are there any seasonal Japanese ingredients you are interested in incorporating into your dishes?
FVHV: Nagano grapes and yuzu. I am really interested in seeing what the dairy tastes like in Japan. And all the seafood we get from Japan in NY, I really want to see what the difference is getting it fresh. I am dying to go to the fish market.
M: You’ve said in the past that Contra is not fine dining, yet you’ve been awarded a Michelin star and two stars from the New York Times. Is it true that you are the first NY Michelin-starred restaurant with a vegetarian tasting menu? Will you also be offering a vegetarian tasting menu at the New York Grill?
FVHV: I think the way we approach service is not your typical fine dining experience: we want people to be able to get excellent products treated with the upmost respect in a very casual and friendly environment. We love really energetic music and we really want people to have a good time while they are here instead of trying to get them to experience a temple of food. I don’t know if we are actually the first Michelin restaurant with a vegetarian menu, but we will definitely be cooking with a lot of vegetables.
M: On a side note, are there any Japanese dishes or restaurants that you want to try while you’re here?
FVHV: I really want to try Inua and La Pioche and the restaurants in the Park Hyatt. I’m also looking forward to checking out some interesting cocktail bars.
M: Will you be collaborating with guest mixologist William Elliot of Maison Premiere?
FVHV: We have been talking about their cocktail menu and we’ve come up with some snacks to complement it.
M: In an interview you’ve said your cuisine is “highlighting great product, very simply”. This is a philosophy behind Japanese cuisine. Perhaps your dishes are what Tokyoites find comforting?
FVHV: I really hope so – we always try to find the purest way to treat an ingredient.
M: Is there anything you would like to say to those coming to dine at the Park Hyatt Tokyo New York Grill for your Guest Chef event?
FVHV: Just to let them know that we are very excited to share our way of cooking and being inspired by the city, its cuisine and everything surrounding it. We joke about it a lot but we always absorb everything around us to create our way of cooking. We are really excited to learn in Tokyo and share our experience through the food.