The interior of the new Brooklyn outpost of East Village stalwart Wasan—which opened on Bergen near the Barclays Center in August—may be sparse as a monk’s cell, but the food is downright luxurious. That dichotomy makes perfect sense for kaiseki, a style of Japanese cooking born from the happy marriage of vegetarian Zen monastery cuisine with labor-intensive royal formality. Where else can you eat wild horse mackerel, dramatically arched on the plate like a pirate ship’s sail ($16)?
The luxury comes by way of the Waldorf Astoria’s Inagiku, where Wasan chefs Ryota Kitagawa and Kakusaburo Sakurai both worked. But the majority of the ingredients have a more rustic pedigree, with a greenmarket-driven menu featuring seasonal ingredients from Norwich Meadows Farms and specialty produce from Windfall Farms. On one visit, an eggplant amuse-bouche, carved like a hasselback potato, arrived before the pumpkin crab cakes ($9) and seaweed salad with chia seeds ($8).
At Wasan, expect quality ingredients prepared carefully. Don’t skip the lively array of house-pickled vegetables, such as sweet vinegar watermelon radishes ($7.50) and Brussels sprouts with curry vinegar. The wild Long Island fluke carpaccio is smattered with microgreens as tender as clover ($15), while the organic fried chicken is hit with citrus, scallions and soy sauce ($9.50).
The menu includes healthy ingredients, like quinoa and chia seeds, explained sommelier Toshiyuki Koizumi, speaking on behalf of the restaurant. “Because whatever you put in your mouth, it becomes part of your body.”