Boka Restaurant Group announced Momotaro Italia, an itameshi concept helmed by Chef Gene Kato of Momotaro. Following on the heels of the Balena farewell pop-up, the restaurant will offer a preview pop-up inside of Dutch and Doc’s, beginning January 4, allowing guests a peek behind the scenes of the recipe and service testing that goes into opening a new Boka Restaurant Group concept.
Momotaro Italia will focus on itameshi, which translates to “Italian food” in Japanese and is the melding of Japanese and Italian cuisines. Both country’s recipes are similarly tradition and ingredient-driven, with a focus on singular dishes and techniques over time. They also have categorical foods that echo one another: crudos and sashimi, spaghetti and ramen, and wood-fired, whole roasted meats, whether on a robata or in a pizza oven.
“Many Japanese chefs have gone to Italy to apprentice and come home with traditional Italian cooking techniques that they then use with Japanese ingredients,” said Chef Gene Kato. “Itameshi dishes meld the cuisines of two countries that at first glance seem different, but upon diving deeper perfectly complement each other.”
Kato’s menu will offer a range of itameshi classics, like crudos, pizza and pastas. Because margherita pizza was named after Italy’s Queen Margherita, Kato’s itameshi version, the Yayoi - pizza topped with mozzarella, smoked paprika tomato paste, parmesan, and olive oil - will also be named after a formidable woman: Yayoi Kusama, the Japanese contemporary artist. Here are a few of the items within each of the menu’s categories:
- Tomato with burrata, shiso pesto
- Hamachi with mustard greens, bottarga, trout roe, yuzu
- Katsuo/Bonito with aged sherry, tomato, puntarelle
- Shrimp with mozzarella, baseil, rayu, and benny ebi
- Spaghetti with uni, mentaiko, shiso
- Mapo Tofu Lasagna
- Turbot with miso eggplant puree, tomato, salsa verde
- Porchetta with peach, scallion, fennel
- Veal “Tonkatsu-style” with Asian pear
“We are thrilled to open another concept with Gene Kato,” said Boka Restaurant Group co-founder Rob Katz, “He has taken Momotaro - an already popular restaurant - and made it exponentially better within the year that he’s been there. His food is always executed at the highest level and the staff has thrived under his tutelage.”
Reservations will be available starting December 9, 2018 and can be made on Opentable, here: http://bit.ly/Momotaro-Italia. The pop-up will begin on January 4, 2020 and run through March, Wednesday through Sunday for dinner service, starting at 5pm.