Nov. 20, 2017 By Nathaly Pesantez
COURT SQUARE – A restaurant with a focus on Japanese food and other Asian cuisines is opening in the Court Square area next week.
Sapps, the name of the “no frills” restaurant, will open its doors on Nov. 28 at 27-26 Jackson Ave. , just blocks from the Citi Corp building.
The new restaurant, owned by Shih Lee, a restaurateur with a slew of local eateries including Shi Restaurant, Skinny’s Cantina, and Kavala, takes inspiration from the low-key, izakaya style Japanese restaurants in the East Village frequented by many, including Lee, as a teenager.
Among the restaurants was Sapporo East, which was commonly referred to as “Sapps” by patrons.
“He and his family would go there often,” said Eric Lehrer, who partnered with Lee in bringing about the new restaurant. “It was a everyone-knows-each-other type of place. That’s the element we like—we’re recreating this older place that the boss grew up around.”
But the restaurant will have a modern New York City vibe, and will also pay homage to elements of Long Island City. A 5Pointz inspired mural, for example, adorns the restaurant’s walls. The mural features a giant panda and elements of Japanese art, too.
While Japanese cuisine will form the basis of the majority of Sapps moderately-priced dishes, an array of Asian fusion dishes will also be prepared in the kitchen, which will be run by chef Mitsuru Kita.
Menu items include the usual teriyaki and bento boxes, and “Japanese comfort food”, like sushi pizza, served on a scallion pancake and loaded with tuna tartar and salmon. Japanese-style chicken wings will also make an appearance in a menu that will be ever-changing, Lehrer said.
There will also be a sushi bar at the restaurant, along with a cocktail menu and several varieties of sake to try by the glass or by bottle.
The site, at 2,200 square-feet, can seat up to 80 people, with 50 diners at the ground floor level and about 30 people in the mezzanine section, which can be reserved for events like birthdays, baby showers, and for large gatherings.
The restaurant will open for lunch and dinner to start, from about 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. during the week, with closing hours at around midnight for the weekend.
News of Lee’s new restaurant first came about in 2016.