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Welcome to OKO: Westchester's Newest Japanese Experience

From the brilliant palette of Chef Brian Lewis, these Japanese dishes just took on a whole new meaning of fresh.

Just last Thursday, my partner in “dine” Rory Alexzander Mazur and I visited one of the hippest sushi bars I’ve been to in lower Westchester County. We were thrilled to meet and dine alongside a number of Hudson Valley foodies alike as we tasted a few menu items at the new restaurant installment of OKO.

Following the one-year anniversary and success of OKO’s first location in Westport, CT, Chef Brian Lewis and his team are set to open their doors in Rye tomorrow, December 18th on 29 Purchase St.

Where’d the name come from?

The restaurant's name is short for “Okonomiyaki,” a savory, Japanese pancake filled with seasonally inspired ingredients. This dish was one of the most popular plates at Lewis’ award-winning restaurant The Cottage thus inspiring him as he established his next brand of restaurants OKO.

What’s the venue like?

OKO is located in the bustling downtown of Rye in a historic, exposed brick building on the corner of Purchase St and Locust Ave. The space welcomes you with large windows shedding bright light and offering sidewalk views of the main commerce area. The place is decked out with patterned tin ceiling tiles, dark wood floors and custom-designed steel structures offering up-close and personal views of the kitchen.

Tell me about the food!

Chef Lewis’ signature cooking style blends traditional Japanese flavors with a modern twist from only the freshest ingredients around. Sourced from local farms and waters in New York, as well as throughout the United States and the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo you would have thought these ingredients were just caught. Every dish that was placed before us was intricately placed by the head sushi chef, Tan Tandy and company.

We started our evening with one of their house signature cocktails (pictured above) that has proven itself to be their most popular at their other location, the Gingered Ninja. This to me tasted like a blend of a traditional margarita and a Moscow mule which are two of my favorite cocktails.

As we enjoyed are drinks and started chowing down on their edameme, we were welcomed by a number of less traditional sushi options that were each as mouth-watering as they were unique. The first bite or should I say shot we had served in intricate glasses was the Hokkaido Uni Shot made of shiro dashi and sea urchin, topped with ostera caviar and yuzu fennel. Following, we tried a number of bites including the ramen egg, Santa Barbara uni toast, spicy salmon crispies, and sticky ribs.

The starters were followed with what seemed like a never ending amount of the freshest most beautifully plated sashimi pieces I’ve laid eyes on. Highlights include the Hamachi Yellowtail, Suzuki Sea Bass, Hokkaido Hotate Sea Scallop and Maine Bluefin Tuna Akami.

Do you recommend?

Absolutely! I’m sure I can speak for much of the Westchester community that there are sushi loving people among us who are always on the lookout for a trendy new dining experience.

The team at OKO has definitely brought their A-game to the table so be sure to reserve your seat now.

OKO Kitchen

29 Purchase St., Rye, NY

6 Wilton Rd., Wesport, CT


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