Yet another of the original Krog Street Market anchors has crumbled. Last month, the Cockentrice announced its closing, with sister spots Frankly and the Spotted Trotter following. (Castellucci Hospitality Group is opening a new restaurant in their former space.) Come January 15, Craft Izakaya, which opened in 2014, will cease operations and, on January 18, relaunch as Makimono food stall and bar.
Led by executive chef Jey Oh, Makimono will offer eight chef-driven sushi rolls (including Craft and Sushi Huku favorites), as well as design-your-own rolls. For those who prefer meat and poultry, there will be rice bowls with pork cutlet, Japanese-style beef, shrimp tempura, chicken teriyaki, and kimchi pork.
Expect Oh’s Island Roll on the menu. With shrimp tempura, fresh salmon, avocado, lemon slices, spicy crab salad, eel sauce, spicy aioli, flying fish egg, sesame seeds, and green onions, he describes it as “an explosion of flavor.”
There will be a large picture menu and items will be ordered from the sushi bar, which is replacing the beverage bar facing into the market. By using machines to roll rice and cut the rolls, Oy says he is saving on costs and increasing efficiency, allowing Makimono to serve 10-piece rolls for $9.95.
“Being a sushi chef for more than 13 years, I realized only 5-10% of diners eat omakase. What about the other 90%? I’m sick of people who don’t know how to make sushi for the majority,” he says. “In the beginning of Krog Street Market, we didn’t know how much of a role the food stalls would play. After two-and-a-half years of analyzing the market and neighborhood, we realize people come here to be a part of the market and not be confined to a restaurant. They like to mix and match.”
As such, Craft’s interior restaurant seating will become communal space for the market. There will be a new 75-inch flat-screen TV to show sports on the weekends.
The bar program—consulted on by Tom McGuire of Prohibition fame—will remain focused on Japanese and local beers, and affordable wine and cocktails. Beverages will only be available inside the restaurant area.
In addition, Oy says he wants a freezer with Japanese and Korean ice cream bars next to the ordering area “so it reminds you of your childhood when the ice cream truck came. It’s that kind of nostalgia we’re going for.”
“You should have fun when you eat. You shouldn’t have to know everything about sushi,” he adds.