What does it take to be considered a tempura master? For chef Kiyoshi Chikano, who’s behind the perfect fry technique at New York City’s Michelin-starred Tempura Matsui, it’s meant 27 years of dedication to the craft.
Tempura Matsui is the first omakase restaurant in the U.S. that focuses on the battered- and deep-fried dish. Seven days a week, Chikano and his team serve dinners dotted with sashimi, chawanmushi (the delicate Japanese egg custard), and soba, but of course, the main omakase focus is the multiple tempura courses. Each is served immediately after frying, featuring seasonal produce and a strikingly thin batter perfected by the restaurant’s late founder Masao Matsui. Before his death in 2016, Matsui had spent 45 years of his life cooking tempura and was “lured out of retirement” to open this spot; currently, his restaurant honors his memory by referring to its battering technique as “the Matsui Way.”