Sen Sakana New York | One Thousand Fish
sen; one thousand, sakana; fish
From Japanese to English, Sen Sakana simply translates into “one thousand fish,” referring to the 1,000 or so different species that are said to swim in the Peruvian waters. The vast number of species can also symbolize the immense amount of possibilities, cultures and flavors that can be mixed with Peruvian cuisine. Sen Sakana, a Midtown restaurant that blends Japanese and Peruvian influences and flavors to create a new style; the Nikkei cuisine, is the finest example of such style and experience in New York City.
Despite its minimal façade, the interior design and details take you back. The high ceiling, vibrant colors in its lighting and furniture, and vertical lines and apertures in the partitions that connects and relates to its façade design, all contribute to the pleasurable dining experience here.
The Charred Edamame, atypical from the way it is usually served, was definitely a great starting snack It is slightly seasoned with salt and served with crispy Peruvian corn, which gives it that extra crunch and the fact that the edamame was charred adds on another layer or aroma and flavor.
With plenty of options from their hot and cold starters and all sounding just as good, it might almost seem impossible to decide which to go with. The Spicy Tuna and Yuzu Scallop served over crispy spring roll shells with guacamole, is equivalent to a taco but infused with Japanese elements. The Torched Salmon Ceviche is one of the many amazing options. The Salmon, cured with leche de tigre – a citrus-based marinade, is topped with onions, crispy spring roll strips, and cancha – a large-kernelled corn. The soft texture of the salmon, the crispiness of the spring roll strips and the crunchiness of the corn really contrasted each other in the texture of each bite. The slight citrus flavor keeps the mouth watery and makes you want more of that salmon.
Sen Sakana also has several different tiraditos; a Peruvian dish of raw fish, similar to a crudo, in spicy sauce: The Japanese Snapper Tiradito, The Big Eye Tuna Tiradito, and the Washu Beef Tiradito. The red snapper is paired perfectly with mango slices and Peruvian yellow pepper mango sauce, spicing this tiradito up a bit but also balancing it with the mango sweetness at the same time. The ponzu jelly matched with the washu beef melts with the warmth of your tongue as it tries to find its way through each bite of onions, Japanese mint, and sesame seeds.
Under their kushiyaki menu, the Pork – Buta Queso Cremoso, a Peruvian cheese wrapped in pork belly served on a skewer, is an extraordinary piece to transition to warm bites from the cold starters. The cheese “pops” and spills out of the pork belly with each bite and gives the pork an additional flavor. There are many variations with what gets wrapped in the pork belly, like a mini tomato, shimeji mushrooms, and oba leaf. You can also choose crispy black feather chicken skin, chicken meatball, chicken liver, tail, neck, or beef heart all made in Peruvian style.
Under their mains, the Kazusuke style cooked salmon belly, cured in Sake Lees with assorted vegetables atop and sided with a Yuzu miso cheese sauce, is perfectly cooked leaving just the right amount of moisture and salmon oil in each piece. But also, not to forget, Sen Sakana has classic nigiris/sashimi, Nikkei maki, Nikkei nigiri, classic maki and handrolls, and an omakase option.
Sen Sakana definitely showcased its blend of Japanese and Peruvian flavors across the two different cultures with varying practices. It is shown very well in how their dishes are very unique with elements of Peruvian background, ingredients, and flavors, infused with Japanese aspects and essence. They are known for their Nikkei experience, which is a collection of their signatures.