New York City College of Technology, CUNY

Department of Hospitality Management


Janet Lefler Dining Room




To: Professor Abreu, Director of Service

From: Citlalli Martinez, Student

Date: September 27, 2018

Re: New York Times Restaurant Review

On September 18,2018 Pete Wells, a well-known food critic, visited Shoji at 69 Leonard Street. Shoji at 69 Leonard Street is a Japanese restaurant located in TriBeCa, owned by Idan Elkon. The unique thing about this restaurant is that it is, as Pete Wells states, “a one man show” run by Chef Derek Wilcox. This restaurant resembles a bar, it consists of a counter and 12 chairs, a small establishment, but it produces stunning high-quality sushi. Towards the end of August, when Pete Well visited the restaurant he saw that the restaurant was empty, this stunned him. Mr.Wilcox states that “People always say summer is not a good time for sushi”. Pete Well mentions that there shouldn’t be any empty seats regardless of the amount of people that go off to the beach, but he enjoyed being the only customer since he got a 2-hour schooling of summer sushi.

Pete Wells states that one of the perks of sitting right in front of the chef is that you get to learn about him, his experience at Kikunoi a restaurant in Kyoto, Tokyo and possibly learn about his study abroad experience. He mentions that Mr.Wilcox opening move was presenting a plate of urchin and eggplant. The eggplant gave an illusion to the customer that they were about to eat a thick noodle. He stated the following “With one dish, he had shooed away the heat outside… and introduced a minor theme of the night, the summer urchin harvest in Japan.” Mr. Wilcox sticks to tradition, he follows the kaiseki tradition which consists of a sequence of courses. Mr. Wilcox also surprisingly tracks bluefin, obtain bioluminescent firefly squids from Japanese waters, and cuttlefish when they are thumbnail size. This shows that he is a dedicated chef that only want high quality sushi.

I would like to visit this restaurant because I feel like it would be an interesting meal. I would also like to go because I believe that chefs that appreciate their products and really highlight their flavors on the plate have tremendous dedication to their art. I look up to chefs like these. I would need to save up money though because eating here is expensive. Pete Wells gave this restaurant three stars.

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