Are sushi and shopping a winning combination? Saks Fifth Avenue New York seems to think so. As of June 22, shoppers at the Manhattan flagship have a new lunch spot inside the department store—if they can find it. Tucked below street level on the fine jewelry floor, cheekily known as The Vault, is Hoseki, a new six-seat sushi counter. Hungry shoppers can look for Hoseki, which means jewel in Japanese, behind a discreet velvet curtain on the subterranean level. Customers might be blinded by the gleaming glass cases filled with dazzling jewels, but if they can find the hidden gem among the gems, they’ll soon be rewarded.
The brainchild of restaurateur Maxwell Weiss and chef and business partner Daniel Kim, the omakase sushi spot provides a new luxurious and intimate option for department store dining. Weiss and Kim started the successful in-home omakase service Ten Homakase during the pandemic and Kim previously made sushi at Sushi Zo and Sushi by Bou. The counter, which is only open for lunch, offers one-hour omakase seatings with 12 courses.
“Sushi is the perfect shopping lunch,” says Weiss. “Whether you’re shopping or running around Midtown, we provide an escape from whatever you’re doing, but in a way that doesn’t dominate your day.”
The omakase at Hoseki is a parade of fish and seafood jewels, displayed on understated ceramics that let the fish sparkle. Diners can watch Kim prepare each piece of sushi carefully yet quickly, with pieces of sushi like Hokkaido uni, ocean trout, and scallop often appearing, as well as a piece of Japanese Wagyu beef that he torches. The final course is a handroll—maybe toro with taku and chives, ocean trout and truffle, or amberjack and shishito. Diners have the option to upgrade their handrolls with a “Caspian Twist”—caviar on top—or the “Chefs Twist,” Chef Daniel’s personal enhancement. The fish is mostly being sourced from Japan, says Weiss, but they are sourcing globally, with the trout coming from New Zealand, fluke from Montauk, and bluefin tuna from Spain, for example.
“My favorite parts of the omakase are our seared and marinated albacore tuna, our toro hand roll with sauteed shishito peppers, and our ikura,” says Weiss.
Although the restaurant doesn’t yet have a liquor license (it’s in the works), the current drinks menu is diverse and interesting. They have a robust tea program with a variety of hot and iced teas sourced from Japan, with clear thought given to pairing them with sushi. Perfect for summer, the refreshing Black Tea Spritz is made with black tea, yuzu juice, and soda. Also on the beverage menu are Japanese juices, sodas, and kombucha.
While guests nibble their sushi, they can admire the petite restaurant’s luxe and refined design—an ideal match to the setting of The Vault. The six velvet counter seats in a jewel-toned green compliment a green tiled backsplash on the wall behind the white marble counter. A small gallery wall on each end is thoughtfully varied.
“When thinking about the design, I wanted a very ‘New York’ looking restaurant,” says Weiss. “We are serving modern omakase, in a historic New York department store. I wanted to focus on a minimalist design, but one that would highlight elements of Japan, fish, fashion, and New York. Our gallery wall accomplishes that goal.”
Right now, the restaurant is only open Wednesday to Saturday, between 12 noon and 4 pm, with a $95 12-course omakase. And with just four, 60-minute seatings per day, snagging one of those six seats might be harder than deciding which piece of jewelry to splurge on before lunch.
Click here to see all photos of Hoseki.