by Kelly Hu


Eat Up Tokyo is a one-day, invitation-only cultural and culinary symposium which came to New York City this November. Presented by the City of Tokyo and organized by the Tokyo Convention and Visitors Bureau, Eat Up Tokyo celebrated the eats, drinks and delights of Japan’s vibrant capital, bringing a taste of Tokyo to NYC.

Both a cultural conversation and tasting event, the happened inaugural Eat Up Tokyo on Thursday, November 8th, welcoming respected members of the NYC restaurant industry for a special media-only lunchtime panel discussion about Tokyo’s dining scene and its global influence.

From 12:30pm – 3:30pm, VIP media attendees had the opportunity to sample enticing drinks and dishes from some of NYC’s most esteemed Japanese food and beverage luminaries, including the sushi master who trained under the famed Jiro Ono, Daisuke Nakazawa (Sushi Nakazawa), chef Kaukusaburo Sakurai (Wasan Brooklyn) and sommelier Toshiyuki Koizumi (Wasan Brooklyn).

Following the exclusive media preview, a free evening tasting-only session from 6:00pm – 9:00pm was open to 250 select general public attendees who have pre-registered for the event via Eventbrite. Attendees were selected by the event organizers and notified in advance of the event.


The City of Tokyo presented a media-only interactive panel session, followed with a tasting (12:30pm – 3:30pm) for press, influencers, travel industry professionals and other VIPs.

Distinguished panelists included acclaimed New York chef Michael Romano, who helmed The Union Square Café to its status as one of the most influential restaurants in the nation, Bobby Valentine, former MLB and Nippon Baseball League manager and prominent restaurateur, and travel blogger Jackie Gebel of @noleftovers, who has recently partnered with the Tokyo Convention and Visitors Bureau to travel throughout Japan, capturing her experiences and sharing them on her Instagram page for over 340,000 followers.

The diverse group of panelists shared their unique Tokyo dining experiences and gave insight into how Tokyo dining trends have influenced local cuisine on an international scale. A tasting of specialty Tokyo food and beverages followed the panel discussions.


Both lunch and evening session attendees were invited to explore the tastes of Tokyo through curated menus from two of NYC’s most esteemed Japanese chefs.

Sushi master Daisuke Nakazawa of Sushi Nakazawa illustrated the principles of Edo-mae sushi, the style invented in ancient Tokyo, that he serves at his eponymous restaurant – a rare recipient of the most prestigious four stars from The New York Times.

Additionally, Chef Kaukusaburo Sakurai of Wasan Brooklyn served visually-stunning dishes inspired by top Tokyo landmarks and attractions, such as the Imperial Palace. Chef Sakurai’s offerings were presented alongside complementary sake pairings curated by Wasan’s resident sommelier, Toshiyuki Koizumi.


Sushi Nakazawa

Chef Daisuke Nakazawa

Seasonally-conscious edo-mae style sushi including:

• Mini bowl of salmon roe marinated in soy sauce over rice with finely cut seaweed and wasabi

• Fall salmon with Suzu regional salt and sudachi Pre-marinated and seared king salmon with mustard and Tosa soy sauce

• Scallop, yuzu citrus pepper and roasted salmon Pressed crab sushi with seared crab miso Yellowtail with wasabi and Tosa soy sauce

• Lean tuna with wasabi and Tosa soy sauce

• Egg

WASAN Chef Kaukusaburo Sakurai

Inspired by top Tokyo landmarks and attractions:

• Tokyo Skytree Yakitori

Grilled chicken skewers in the shape of the landmark Tokyo Skytree, served with potatoes

• Imperial Palace Lotus Root Cake.

Grated, seasonal lotus root shaped into a ball and topped with sauce infused with chrysanthemum flowers, an imperial symbol

• Kaminarimon Thunder Gate Salmon

Asparagus and red bell peppers assembled to represent the famous Tokyo gate, with salmon representing the center lantern

• Akihabara Electric Mochi Crepe with Popping Candy

Wasan’s signature mochi crepe filled with popping candy for a whimsical surprise.


• Hoppy from Hoppy Beverage

• Rita Pure Green (Junmai) from Toshimaya Bewery

• Sawanoi Daikarakuchi (Junmai) from Ozawa Brewery

• Sawanoi Tokyo Kurabito (Kimoto Junmai Ginjo) from Ozawa Brewery