Philly's Sushi Whisperer Kevin Yanaga Opened a New Sushi Speakeasy Featuring 25 Courses and Seating for Eight - Wooder Ice
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Philly’s Sushi Whisperer Kevin Yanaga Opened a New Sushi Speakeasy Featuring 25 Courses and Seating for Eight


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Philly’s Sushi Whisperer Kevin Yanaga Opened a New Sushi Speakeasy Featuring 25 Courses and Seating for Eight

Feature Images via Eddy Meranco

Philly’s Sushi Whisperer Kevin Yanaga Opened a New Sushi Speakeasy Featuring 25 Courses and Seating for Eight

Philly’s Sushi Whisperer Kevin Yanaga and Glu Hospitality announce the grand opening of Omakase by Yanaga in Fishtown at 1832 Frankford Avenue. Omakase is a Japanese cuisine style “menu” that is completely left in the hands of the Chef. Chef Yanaga will be preparing his Kaiseki style Omakase, in the intimate and exclusive eight-seat dining area attached to the already existing Izakaya by Yanaga restaurant. Through the discrete double doors to the back of Izakaya, each guest will enter a unique tasting room where they will sit facing Chef around a custom sushi bar, where Chef will perform his culinary craft nightly.

Every diner will spend the 90 minute experience with the Chef watching his artistry, sharing stories and learning about the dishes. All 25 courses served will be specially selected by Yanaga. No two experiences are ever the same. Alongside the exclusive dining experience, sake and wine pairings tailored to the experience will be offered, as well as tea service and unique cocktails. Omakase by Yanaga is open Thursday through Saturday, with seatings at 6:00pm and 8:30pm. Reservations are required in advance visit, reserve on Resy.

“Omakase offers a higher end dining experience that is upscale, personal and intimate,” said Yanaga. “Focusing highly on fresh, exotic, and semi-traditional offerings for both food and drink, we are excited and humbled to bring this high-end and unique experience to the Fishtown, Northern Liberties and the Kensington area. These three neighborhoods are full of exciting and boundary-pushing restaurants, and this seemed the perfect place to break out on my own and add to the mix with both Izakaya by Yanaga, and now Omakase by Yanaga. I wanted to create a new restaurant that is friendly and approachable, yet has a second side with elevated food and drink selections not typically seen in our area. We want to be both a neighborhood restaurant for locals with Izakaya, as well as a culinary destination for people traveling across and into the region with Omakase.”

After years of perfecting his craft, Chef Kevin Yanaga, known through social media channels as the “Philly Sushi Whisper,” is ready to unveil his Omakase bar. Yanaga brings 10+ years of experience in the top sushi restaurants in the region, including at Izakaya at Borgata, Double Knot, Pod, Morimoto and Zama. After working with Stephen Starr, Michael Schulson and some of the biggest names in the business, Yanaga partnered with Glu Hospitality as Executive Chef and Partner for Izakaya by Yanaga. Yanaga and Glu are now proud to introduce the new Omakase experience one year later.

Omakase in larger terms is a Japanese cuisine style “menu” that is completely left in the hands of the Chef. Yanaga will be preparing his Kaiseki style Omakase. No two experiences will ever be the same as the menu and stories will change each time. During this $195 per person experience, guests will enjoy a total of 25 courses, prepared by Yanaga himself as guests observe his meticulous knife skills and both traditional and modern culinary techniques before their own eyes. Each evening, the menu will include 12 courses of nigiri, 3 non-traditional sushi, 9 amuse courses and 1 dessert. Specific offerings will change daily and weekly, tailoring the menu to each experience.

Chef said, “I love the flexibility and freedom to take the menu in new and different directions each day. My goal is to have people leave with a smile on their face and to see them try something new they may have not tried before. With 25-courses, the options are really limitless.”

Alongside the elevated culinary offerings, sake and wine pairings as well as Japanese whiskey and hand crafted cocktails will further enhance the evening. Yanaga General Manager Michael Ego selects and creates menus for all cocktails, wine selections, sake pairings and spirits.

For cocktails, Omakase features exclusive offerings – available only in the Omakase room. They are not even available next door at Izakaya by Yanaga. They were designed specially to pair and enhance the larger culinary experience and menu. All Omakase cocktails are $16.00.

For tea service, selections will vary as Omakase sources limited quantities of unique teas, and they are priced at market price. Tea Service will vary between $15-$25 priced per tea kettle.

For sake lovers, there is a six and eight course tasting for sake which rotates based on Chef’s menu for the weekend. Ego works with Yanaga to curate each sake tasting with Chef based on his selection of sashimi, nigiri, and amuse to be offered. Selections will vary and include dry, floral and sweet, with all meant to coincide with an aspect of the dish chef prepares.

With Omakase only being eight seats, the team did not want to overload with menus, as the whole experience is to not only be exclusive but informative. Servers when presenting the next course of sake will be explaining key aspects of why this sake was picked and what notes to look out for when preparing for the next course in Omakase.

For interior design, Glu Hospitality and Yanaga tapped the creative talents of John Christinzio and Quest Design, who were the interior designers for Izakaya by Yanaga, and most recently Figo Ristorante and Figo Pizzeria. They also have been tapped for Glu’s forthcoming The Peabody at the Temple Campus.

For the space itself, the intimate Omakase bar draws inspiration from nature and simplicity. Custom carpentry throughout the room transformed a once lounge style seating area into an elusive and personal space, complementing the food and beverage offerings provided.

Over 100 custom storage lockers for chopsticks which can be purchased for guests to store their own, marked with the guests initials. Custom plates and glassware, all hand picked by Yanaga, bring a modern touch to his classic Japanese offerings.

For vibes, Omakase aims to create a darker aethstetic as opposed to the modern traditional look in other Japanese restaurants.

“I am thankful to have my name on two concepts and experiences that are all under one roof,” concluded Yanaga. “After an amazing year with Izakaya by Yanaga, I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate our anniversary than to debut Omakase.”

Omakase seatings are Thursday to Saturday, at 6:00pm and 8:30pm. Each seating lasts around 90 minutes. Chef’s Omakase is $195 per person and consists of all 25 courses. Dietary restrictions unfortunately cannot be accommodated. Omakase cannot accommodate vegetarian guests, guests who are allergic to shellfish, guests with soy allergies, gluten allergies or kosher guests. Reservations are required and all cancellations must be made with 48 hours notice before the experience.

Reservations are available now by calling 267-758-6275. Reservations will also be available on Resy starting this week. For more information, visit and follow @izakayabyyanaga @gluhospitality on social media.

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