What to Know
The first Hokkaido-themed restaurant, Dr. Clark, is coming to NYC
This is the first time Chef Munetake Ogata has been to the United States
Featured menu items and fruit beer from Hokkaido Brewery will be served at Hester Street Fair's opening weekend
A well-known Japanese brewery and a renowned chef's new restaurant will be serving food and drink from Hokkaido, a northern island in Japan, in New York City for the first time.
Hokkaido Brewery and Dr. Clark restaurant will be offering a range of foods and drinks at Hester Street Fair's Hokkaido Festival in Manhattan this weekend.
Attendees will be able to sample craft fruit beers and the infamous Jingisukan (Genghis Khan), among several other delicious treats from Dr. Clark Chef Munetake Ogata.
A new restaurant, Dr. Clark, will be opening on May 15 and will serve all of the items featured at Hokkaido Festival, including parfait — a truly unique Hokkaido speciality that is similar to ice cream — and more. The restaurant will also serve beer from Hokkaido Brewery.
Though this is Ogata's first time overseas, he's quite well-known in Japan. Japan's former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi praised Ogata's scallop rice dish as "the best meal" he's had in his life, according to Hester Street Fair.
David Komurek, minority owner of Dr. Clark and owner of Hester Street Fair, tells NBC New York that Hokkaido Brewery served their beer at Octoberfest and Food Baby Fest last year.
Yudai Kanayama, Hokkaido native and owner of Izakaya, director of Samurice, and producer of Hanon, approached Komurek at Food Baby Fest and introduced him to Ogata.
Barbeque from Hokkaido is different from Korean barbeque, American barbeque, and even other types of Japanese barbeque. For instance, the “Genghis Khan” features lamb, which happens to have the highest protein content and lowest fat content of any other meat. Lamb is also the only meat that is not barred from any religious practices.
Hokkaido barbeque also features a unique mixture of sauces that have a distinct umami taste. Ogata is confident that Hokkaido-style cuisine will be popular in America, especially because lamb is already widely eaten in this country.
The fruit beer is sure to be a highlight. Made with fruit that can only be found in Hokkaido, it can't be compared to anything that is popularized in the United States — not even hard cider. Komurek describes the beer as "unexpected, authentic, and extremely Hokkaido."
The Hokkaido Festival is free and open to the public this Sunday, April 14 from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. near the intersection of Hester Street and Essex Street. Unlimited food and drink packages are available for purchase.