Sen Specializes In Kamameshi - NYC

Sen specializes in kamameshi

Chef Bryan Emperor seems to have as many skills as there are grains of rice in a burlap sack.

Time spent banking in Japan left him proficient in Japanese. After a turn toward food and one Culinary Institute of America degree later, he became the first graduate to snag an apprenticeship in Japan, where he spent countless hours washing rice.

This is a man who knows rice. 

At Sen, the striking new Flatiron sister restaurant of the Sag Harbor original, Emperor cossets the grain in iron kama pots set into lidded cedar boxes. All of these eight kamameshi kettle rice dishes are exclusive to this location.

The crown jewel is the marvelous chirashi meshi ($14). A base of buttered saffron rice is blanketed with a thatch of shaved threads of omelet. On it ride a Hokkaido scallop, snow peas and orbs of salmon caviar. The fun intensifies after you finish eating these luxe ingredients off the surface.

Each of the made-to-order kamameshi dishes conceals a wonderfully browned bottom, as with the super-premium short grain koshihikari ($9), where the rice sticks together like pine needles on a damp forest floor.

Sen, 12 W. 21st  St. (between Fifth and Sixth aves.); 212-388-5736 or