Editor’s note: this restaurant is now closed.
Kozu Hamptons is a brand new Japanese Fusion restaurant in Southampton run by 75 Main & nightclub AM Southampton owner Zach Erdem. The restaurant’s menu offers Japanese cuisine and sushi with a Peruvian influence. The interior décor is an intimate and elegant atmosphere, featuring dark wooden floors and white walls covered in colorful artwork by Raphael Mazzucco. The ‘scorched ash’ dining tables pair handsomely with the rich hues and soft lighting. As a pleasant contrast, the outdoor patio space hosts casual tables and “director’s style” low chairs with plenty of space for mixing and mingling.
I visited Kozu with friend and fellow writer, Vanessa Leggard, on a Monday early evening at 6pm, when they open for dinner. We were one of the first parties to arrive and were seated comfortably outside underneath the awning. I had my daughter with us, who was still resting, and she was able to stay in her stroller. High chairs are available.
Our drinks were served promptly: we ordered hot Saki, Gingerita cocktail: Avion Silver Tequila, Fresh Lime Juice, Ginger Syrup ($18); and the nonalcoholic Shiso Lemonade: Fresh Lime, Lemon Juice, Shiso, Cucumber ($18). Typical Hamptons prices for cocktails. My Gingerita was very refreshing and not too sweet, served on the rocks.
To start, we split the Edamame: szechuan pepper, garlic, sea salt ($13); and Blistered Shishitos: togarashi & yuzu citrus salt ($16). To note, togarashi refers to any type of chili pepper. Traditionally, guests at Kozu begin with those two dishes. The menu overall is designed to share, with dishes served placed in the middle of the table.
Next, we had the Kozu Crispy Rice: spicy tuna & creamy tobanjan (5 for $18); Chicken Satay: gingered peanut sauce, toasted peanuts (3 for $18); and Smoked Pork Belly buns with ginger hoisin sauce and pickled daikon (2 for $16). The best dish of the three was the pork belly buns. I would come here just for these and a cocktail. Skip the chicken satay and crispy rice, the chicken was mildly overwhelmed with peanut sauce and the crispy rice needed a touch more flavor.
For our main course, we split the Kozu Calamari: creamy tobanjan ($18), and the Crabby Tempura Roll: king crab, snow crab, lump crab, shiso ($28). Both were excellent; the table next to us was admiring the appearance of the Crabby roll and ended up ordering a few rolls for their table. The calamari was crispy and warm, the sauce was an excellent compliment. We felt that guests ordering should have the option of ordering the calamari with or without the sauce on the side.
Popular dishes include the Japanese Eggplant ($12/each), Candied Cod: 6-7oz broiled with sweet miso ($38); the Fluke Carpaccio from their raw bar (5 for $18); and the New Anago Roll: blue crab, cucumber, avocado, topped with anago (sea eel) ($29). The Anago roll has been on the menu for over five weeks and has been well received ever since its introduction.
Dessert was a win all around. We ordered the Kozu Chocolate Lava Cake: coconut ice cream, crumbled peanut, togarashi, sea salt ($14); and the Banana Tart Tatin: Tahitian vanilla ice cream, and salted caramel sauce ($14). It would be difficult to choose a preference. The cool coconut ice cream was in sync with the moist, semi-sweet chocolate cake, and the banana tart was served at the perfect, cozy temperature.
The menu is designed by Head Chef John Keller. Their signature dishes include Kozu Jalapeño Yellowtail with Smoked Tomato Ponzu; the Summer Corn and Lobster Salad with a Corn “Pudding”, Shiso, and Yuzu Dressing; and the Heirloom Tomatoes and Japanese Cucumber with Toasted Sesame Dressing, Yuzu Salt, Micro Cilantro and Piment d’Espelette. The kitchen also proudly hosts Sous Chef George Nikolopolous, formerly of Le Bernardin, and Sushi Chef Joseph Kim, formerly of Morimoto.
The restaurant also boasts the private room and lounge called Summer House, which is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, featuring famed DJs from all around the world, LED lighting with white linen covered day beds.
For overnight stays, the venue also includes Hotel ZE, a 5-star boutique hotel with a total of 9 rooms: 5 suites and 4 standard rooms. The modern European style hotel and rooms are designed by world renowned architect Costas Kondylis.
Brunch is served daily from 12pm to 5pm, featuring a live DJ and champagne with Koch brothers Daniel and Derek every Saturday. Dinner is served daily from 5pm to 2am.
http://75maingroup.com // 631-283-7575