Sen Will Continue Authentic Japanese in New, Modern Space

Pan Seared Miso Striped Bass at Sen in Sag Harbor.

After months of extensive renovations, Sag Harbor stalwart Sen Restaurant, under the guidance of owners Jesse and Tora Matsuoka and Jeff Resnick and Chef Courtney Sypher, is preparing to reopen this June, with an expanded space and menu. The restaurant will celebrate its 25thyear. The renovations have increased the restaurant’s footprint, adding dining room seating, a larger lounge, an extended cocktail selection, and a late-night dining menu that will be offered until 2 a.m. on weekends. In keeping with the restaurant’s passion for authentic Japanese cuisine and drink, Sen will feature Brooklyn Kura Saké on tap, which is the first saké to be brewed in Brooklyn.

A larger dining room will now seat 95 people. Sen favorites, like the rock shrimp tempura, the yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño, and the ramen, will still be available, as will new and innovative dishes, like handmade soba (get it while it lasts: only limited quantities will be prepared for each evening’s service). “I brought our chef to Japan this January,” Jesse Matsuoka said. The experience was steeped in tradition, including the longstanding practice of making labor-intensive buckwheat soba noodles. The restaurant has not yet determined how many orders of soba will be available per evening, some of which will depend of staffing, but they currently expect to run through the product during each evening’s seating.

Tuna, yellowtail and bonito sushi at Sen.

A late-night menu will add such delights as mini ramen bowls to the hungry masses’ after-hours repertoire. “We are looking to have exquisite food for late-night, along with beverage: specialty cocktails, high-end wine poured through a Coravin system, and a Perlage system for Champagne,” Jesse Matsuoka, the restaurant’s general manager said. He described the late-night space as aspirational, wherein sought-after wines (notably, vintage Krug Champagne) would be poured by the glass and, in some instances, paired with food. Prices for exclusive wines will range from $28 to $60. Overture by Opus One will be one of the featured fine still wines. The impetus behind this upmarket concept? “It’s all about the setting,” Jesse Matsuoka said. Sen is hoping to establish a niche for Hamptons denizens looking for a more refined late-night experience, where they can relax, enjoy the serenity of the newly defined space, and consume luxury items after most other spaces have closed for the evening.

A much larger kitchen will now also allow for increased catering. In the past, the restaurant had limited capabilities when it came to catering, but that has changed with the renovation. Sen will be now able to take on much larger projects, due to increased space and staffing — the footprint of the kitchen has increased by 600 square feet. Customizable catering packages will be available for any number of guests, and Jesse Matsuoka will double as saké sommelier, making himself available for on premise events in order to conduct saké pairings and tastings. The catering department will accommodate large events, such as weddings, but it will also be available for smaller groups, like individuals wishing to learn to make sushi at the sushi bar, among a small network of friends. “Our capabilities have taken off,” Jesse Matsuoka said.

The restaurant, which is still in the throes of construction — replete with artist-composed murals and plaster art on the walls — is anticipating a late June reopening, a reincarnation that Jesse Matsuoka refers to, playfully, as “Sen 2.5,” a tribute to the restaurant’s 25thanniversary. As for the pressures of conducting a major, full-scale renovation on an old property in the Hamptons, Jesse Matsuoka embraces it. “I like the pressure,” he said. “It drives me to do the best I can.” Come late June, Sag Harbor will once again reap the benefits of all of this hard work.

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