125 E. 39th St.
New York, NY 10016
Critics' Pick
Kajitsu +

Chessa Cahill


  • Tue-Sat 12pm-2pm, Tue-Sun 5:30pm-10pm
  • $$$$
  • Prix Fixe
  • Dinner, Lunch
  • Beer/Wine
  • Street Parking
  • Reservations Accepted
Kajitsu's bare dining room in midtown may be one of the finest places in the city from which to witness the changing of the seasons. The intricate vegetarian fare is a far cry from the processed meats and faux cheeses that one might currently associate with the vegan lifestyle. Instead, Kajitsu serves food in Japan's tradition of shojin-ryori, the vegetarian food which blossomed in Buddhist monasteries in the 13th century and laid the groundwork for extravagant, multi-coursed kaiseki, and modern Japanese haute cuisine. The kitchen knows how to coax a multitude of flavors and textures from the vegetable world, so prepare for piles of soba noodles, bubbling stews of tofu and slippery bits of chewy seaweed. The East 39th Street space is twice the size of the restaurant's former East Village digs, but the kitchen's humble persona -- despite its exquisite execution -- still remains intact. The room is quiet and full of sunlight, helping to draw attention to Ryota Ueshima's hyper-seasonal cuisine. Desserts draw on the elastic capabilities of rice flour and are best enjoyed with a steaming cup of bright green matcha tea. With your eyes closed and head bowed to the wafting steam, you might pray for another dinner reservation. --Tejal Rao

Related Stories (2)

  • New Restaurant Reviews: Soup Dumplings at Full House; Vegan at Kajitsu
    Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 2:26 p.m. by Mallory Stuchin

    Kajitsu's glass noodles On this sunny May Day, our critics single out two new restaurants to usher in the season. In Midtown, Tejal Rao bows her head in favor of the vegan Japanese Buddhist temple cuisine at Kajitsu, while Robert Si...

  • Kajitsu's Rite of Spring
    Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 4 a.m. by Tejal Rao

    A cherry-tree leaf is fried to a sheer crackle. It conceals a single flowering fern, clipped before it could unfurl, snap peas, and a three-headed bloom of broccolini, all balancing on a wobbly cube of tofu that's been studded with ...


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