What happens when an Italian opera director and a Japanese chef collaborate on a restaurant? Cho-Cho San, a new culinary hot spot in NYC's Greenwich Village, is the result of famed Metropolitan Opera director, Fabrizio Melano, and Jun Nagano, of the venerable Taste of Tokyo, joining forces.
Named after the heroine of the opera Madama Butterfly, Cho-Cho San's menu combines traditional Japanese fare with western overtones and musical references, resulting in novel dishes like the Puccini Roll, a delightful ring of squid tempura stuffed with sushi rice, olives and shiso, or Bakudan, Japanese meatballs with pecorino cheese flecks, and Jun's sister's special sauce.
The interior takes its cues from a traditional Japanese house in which Madama Butterfly might have lived. An outer dinning room faces the street and is connected to a back sanctuary by a sushi bar in the shadow of an imported cherry tree branch. With such a unique combination of eastern and western cultures, it's no wonder that Cho-Cho San is already a melting pot for uptown and downtown denizens, where celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and opera stars like conductor James Levine and soprano Teresa Stratas have all been spotted.
For foodies with Bar Masa tastes but recessionista budgets, the giant sized, reasonably priced sushi boats and student lunch menu make Cho-Cho San an even more appealing destination.