By Bao Ong | August 19, 2016 | Food & Drink
With the opening of Kozu, the global Asian-fusion-meets-club phenomenon finds a home in Southampton.
Chilean sea bass from Kozu.
Restaurateur Zach Erdem, who owns the buzzy 75 Main, knows that dinner in the Hamptons doesn’t always follow the standard ritual of ordering an appetizer, entrée, and dessert before quietly heading home for the evening. For many guests, dinner is just the beginning of a festive night filled with dancing, DJs, Champagne, and celebrity sightings. Kozu, the Japanese fusion hot spot that Erdem opened in Southampton this summer, caters to this crowd.
“Why doesn’t Southampton have this type of restaurant?” he recalls asking himself, citing popular New York City spots like Nobu and Zuma that blend high-end food with a club vibe. “People want to come out for fun, to see beautiful people, to enjoy themselves all night.”
The 250-seat Kozu offers Hamptonites this sort of bacchanalia. But before the party starts, you can find guests filling up the dining room and patio overlooking Main Street. Much of the fish is flown in from Japan, and it’s likely you’ll see plates of crispy rice—a dish of rectangular cubes of compressed sushi rice that’s been quickly fried and topped with yellowfin tuna, a dab of tobanjan, and a serrano pepper—at every table. Head chef John Keller’s menu also includes Asian dishes with a seasonal flair, such as the summer corn and lobster salad with a corn “pudding,” shiso, and yuzu dressing.
On weekends, you’ll see guests overflowing into Summer House, the restaurant’s late-night lounge, featuring a patio with white-linen daybeds surrounded by hydrangeas.
“We want everyone to feel like they can stay all night long,” Erdem says. “It’s the best of the dinner and party combined.” 136 Main St., Southampton, 283-7575
photography by Doug young