Odo exudes low key luxury in a way that feels like a fitting setting for a traditional Japanese dining experience. The restaurant, which takes the name of chef Hiroki Odo, doesn’t try to be a vibe. It isn’t showy, and it doesn’t invite a scene. It humbly holds many high profile accolades while maintaining a low profile for patrons in the know. The restaurant is set up like a speakeasy. You actually walk through a bar to get to the mysterious minimal back room of the restaurant, where a 14-seat counter wraps around the serving station. The ambience is warm and elegant, you feel transported to a world where everything revolves around the plates of food presented to you without distraction. Without windows, you lose sense of what time it is, what day it is, where you are.
The food is served kaiseki style, the dishes evolving seasonally to serve the freshest finds, each dish prepared to perfection, timed perfectly to the pace of your meal so you barely realize how full you’ve become, enchanted by the wonderful mystery of what comes next. The food is served on trays custom made from ancient wood in Japan, and the dishes are plated on beautiful Japanese ceramics.
Behind the dining counter is yet another speakeasy, a Japanese spirits-focused bar and lounge featuring a curated selection of regional drinks. They sometimes host pop ups (ie the odo utsuwa market featuring antique and modern Japanese ceramics). The entire enterprise feels like an arthouse project brought to life through creative collaboration and personal fascination in art, culinary, culture, craft.
Go here for: a celebratory dinner, an expense-able lunch
Amount of time to spend: the dining experience takes about 2 hours
When to come: when you have a reservation (lol) – book it at least a couple weeks in advance for weeknights and lunches, longer for weekends
Getting here: take the NQRW to 23rd street and walk down 5th Ave to 20th St.
Other things to note: Make reservations through their website and note any food allergies and dietary restrictions, they are pretty good about accommodating specific allergies, but cannot do gluten-free or vegetarian diets.
Last visited: March 2022
Last updated: May 2022