The first shrines to Tse’s sushi skills started at Arak and Torchiano’s apartments in Union Square and Astoria, where 12 people crowded in to get a taste of Tse’s sushi expertise. “We thought that if we could get 12 people at our apartments, we can get them at some other place,” Torchiano says.
After practically endless cold-calling in search of the perfect, affordable space to host dinners (New York apartment hunters can relate), in September 2013, Mayanoki landed at Brooklyn Oenology, a winery and tasting room in Williamsburg, where they would pop up twice every other week with an omakase menu.
“It was a great partnership,” Torchiano said. “We would come in on a slow night and sell sushi and they would sell wine.”
The Brooklyn Oenology partnership was in place for two years until Tse left the project due to its demanding schedule. “It was 14 hours a day for the chef: He had to receive the products, break [the fish] down and he couldn’t commit the time and energy to the enterprise and eventually left,” Torchiano says.