Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

Tzarevna, one of Manhattan’s institutions for authentic Russian and Eastern European cuisine, has rebranded and relaunched as Yo+Shoku, a brand-new dining experience that combines traditional Yoshoku cuisine with familiar Asian and Eastern European flavors from the owners’ childhoods.

Ricky and Mariia Dolinsky, the owners, chefs and mixologists behind the Lower East Side’s popular Tzarevna, have opted to transform their restaurant into into an entirely new concept following a loss of customers during the Ukrainian/Russian war. Ricky, who is Ukrainian and Taiwanese, and Mariia, who is Russian, decided to rebrand as Yo+Shoku, an inviting pop-up dining experience located in the same familiar space that will showcase elevated Yoshoku fare that’s influenced by Ricky’s memories of traditional Asian cuisines and Mariia’s love for traditional Eastern European flavors.

Ricky says, “We chose to highlight Yoshoku cuisine because of its under-representation in one of the largest cities in the world, and because it fits with our own story as an East meets West couple. The framework of the cuisine also gives us the freedom to expand upon the cuisine and add our own unique creations that fit within its canon of it. This new chapter ushers in a new era of creativity for us, which can be fed back into the cuisine we are trying to bring attention to.”

Customers can expect a first-of-its-kind fusion food menu of Duck Confit and Smoked Trout Dip Onigiri, Wagyu Katsu Sando and Salmon Skin Salad Zensai (Small Plates), and main dishes of Borscht Curry Udon, Omurice with Mole Negro, Karaage Chicken & Mochi Waffles, Okonomiyaki “B.E.C.” (bacon, egg, and cheese), and more.

Ricky Dolinsky says, “The culinary philosophy of Yo+Shoku revolves around the idea of east meets west, in a familiar way that celebrates the commonality between the cuisines while juxtaposing with the differences. For example, our Borsch Curry Udon uses our borsch as a base before seasoning it with our kake soba broth. It is then infused with Japanese curry. The result brings out the best of both cuisines; the hearty, sweet and savory richness of the borsch is given an umami rich, smokey and spicy upgrade.”

Yoshoku directly translates to “Western Food” in Japanese. By adding the “+” in Yo+Shoku, the Dolinskys separated the phrase, playfully paying homage to their New York roots and flavors, which are prominently peppered throughout the menu. New York flavors, and their story within it, is their reference for “West” in an East meets West philosophy. To the Dolinskys, “Yo” is New York.

In addition to Yo+Shoku, the restaurant is home to Paper Planes, an inviting speakeasy located in the back of Yo+Shoku, which can be found by walking along a hallway adorned with handmade paper planes. Paper Planes opened in June of 2022 and features a rotating cocktail menu of playful takes on classics, signature creations and seasonal offerings. Ricky Dolinsky says, “Paper Planes is our speakeasy in the back of Yo+Shoku, and it has the relaxed, downtown vibe of a chill cocktail bar that delivers proper and creatively playful drinks. A cozy, dimly lit backyard atrium, our idea is to act as a secret haven amid the chaos and tight, jammed packed streets of Hell Square. For those seeking refuge, all you have to do is follow the paper planes leading to the back.”

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