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Oxford Kitchen Brings New Life and Free Cocktails to Former Sushi Joint

By Janet Upadhye | July 23, 2013 9:55am
 Oxford Kitchen is a new contemporary American cuisine restaurant in Fort Greene.
Oxford Kitchen in Fort Greene
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FORT GREENE — Same owners, different food. 

It's hard to miss the stirrings at 1 Greene Ave., a formerly empty sushi restaurant at the corner of Fulton Street that is now packed with patrons.

Dan Lee, owner of the new Oxford Kicthen, said that the space needed a complete makeover and a new menu — so he ditched raw fish in favor of more diverse fare and a boozy brunch that features two-for-one cocktails.

"The response to our new restaurant has been amazing," he said. "The neighborhood is changing, and we needed to change too."

Lee also owned One Greene, the first sushi restaurant to open in Fort Greene 12 years ago. Business was at one time thriving but then began to wane, and by last year hardly a soul came to the eatery, according to Lee.

So he took action and hired chef Isaiah Contotay from Hawaii to recreate the menu. He also brought on Irish beer connoisseur James MacAnMhaoir to revitalize the beer and wine program. Finally, he changed the name and hours.

Now the new Oxford Kitchen serves drinks until 3 a.m., booze-friendly brunches on the weekend, and dishes like Korean marinated pork belly with smoked black beans and chorizo for dinner.

And the space is turning some heads in the neighborhood.

On a Monday night the bar, dining room and outdoor seating area were packed — an unusual sight in recent years for the large-windowed eatery on the corner.

"We have doubled our efforts and put more focus on the food," Lee said. "And I think it shows."

Visit Oxford Kitchen's Facebook page for hours, menus and specials.