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Chelsea Japanese Restaurant Cherry Opens Casual Williamsburg Outpost

By Serena Dai | July 24, 2014 1:58pm
 The restaurant at 138 N. 8th St. is a Brooklyn outpost of Cherry, a restaurant and lounge in Meatpacking District.
Cherry Izakaya Opens in Williamsburg
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WILLIAMSBURG — Lower Manhattan restaurateur Jonathan Morr never planned to open a Brooklyn restaurant, joking last year that he didn't have a "visa to go to Brooklyn."

But on Friday, his new Japanese restaurant Cherry Izakaya will open at 138 N. Eighth St., a more casual version of his Chelsea restaurant and lounge Cherry at 355 W. 16th St.

After a romp around Williamsburg with a friend from Paris last year, Morr saw the appeal of opening there — "wait a minute, this is cool," he recalled saying — and went for a space immediately.

"I just want to embrace the local community," Morr said. "Of course, I'd love everybody to come. But we want to be a part of Brooklyn and a part of the growth."

Much of the furniture and decor is made of reclaimed wood, including benches that line the walls and arched ceilings. The dishes are more shareable, with gyozas, skewers and a variety of appetizers filling most of the menu.

"I see it as the go-to neighborhood restaurant," Morr said. "It's inexpensive. It's very approachable, and it's the kind of place that people can stop by and grab a bite."

Larger entrees, including a whole fried fish and short ribs with potato salad, range from $18.50 to $26, while the smaller, shareable dishes like duck kumquat gyoza and curried shrimp croquettes run from $8 to $14.

Drinks include $10 twists on traditional homemade Japanese sodas with shochu, like a one that is tangerine- and jasmine-flavored and a cranberry five-spice concoction.

In September, Cherry Izakaya will launch brunch service with more traditional foods that have Japanese influence, like green tea pancakes and eggs benedict with a wasabi hollandaise sauce, Morr said.

The owner, who is also known for opening BONDST in NoHo, wants to build a loyal audience in Williamsburg and laughs about commenting about not having his passport updated.

"I love Brooklyn and everything that's happening," he said.

Cherry Izakaya, 138 North Eighth St., opens Friday. It is open for dinner, Monday through Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to midnight, Thursday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. and on Sundays from 5:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Brunch and delivery will start in September, with brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends.