Aged kombu-cured ribeye Photos: Jeff Marini

Everything about Iliana Regan’s ode to Japanese cuisine is adorable: the cheery servers, the bunny-shaped ceramic chopstick holders, the giant mural of a fox in the bathroom. But don’t let the precious touches fool you. Kitsune plumbs previously uncharted depths of flavor. Regan’s DIY ethos, honed from serving as chef/forager-in-chief at the critically acclaimed Elizabeth, is everywhere here. Japanese building-block ingredients are expertly and creatively deployed. Miso is mixed with foie gras to make a jus for a chicken dish. The edible mold known as koji goes into the dough for the housemade bread. The crowning achievement: a bowl of tonkotsu ramen with a broth so unctuous it’s practically a meat unto itself. It’s a tribute to the form that far exceeds what’s served at many of the most popular local ramen joints. Pretty good for a chef who only just made her first trip to Japan.

A pickle plate