Zuma’s Executive Chef Oliver Lange Dishes On Opening A High End Japanese Izakaya In Boston

Photo Credit: Zuma Boston

Next week, Boston is readying for the unveiling of Zuma at the new Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street Boston. The Back Bay spot is the first of its kind in the city from the London-based Japanese restaurant that is slated to offer an impressive sushi and sake selection. (Boston is the brand’s fourth location in the United States – the three other spots include New York, Miami and Las Vegas).

We caught up recently with Oliver Lange, Zuma’s corporate executive chef, to discuss the luxury scene in Boston and get a sneak peek at some of the dishes he will be preparing.

Photo Credit: Zuma Boston

Tell us a little about Zuma, the new high end Japanese izakaya opening inside the new Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Boston next week.

We are very excited to be opening our doors on Tuesday, May 28, in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood.  The first Zuma opened in London in 2002 and was created by Chef Rainer Becker.  He spent many years working in Tokyo as the executive chef of the Park Hyatt where he developed a passion for the Japanese food culture and conceived the idea for Zuma.  It is inspired by the traditional izakaya’s found in Japan, a casual “restaurant” for drinking and eating, where a wider variety of different types of Japanese dishes are available in a space with different seating areas. Zuma is authentic but certainly not traditional and the approach is contemporary whilst ensuring we respect the heritage and culture that Rainer fell in love with.

Zuma has three other US locations in New York, Las Vegas and Miami. Why did you decide to open the fourth in Boston (and 12th overall)?

We always open in vibrant, cosmopolitan cities that have inspiring food scenes – Boston checks all of those boxes!

Photo Credit: Zuma Boston

Do you think Boston is ready for this luxury experience?

We have always looked to open our locations in places that our customers already traveled to or worked in, and Boston is very obviously one of those places. This city is no stranger to luxury, and our opening will be an addition to that.

Zuma Miami is well known for its lavish weekend brunch. Is that on the table for Boston down the line?

Down the line, yes!  Upon opening we will be concentrating on our bar and dinner offering. We hope to launch weekend brunch after the summer – watch this space!

Photo Credit: Zuma Boston

Tell us a little about the robata grill where chefs can interact with guests?

The culinary concept in all Zuma locations centers around our three kitchens: main, sushi and robata. Both the sushi and robata are always open kitchens and provide an energy and vibrancy to the dining rooms. The robata specifically adds a warmth as well. The method of cooking is steeped in history but essentially it’s cooking a mix of marinated fish, meat and vegetables over open flames; it gives an incredibly unique flavor to the food.

What are some of the signature dishes you will be creating?

When we open a new restaurant we tend to focus on a core menu offering. Further down the line we begin adding specials and trying out new dishes once we understand what guests in that location prefer. For the moment though, we have the addition of oysters on the menu and special chef’s sashimi selections.

Photo Credit: Zuma Boston