New York-based restaurant group ESquared Hospitality took its BLT Steak brand to Tokyo in September. Opened with locally based partner Jinterji Co., Ltd., the 4,700-square-foot restaurant sits on the fifth floor of a 45-story mixed-used building, Izumi Garden Tower in the city’s upscale Roppongi district.
Keith Treyball, president and partner at ESquared, says Jinterji Co. owners had visited BLT Steak in Waikiki, Hawaii, several times and fell in love with the concept. “It’s very popular with Japanese tourists there so we’d already established a name in Tokyo. With the 2020 Olympics being held in Tokyo and the Japanese government relaxing import regulations on American beef, it seemed perfect timing.”
The restaurant seats 175, including 80 in the main-level dining room and bar, an additional 30 in a mezzanine-level lounge/bar area and the balance in four private dining rooms. Located at the back of the main dining room, these rooms can be closed off for smaller groups or combined for groups of up to 20. Outdoor terrace seating on the mezzanine level is available, as well.
The rectangular dining room features curved banquettes and a partially exposed, glassed-in kitchen on one wall and large, tall windows covered in sheer white curtains on the other. As with ESquared’s other international partnerships, the design process was a collaboration and the Tokyo unit, while recognizable as a BLT Steak, has its own look and feel.
“We send out specs for core items, like the tabletops, steakhouse chairs and banquette designs. From there, each unit has unique design elements,” Treyball says. “In Tokyo, they did a beautiful inlaid design in the wood flooring and the overall feel is very clean and elegant.”
ESquared has grown from one flagship restaurant opened in New York City in 2004 to more than 10 brands and 28 restaurants worldwide, including 14 BLT Steak and BLT Prime locations. BLT Steak Tokyo is the company’s sixth restaurant in Asia.