by Stephen Garner

Six years after its creation, Café Kitsuné makes its stateside debut in New York’s quintessential West Village neighborhood. Open all day, every day at 550 Hudson Street, Café Kitsuné New York is a modernist reinterpretation of the classic Parisian café and wine bar.

From the Paris-meets-Tokyo fashion brand Maison Kitsuné, the café was conceived by chef Yuji Tani. Its menu offers specialty coffee drinks, sweets and savory treats, internationally-influenced small plates, and natural wines. A reflection of his culinary style, the simple, creative and comforting cuisine revisits French café must-haves, with an added unique Japanese touch, such as the Azuki Toast made with sweet red bean and croque monsieur with tuna and house béchamel. A variety of sandwiches — including a Funky pork-belly Bánh Mì — are available to stay or to-go. For light, yet hearty options, salads such as a Fancy niçoise with anchovies and green green — roasted broccoli, fried kale, greek yogurt mousse — are all served with Japanese finesse. For quick nibbles, the offerings include edamame hummus, mackerel brandade, and wasabi popcorn.

As with all of their projects, co-founders Gildas Loaëc and Masaya Kuroki tapped a collective of New York City friends to contribute, including pâtissier Ayako Kurokawa of Burrow for the classic Café Kitsuné fox- shaped cookies, gourmet pâtisseries and teacakes, Nicholas Morgenstern of his namesake parlor for seasonal ice creams, and Josh Russ Tupper and Niki Russ Felderman for their family’s smoked salmon.

Designed by Kuroki with long-time collaborator TBD Architecture Studio, the team worked with natural materials to create a casual, comfortable atmosphere that evokes a Japanese sensibility. The corner space features a relaxed scheme of soft illumination, wood finishings, honed stone and exposed-brick walls. Distinctive highlights include the dual-level white-oak bar counter, velvet banquettes, XXL mirrors, and seating by Maison Drucker, the oldest workshop of rattan chairs in France. Beyond the café, a reeded glass partition transmits diffused light from the adjacent private showroom, adding depth and a subtle nod to the brand’s fashion influence.

The Café Kitsuné Collection of tableware —porcelain plates, bowls, cups and saucers handcrafted in Limoges, France by La Porcelaine de La Fabrique — ready-to-wear and accessories are available for purchase. And a small épicerie sells the signature coffee beans, homemade granola, and a selection of jams by Brooklyn-based Brins to take away.

Photos by Robert Bredvad