Yatai Casual Asian, one of the most innovative restaurants to open on Long Island this year, has closed.
The restaurant at the corner of Second and Main streets in Mineola took its name from “yatai,” the street food of Japan. Alongside Japanese ramen noodles and dumplings, the menu featured casual eats from all over Asia: Vietnamese banh mi, Korean fried chicken, Chinese lo-mein and design-your-own rice bowls. In March, Newsday’s Melissa McCart awarded it two stars.
The little dining room was modest in the extreme — order at the counter, eat off paper plates — but the kitchen featured two heavy-hitting chefs, both veterans of highly regarded Poll brothers restaurants: Tomo Kobayashi, founding executive chef of Manhasset’s Toku Modern Asian Restaurant, and Jeffrey Scala, executive chef at Cipollini Trattoria & Bar. A third partner, Richard Garfinkel, was for many years the CFO of Poll Restaurants.
In June, Kobayashi left the restaurant, saying he’d joined forces with his mentor, celebrated French chef Christian Delouvrier, to open a new restaurant in Manhattan. On Friday Yatai posted on its Facebook page: “Due to circumstances beyond our control we regret to inform you that Yatai will be closed indefinitely from this day forward. We thank our loyal fans for their patronage & support.”