|Established||1999 (Tokyo), 2007 (Hawaii), 2008 (New York)|
|Current owner(s)||The Matsushita Brothers, Jean-Georges|
|Street address||241 Church Street (at Leonard Street, in Tribeca, in Manhattan (New York)|
|City||Tokyo, Hawaii, New York|
|Country||United States, Japan|
|Website||New York Official site, Tokyo Official site, Japanese only|
Matsugen is the name of several Japanese restaurants owned by the Matsushita brothers located in Tokyo, Hawaii, and New York (at 241 Church Street (at Leonard Street, in Tribeca). The New York Matsugen is co-owned by the Matsushita brothers and Jean-Georges, and received three stars from the New York Times.
The story of Matsugen is the story of the three brothers who created it, the Matsushita brothers. As the sons of restaurateur, Yoshiharu, Masashi, and Takayuki Matsushita experienced hospitality at a young age. Their father opened their first family restaurant, Matsue, in Tokyo, Japan nearly 45 years ago. Specializing in sushi, this restaurant bred the Matsushita Brothers into the business of hospitality, where they discovered their passion to connect to people through food. The success of Matsue created a name for the family, and a platform to explore the restaurant business. In 1980, Yoshi, Masa and Taka went into business with their father and opened multiple restaurants, with the same concept of a simple cuisine that emphasized on the palette. In 1990, they adopted the business as their father retired, giving the opportunity to be more hands on.
Their first Soba restaurant was introduced in 1999. Soba was primarily served casually, in fast-service train stations in Japan. Being that the soba was the favored noodle choice for Tokyoites, the Matsushita Brothers wanted to transcend this traditional dish into a more intimate and upscale atmosphere to cater to the rising restaurant trends of Tokyo. They took their soba family recipe and opened Matsugen.
Today Yoshiharu Matsushita, the eldest of the three Matsushita brothers, resides in Tokyo as the Director of Operations for all restaurants owned by the family. His two younger brothers have both moved to the United States where they supervise Matsugen restaurants in Hawaii and New York respectively. The Matsushita family has 15 bars and restaurants in Tokyo, including Matsugen.
In 2007 the Matsushita brothers opened a new Matsugen in Hawaii. The head soba chef at the Hawaii Matsugen, Shingo Chibana, can be seen making the soba in the middle of the restaurant daily. Masashi Matsushita is based at this restaurant, but visits the New York and Tokyo locations regularly to update menus and work with the kitchen staff.
Matsugen in Hawaii was on the Food and Wine 2008 "Go List".
In 2000, Jean-Georges met with the Matsushita Brothers in Tokyo after dining at Matsugen. This sparked an opportunity to open in New York, where there was a lack of soba-inspired restaurants. Eight years later, in 2008, Matsugen in New York City was opened in partnership with Jean-Georges. Unlike the Matsugen in Tokyo, this Matsugen served more than just soba, bringing their father’s experience in sushi to their own experience in soba. The New York Matsugen also features other traditional Japanese items including Shabu-Shabu and Tsukiyaki.[dead link]
The New York Matsugen took over Jean Georges' 66, a Chinese Restaurant that closed in April 2007. The original space was designed by Richard Meier, with a new interior by Thomas Juul Hansen. While the soba chef is not front and center in the New York Matsugen, the noodles are still made fresh each day and considered the highlight of the restaurants menu.
Takayuki Matsushita, the youngest brother, moved to New York to be the general manager of the New York Matsugen, along with five chefs from Tokyo. The Jean Georges Management Group coordinates all front of the house staff, who are trained in the Jean Georges style. The menu, however, is completely controlled by the Matsushita family, allowing them to maintain true Japanese cuisine.
Time Out New York awarded Matsugen the "Best New Japanese Restaurant" Award for 2009.
Matsugen is now closed.
The name Matsugen uses the first character of the Matsushita family name, matsu 松 followed by the character gen 玄, which is the kind of buckwheat from Hokkaido used by the restaurant to make the soba.
- Bruni, Frank. (2008-08-13) Restaurants – The Fine Art of the Noodle – Review – NYTimes.com. Events.nytimes.com. Retrieved on 2011-04-03.
- 店舗案内 | Pewters Inc. Pewters.co.jp. Retrieved on 2011-04-03.
- Star Bulletin Review
- Honolulu Magazine Review
- [dead link]
- Cheshes, Jay. (2008-08-07) Matsugen – Restaurants + Bars – Time Out New York. Newyork.timeout.com. Retrieved on 2011-04-03.
- Jean Georges' 66 Turning Japanese : Eater NY. Ny.eater.com (2007-04-10). Retrieved on 2011-04-03.
- Matsugen – Tribeca – New York Magazine Restaurant Guide. Nymag.com (2008-06-12). Retrieved on 2011-04-03.
- Thomas Juul Hansen's official website
- Best new Japanese restaurant: Matsugen – Restaurants + Bars – Time Out New York. Newyork.timeout.com (2009-04-09). Retrieved on 2011-04-03.
- The Official Website of the New York Matsugen
- The official website of Matsugen, Japanese only
- Jean-Georges' Blog