A First Look at Mr. Jones, the Yakitori-Meets-Speakeasy in the East Village

By
Photo: Melissa Hom

We’ve surveyed the new yakitori grills at Daruma and Izakaya Ten, but the most notable newcomer, Mr. Jones, has somehow flown under the radar for about a month despite its distinguished owner (Lesley Bernard of Tillman’s) and first-rate mixologist (Shin Ikeda of Angel’s Share and, more recently, B Flat). The place was even hidden behind plywood for half that month (Bernard is still putting on the finishing touches), but after paying a visit, we can tell you Mr. Jones will make you forgive and forget any association with the Counting Crows song.

Like Tillman’s, it boasts a bright, warm, mod-influenced vibe that’s the antithesis of the East Village dives around it. There are also surprises on the yakitori menu designed by chef Bryan Emperor, one of the rare American chefs who can claim to have staged in Kyoto (locally, he has put in time at Megu and Nobu). His skewered chicken livers are among the most tender we can remember tasting in a New York yakitori, and if you can overcome the gimmicky nature of foie-stuffed Kobe meatballs, you’ll be rewarded. Don’t be surprised that Emperor is a bit Wagyu-happy — before he became a chef, dude worked the Japan desk at Lehman Brothers. Finally, the drinks, starting with an utterly perfect Moscow Mule, are as meticulously prepared as you’d expect from B Flat protégés. Final verdict: This place is Bob Dylan “Mr. Jones,” not Counting Crows “Mr. Jones.”

Cocktails - $12
Mr. Jones – Wasabi infused vodka & zuicho sake with cucumber
Jones’ Sour – Iichiko, calpico, lime juice, and a splash of soda
Moment’s Notice – Junmai sake, plum wine, peach liqueur, garnished with yamamomo
Moscow Mule – vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer
Aviation – Gin, lemon juice, and marschino
French 75 – Gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and champagne
Parisian – gin, cassis, and dry vermouth
El Diablo – tequila lime juice, cassis, and ginger ale
Dark and Stormy – black rum, ginger beer, and lime
Old-fashioned – rye whiskey, sugar cube, and orange bitters
Sidecar – cognac, lemon juice, and cointreau
Pimm’s Cup – pimm’s, lime, and seven up
Champagne cocktail ($14) – champagne, sugar cube, and bitters

GOHAN NO MONO (Rice Dishes)
KOSHIHIKARI (Premium Japanese Short Grain Rice from the Niigata Prefecture) - $4
SHOYU TRUFFLE BUTTER (Koshihikari Simmered in Special Soy Mushroom Moriawase) - $9
ONIGIRI (Japanese Rice Balls Individually Filled with Mentaiko and Sour Plum) - $8

SUIMONO (Soup)
AKA DASHI MISO (soup with Kaiseki Miso, Tofu and Nameko Mushrooms) - $4
KIMCHEE TOFU JIGE (Spicy Korean Style Soup Simmering Tableside in an Iron Pot) - $12
CHICKEN UDON - $12

ZENSAI (Hors D’oeuvres)
EDAMAME (Simmered Soybeans with Sea Salt) - $5
MIZUNA SALAD (Mizuna, Red Onion and Pine Nuts with Goma Shoyu Dressing) - $8
DAIKON SALAD (Pickled Daikon Radish with Chilies and Black Sesame Seed) - $5
KYURI NAMUL (Vinegared Japanese Cucumber with Minced Garlic) - $5
TORI TATSUTA AGE (Japanese Style Chicken Wings with Daikon Sauce) - $9

TORINIKU (Free Range “Chicken of the Earth")
YAKITORI (Chicken with Mikado Teriyaki Sauce) - $8
KARAI HONEY (Chicken with Seven Spiced Honey) - $8
UME SHISO (Chicken with Shiso and Sour Plum) - $8
KARA YUZU (Chicken with Spicy Yuzu Sauce) - $8
TSUKUNE UZURA (Minced Chicken with Shichimi and Quail Egg) - $5
TSUKUNE UME SHISO (Minced Chicken with Shiso and Sour Plum Sauce) - $5
REBA (Chicken Liver in Yakitori Sauce) - $5
HATSU (Chicken Hearts in Yakitori Sauce) - $3

STEAK (Premium Kobe Style Beef)
WAGYU NEGIMA (Thinly Shaved Premium Wagyu Rib Eye Wrapped around Green Onion and Served with Mikado Teriyaki Sauce) - $25
KALBI (Specially Marinated Wagyu Short Rib with Kochujiang Sauce and Sesame) - $8
HARAMI WASABI (Wagyu Harami with Fresh Wasabi) - $8
HARAMI MISO (Wagyu Harami with Specially Blended Miso Sauce) - $8
HARAMI GOMA SHICHIMI (Wagyu Harami with Black Sesame and Seven Spices) - $8
HARAMI GARLIC (Wagyu Harami with Garlic) - $8

BUTANIKU (Pork)
B.L.T. (Peppered Bacon Wrapped Cherry Tomato with Bibb Lettuce and Japanese Mayonnaise) - $5
TON TORO LEMON SHIO (100% Berkshire Black Hog Belly with Lemon and Mongolian Mountain Salt) - $5
TON TORO WASABI SHISO (100% Berkshire Black Hog Belly with Fresh Wasabi and Shiso) - $5

OSUSUME (Recommendations of the Chef)
KOBE MEATBALLS (with Foie Gras Center) - $16
IKA TENPURA (Calamari with Kochujiang Cream Reduction) - $15
CHUKA LAMB CHOPS (Shinjiang Style with Cumin and Dried Chili) - $18
SAKURA SMOKED DUCK (Japanese Cherry Wood Smoked Duck Breast) - $6

SONO TA (Additional Items)
SHITAKE SAKE SHIO (Shitake Mushroom Skewer Steamed with Sake and Mongolian Mountain Salt) - $6
AGE TOFU MISO TARE (Gently Fried Tofu with Miso Sauce) - $4
VEGETABLE TEMPURA (Kakiage Style with Mongolian Mountain Salt and Lemon) - $10

Mr. Jones, 243 E. 14th St., nr. Second Ave.; 212-253-7670; mrjonesnyc.com