KITANO NEW YORK’S HAKUBAI RESTAURANT INVITES PATRONS TO EXPERIENCE THE JAPANESE NEW YEAR’S CULINARY TRADITION OF OSECHI TO ENSURE GOOD HEALTH, FERTILITY AND HARVEST FOR THE YEAR TO COME

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-The distinctive meal served in a traditional format celebrates 2010’s arrival on January 1-2 at one of the country’s most authentic Japanese restaurants-

As 2010 approaches, many cultures will celebrate the New Year with age-old culinary traditions. From pickled herring in Poland and pork and sauerkraut in Germany to black-eyed peas and cornbread in the Southern U.S., many cultures believe that a prosperous New Year starts with special dining customs. The Japanese also strive to achieve a well-balanced way of living in the New Year by obtaining good health, fertility, a good harvest and a long life. To ensure these blessings in the coming year the Japanese partake in a special New Year’s Day meal called, Osechi. On January 1-2, 2010, New York City’s first and only Japanese hotel, The Kitano New York, will offer a traditional Osechi meal for lunch and dinner at its Michelin-rated Hakubai Restaurant. The lunch selection is available for $90 per person and the dinner menu is available for $115 per person. Reservations will be accepted from December 1-31, 2009 and can be made by calling (212) 885-7111.

Traditionally, since the Edo Period, often referred to as the beginning of the early modern period in Japan, the Japanese enjoy a seven-course meal for New Year’s Day dinner. This distinctive meal consists of a variety of dishes, each having their own significant meaning to wish diners good health, fertility, a good harvest, happiness or a long life. Osechi, which means “year-crossing soba,” is usually served in colorful lacquer boxes called jubako.

For New Year’s Day early risers, Hakubai Restaurant will feature an Osechi lunch from 9-11 a.m. (on January 1, 2010 only). In addition, the restaurant will also offer its lunch course at 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and 1:30-3 p.m. on January 1-2, 2010.  The six-course meal will begin with Nasuma, an appetizer comprised of marinated daikon and carrots in rice vinegar with jelly fish, crab meat, sesame, mitsuba leaf and seaweed.  Guests will then enjoy a selection of Japanese hors d’oeuvres followed by a simmered dish, rice dish, soup and a delectable special New Year’s Day dessert. 

For the traditional seven-course Osechi dining experience, guests can also enjoy cuisine from Hakubai’s dinner menu, available from 6-7:30 p.m. and 8-9:30 p.m. on January 1-2, 2010. Similar to the brunch menu, dinner will commence with an appetizer and Japanese hors d’oeuvres such as Yellowtail Teriyaki and Marinated Herring Roe. Following the hors d’oeuvres selection, Hakubai will present an array of Sashimi. Next on the menu is a simmered dish of yams, koya tofu, daikon, carrots, burdock, konnyaku-potatoes and snow peas, which is followed by a rice dish featuring Sekihan, steamed rice with red bean and pickles. Guests will then conclude their meal with Clear Soup, composed of grilled rice cake, grilled chicken, vegetables and Japanese herb, and a special New Year’s Day dessert. To ensure the highest quality of cuisine, the menu may change to reflect availability of the freshest ingredients.

Guests are also invited to celebrate the New Year during the Kitano New York’s New Year’s Eve Celebration. This year, the hotel has expanded their annual celebration to highlight two of the city’s most prolific jazz acts. On December 31, 2009 from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day, The Kitano New York will host Nilson Matta’s Brazilian Voyage Band in the Bar Lounge and The Gene Bertoncini Trio in the hotel’s Garden Café. Event tickets are available for $75 per person and require a $20 food & beverage minimum purchase. A midnight Champagne toast and party favors are included in the ticket price. As space is limited, reservations are required and can be made by calling (212) 885-7119.

The Kitano features traditional East and West services and amenities that are unmatched anywhere in the world.  Asian hospitality merges seamlessly with New York style for an ambience that is pure Kitano.  Awarded the AAA Four-Diamond rating, The Kitano New York is distinguished by a contemporary interior that is both elegant and supremely comfortable.  The newly-refurbished guestrooms feature custom-made mahogany and cherry furniture, down comforters, exquisite artwork and Roman pleated shades with windows that open to views of the historic Murray Hill, Grand Central Terminal, the Empire State Building and other New York landmarks. The renovation was designed to bring the same sense of serenity combined with the maximum level of comfort and service for which the hotel is known to the guestrooms. The hotel is also home to the Michelin-rated Hakubai, which serves traditional Japanese Kaiseki delicacies. For hotel reservations, visit www.kitano.com or call 212-885-7000.

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Please note that both Osechi brunch and dinner will require a reservation. Reservations will not be accepted after Osechi is sold out.  Osechi will be available for dine-in only. No take-out orders will be accepted. Book early as reservations are limited.  For reservations, please contact Hakubai at (212) 885-7111 or hakubai@kitano.co.jp.

For more information on the New Year’s Eve celebration at The Kitano’s Bar Lounge, please call 212.885.7119, fax 212.885.7022, e-mail jazz@kitano.com or log onto www.kitano.com.

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The Kitano New York opened its doors in 1973 as New York’s first Japanese hotel. Thirty-six years later it remains the first and only Japanese owned hotel and has become an integral part of one of Manhattan’s historic neighborhoods, Murray Hill.  Located on fashionable Park Avenue at 38th Street, the 18-story hotel towers over some of New York City’s most magnificent turn-of-the-century dwellings, offering spectacular views of some of city landmarks. The hotel features 149 guestrooms, including 17 contemporary suites and a one-of-a-kind Japanese Tatami Suite.  The Kitano New York is home to the critically acclaimed Michelin-rated Hakubai Restaurant where traditional Kaiseki delicacies are served. The Kitano New York is also home to live Jazz music featuring live performances by legendary Jazz musicians who descend upon the hotel’s bar lounge weekly to perform classic and contemporary Jazz music.  The Kitano New York is a member of Summit Hotels & Resorts, a consortium of deluxe hotels worldwide.  For more information, contact The Kitano New York at 212-885-7000, 1-800-548-2666 or log onto www.kitano.com.

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