Chef Paul Qui's restaurant replacement for his flagship spot, Kuneho, debuts tonight after a delayed opening. He, along with chef de cuisine Mia Li, sought out to create Japanese bites, sushi, deep-fried items, and more. The name stems from his old signature dish Rabbit 7 Ways, though it doesn’t appear on the menu.
Chef Qui made the decision to shut down the restaurant for this reinvention, after his March arrest on charges of assault against his girlfriend and subsequent time at a treatment facility. The restaurant shuttered in November.
Eater took a tour of the East 6th Street restaurant to see how Qui transformed into Kuneho. It’s all in the details, like the now-black ceiling which creates a more intimate space, an open wall with various knickknacks including glassware and a stuffed rabbit toy meant to separate the sushi bar from the dining room, wooden tables fashioned by a staffer from a single tree, and a sleek white sushi bar.
More changes include opening up the former tasting room, but all of its accoutrement remain. That includes the shelves of cooking-oriented books and the tables displaying Qui the restaurant’s design plans. Minor alterations to the bar, now known as The Borough, included a fresh coat of white paint. This is general manager and beverage director Andrew Grenz's domain, where he will mix up cocktails and pour out sake, wine, and beer.
Kuneho held limited preview dinners last week, as well as a New Year’s Eve party. The restaurant will be open from 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.