While exploring the famous Tsukiji fish market in Japan, restaurant developers Lee Goldberg and Taylor Levy stumbled upon an unexpected treat: kakigoōri, or “shaved ice.” During the summer in Japan, foodies line up for a refreshing taste of the finely shaved ice crystals—delicate as a flower petal and fluffy in texture—piled high and flavored with syrups and other toppings. One of the country’s best-kept secrets, this delicacy originated in the tenth century when ice caves were discovered in Mount Fuji. Since ice was a luxury at the time, only royalty enjoyed kakigoōri until refrigeration became commonplace.
Determined to introduce local diners to this and other Asian staples, Goldberg and Levy launched Kasai & Koori, which translates to “fire and ice.” The dessert bar’s kakigoōri selections range from authentic renditions (like the matcha and azuki bean Sleeping Dragon) to familiar interpretations (such as the strawberry cheesecake–like Red Fox). Each variation utilizes fresh juices, fruits, herbs, and house-made sauces to create a treat that delivers an avalanche of flavor without weighing you down—in fact, most kakigoōri is vegan. Kasai & Koori also offers bite-size mochi, Taiwanese ribbon ice, and alcohol-spiked ice desserts, as well as fish-shaped taiyaki, available as a savory sandwich, pastry, or ice cream–filled waffle cone.