words by LINDA SCHREITER

New York City – Michelin-starred Chef Hiroki Odo found a way to merge his passion for art and culinary experiences in one spot: THE GALLERY. Located in the historic Flatiron district in the heart of Manhatten, THE GALLERY is not only feeding the hungry eyes of art lovers but also their bellies with an exquisite seasonal menu. Timotej Letonja, our editor-in-chief, had the pleasure to experience the magic of THE GALLERY.

But who is Hiroki Odo?
The Michelin-starred chef was born and culinary trained in the traditional art of Kaiseki in Japan before coming to New York City to take on the position of executive chef of the Michelin-starred restaurant Kajitsu. In 2018, Odo launched his own restaurant business in the city that never sleeps. His own Kaiseki restaurant o.d.o., which got Michelin starred 3 years in a row (2020-2022). After this success, he expanded his business with a cafe and bar HALL. 

“This journey has been an incredibly fulfilling one for the odo team. We could never have imagined that we would receive accolades from publications such as The New York Times and Michelin. These awards and amazing reviews have inspired us to strive and work even harder to ensure that the dining experience is a memorable and immersive one for our guests. We want to deliver not only a warm and welcoming experience but also showcase seasonal cuisine that features the very best ingredients and our creativity”

Hiroki Odo

In 2021, Hiroki Odo decided to marry his profession as a cook with his passion for art with founding a new place: THE GALLERY. An arts and cultural space where Odo can not only explore his talent for creative cuisine and food styling but also prove himself as a gallerist. The temporary exhibitions hosted at the venue are in collaboration with emerging artists who are interested in exploring innovative ideas through art.
The place is not only a place for mixed media art but also interior design, product creation and community building.
THE GALLERY offers a lunch and dinner menu that is seasonally curated and highlights the artistic side of Japan’s long-established traditions.

The Gallery is a life-long dream of mine. I believe art and food exists side by side and both when infused with creativity and passion can change people’s lives. We’re working alongside remarkable artists to share their vision with New Yorkers and we hope we can contribute to educating visitors to The Gallery and introducing them to new, exciting art and artists”

Hiroki Odo

At the time, our editor-in-chief Timotej Letonja, had the chance to visit THE GALLERY, the exhibition Tokyo Elegy by the artist Nobuyoshi Araki. The tribute to the iconic avant-garde street photographer featured 15 pieces from different series, including some from “Tokyo Comedy”, “Colourscapes” and “Kaori Love”. The photographic storytelling of Araki held Tomotej Letonja absolutely captivatded, while he was enjoying the modern Japanese food. 
The conceptual experience felt intimate to Timotej and allowed him to not only enjoy the cuisine but also let him fully absorb the art around him.

“We’re very excited about the path that the odo and The Gallery team is taking. We’re very thankful for our business partners including the late, legendary Mr. Ryuichi Sakamoto who had the vision and belief in us. We hope we can continue to make the Sakamoto family proud”

Hiroki Odo

Hiroki Odo has the dream that THE GALLERY will develop further into a space that can take a stand in the highly competitive art and culture scene of New York. He wants that the surprising menus (at THE GALLERY and his restaurant o.d.o.) and temporary exhibitions will keep the place fresh for visitors and establish a respectable platform in the industry. With the concept of ever-changing menus and displayed art, Hioki Odo found a way to create momentum in time and composition. It allows visitors to return to always have a new experience at THE GALLERY.