Executive Chef Brian Tsao brings a unique set of skills to the kitchen at Kimoto with an eclectic menu of American favorites interpreted through an Asian lens designed to complement the restaurant’s selection of Asian and American craft beers. With a Chinese-Korean background, American upbringing and education at the Culinary Institute of America, Brian seamlessly melds influences from the U.S., China, Korea, Malaysia and Japan into an adventurous, delicious menu. His mission as a chef is to “remove the stereotypes of Asian cuisine, make good, interesting but still authentic food and keep things approachable.”
Before finding his way into the kitchen, Brian found himself in China at age fifteen without knowing the language. (Brian’s father is Chinese, his mother Korean and he was born in Queens.) It took him a few years to learn Chinese but eventually he became the guitarist of China’s first touring thrashcore band, which allowed him to travel the country and learn about the cuisine of each region and their specialties such as Beijing’s dumplings, Guang Dong’s roast goose with plum sauce, Xin Jiang’s lamb kabobs, and more. He returned to the U.S. and learned the art of baking before studying at CIA and joining the kitchen of Telepan. Fusing Japanese and American cooking traditions, he created a unique menu for the opening of Mira Sushi & Izakaya in 2013. For Kimoto, he brings a menu of playful riffs on comfort foods and Asian cooking to NYC’s first Asian rooftop beer garden.
Brian has appeared on Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay,” where he defeated Flay in a battle for taco supremacy with his signature Beef Bulgogi Tacos. His other television appearances include Chopped, Fox 5 Good Day New York, Potluck/WNYC and CBS. He has been a featured chef at the New York City Wine & Food Festival, Mutual Trading Japanese Food & Restaurant Show, International Restaurant and Foodservice Show, the James Beard Foundation and Taste Asia, cooking his dish in the heart of Times Square for an audience of thousands. He also continues to play music as lead guitarist and vocalist of the Chef Brian Tsao Band.