You must solve a cipher to enter this speakeasy-styled restaurant and bar

If NYC’s restaurant reservation-making obstacle course—staking out platforms at midnight a number of days in advance of your desired date; strategically coordinated notification settings; calling on the phone—has simply become too easy to slake your competitive streak, a new spot opening in the East Village might reignite your dining rivalry desires. 

The Office of Mr. Moto, which is scheduled to open on Tuesday, January 24, requires aspiring visitors to decode a cipher to enter seatings at 6pm or 8:30pm (Wednesday-Sunday) for a multi-course, $185 per person edomae-style omakase, limited to 14 people per session. Executive chef Toshio Matsuoka sources seafood from Tokyo’s Toyosu Fish Market. A beverage pairing is also available for $75-$115, if, of course, you can crack the code.

The hospitality professionals behind the same neighborhood’s TabeTomo and Tomokase have created the Mr. Moto character as “a gourmand and art connoisseur, who traveled aboard the USS Susquehanna,” per a press release. Prior to arrival, guess will receive a letter from “Moto” via email that serves as both an invitation, and a challenge. Woven within: clues to a code that will ultimately unlock a Victorian-era mailbox right outside the restaurant, which, when solved, allows entry to the intimate space adorned with an “extensive collection of rare Japanese antiques.” 

At the evening’s conclusion, guests can retire to the adjacent Library bar for further libations. They’ll also receive yet another adventure trinket: a note card printed with a final cipher. This one, once beat, might award a little treat. 

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