Big in Japan: Williamsburg foodie dishes up sumo screening party

Grounded: Watch sumo matches like this one at Brooklyn Kitchen on May 16.
Associated Press / Kyodo News

It is a sumo sampler!

A Williamsburg kitchenware store and cooking school will bring a taste of the traditional Japanese sport to Brooklyn with a sumo-themed party on May 16, where it will project the latest wrestling matches from Tokyo onto a six-foot screen while guests chow down on Japanese food and booze. It is an event you won’t find at any of the borough’s sports bars, said an organizer.

“There’s no other place in Brooklyn to have this experience,” said Harry Rosenblum, co-founder of Brooklyn Kitchen.

The Williamsburg resident said he created the event after a friend fell in love with the sport while traveling in Japan, and decided to bring it back home with him to New York.

“He ended up going to a sumo match, and he came back raving about it,” said Rosenblum. “He said, ‘Nobody knows anything about sumo in New York — let’s do something about that!’ ”

In a sumo wrestling match, two colossal combatants try to knock each other off their feet or out of the ring. Each bout lasts only a few minutes, but there can be as many as 20 matches on each day of a two-week tournament. Brooklyn Kitchen won’t show the events live, because of the 13-hour time difference from Tokyo, but Rosenblum said he will feature the most exciting of the day’s throw-downs at the three-hour sumo party.

And he said he still hopes to recreate the feeling of attending the tournament in a real sumo stadium. Each spectator will get a traditional bento box with rice, meat, and pickles, along with plenty of Orion beer, cold sake, and Nikka premium Japanese whiskey.

“We’ll be eating, drinking, and watching sumo,” said Rosenblum.

Rosenblum will also be serving chankonabe, a hearty stew he says sumo wrestlers eat to help them put on weight. On the day of a match, the gargantuan grapplers nosh on a version made with poultry because the wrestlers must always be on two legs, like a chicken, he said.

Saturday’s event is designed to whet Brooklynites’ appetites for more, Rosenblum said. If it goes well, Brooklyn Kitchen will host another party when the next of the six annual tournaments happens in July. Rosenblum said he isn’t sure how many sumo fans there are in Brooklyn — yet — but he plans to change that.

“We hope to find them — or make them!” he said.

Stocked and ready: Brooklyn Kitchen co-owner Harry Rosenblum plans to put his store’s ample supply of Japanese products to good use at his sumo party on May 16.
Photo by Sara Hylton

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