i'm a relatively new reader/poster to chowhound and i didn't read back that far to see if what other chowhounds have said about jewel bako, but i was there this saturday, and wow, what an excellent meal!
we were warmly welcomed by the owners, jack and grace lamb, and seated at the sushi bar, which only holds seven. service was practically flawless from beginning to end, jack was very attentive to all our needs as were the other waiters.
the sake list is not extensive but they carry one of my favorite sakes, the Minowamon (although at $26 a glass it was too expensive for us last night..., try it at Denial, on Grand St in Soho). There were 2 choices in the 300 ml size of sake, and we chose an unfiltered one which was very delicious.
We were able to place all our orders directly with the chef which is great - at some places I've been to even when you sit at the sushi bar you have to order from the waitress, which i've never understood.
i have not been to any sushi restaurant in NY where the food is so delicately and beautifully prepared for that price. they definitely treat the fish with a near reverence here. they have a very good selection of fish with some exotic choices/specials that I have not tried before. Needlefish (sayori) in particular is one of the new items i tried and loved. They also had trigger fish (although the chef recommended a different fish with a redskin and very pink meat to us [i couldn't catch the name b/c of his accent] instead of the trigger).
The chef was really accomodating too - I asked for a special preparation of bonito and sardine sashimi which I had tried and adored in Vancouver (which was not on the menu), but they didn't have either of the fish in stock, so he suggested we try it with the fluke and it was absolutely delicious.
other must-trys are the o-toro (melt in your mouth and just the right amount of fattiness) and the botan ebi (jumbo sweet shrimp). i didn't get to try the uni, which is usually a good test for me, as they had already run out. :(
I guess because I requested this preparation they thought of us as being very sophisticated eaters... heehee... so when we ordered our desserts they gave us this amazing plum sake on the house. I'd never tried plum sake before but it's much lovelier than plum wine. the plum flavor is much subtler but enhances the sake beautifully. If they have the green apple sorbet when you go, definitely order that, and try the california mission figs as well, the tanginess of the figs in the wine sauce with cream cleans your palate after sashimi really well.
this is definitely one place i'll be back to... although after all this lavish praise, i can't say i'd be back anytime soon because this freshness and quality and service doesn't come cheap. although eric asimov reviewed in the $25 and under section in the times, if you really want to eat, be prepared to spend about $60 - $80... or more. we spent like $89 each... but very well spent!
would love to know what other chowhounds thought of jewel bako.
- mikomiao (i've also posted using tania before...)