Was at Yasuda a couple of weeks back. It was my best Yasuda experience so far (and also @ $130pp all in my most expensive one so far). Mixed sushi/sashimi omakase and once again the instant comparative between the same fish or fish varietal from different waters/parts of the world was a supreme eating experience and is what really marks Yasuda out from the competition.
Sushi Seki. Was there early evening a couple of Saturdays back and did a mini omakase not with Seki but with one of the other chefs. I just have a sense that Seki is down a notch or two from my earlier experiences but it's still high grade and a good bet when you want top quality fish but with a twist when compared to Yasuda or Ushi.
Ichimura. Has been on my wishlist for a while finally made it there earlier this week. Quite strange reservation experience over the phone when they made a point of telling me (pretty abruptly) that they don't serve California rolls and the like and that there is a minimum spend of $30 per person. Nevertheless I persevered and had a very enjoyable $70 sushi omakase comprising 12 pieces of nigiri and a tuna roll as well as a tasty marinated lotus root appetiser. Highlights were the two premium tuna nigiri pieces - one was traditional tuna belly (o-toro), the other a cut from the fleshy part of the neck, both oishi-ne. Had a sense that it was maybe a little overpriced but on reflection maybe not, will certainly add this place to the rotation.
Sushi Sennin (midtown). Disappointing, I wouldn't recommend this place and it's expensive to boot. The novelty item I ordered (spicy salmon carpaccio = slivers of salmon sashimi topped w/ spicy sauces and fried panko) was pretty tasty but ultimately there were too many competing flavours and the fish was overwhelmed ($24 for this btw, not cheap). Nigiri sushi selection was very humdrum - size over quality, I've had much better fish in many other places in NYC. No Japanese customers in sight, lots of corporate expense accounts, slightly themed feel, says it all really.
My current ranking 1. Yasuda; 2. Ushi Wak; 3.= Seki and Ichimura. I'm being encouraged to check out Masa but I don't think so, just can't justify the spend (and Bar Masa was a major letdown last year). Maybe Urasawa in LA when I'm next over there.
Was last at Kanoyama early Feb. I've always eaten really well there and for the first time I perched at the sushi counter and had the sushi omakase platter. I love some of the more esoteric fish selections that they have (and which you can't find anywhere else) and at $30 for the platter (8 pieces of nigiri and a roll) it's great value. Next time I'll do piece by piece though.
Lan. I've always liked this place both for cooked food (well documented) as well as sushi (less heralded). I also like the funkier vibe and, like Seki, it's another place that stays open late (2am). Anyway I was delighted to be re-acquainted with one of the sushi chefs who used to work at Ushi Wak and who I have a good rapport with and I had a mini-omakase based off the specials list. Worth knowing that on Monday evenings they do 50% off on all their sakes and they have an impressive list of sakes including namazakes (seasonal releases).
Ise (Pine St). I posted separately a few days ago. I think that this is probably the best value-for-money omakase you can do in the city. Fish quality is great, prices are very reasonable, chef is a character and it's one of the few restaurants I know where you are never hurried, very un-New York in that sense.
Aki. I finally revisited a couple of Sundays back after having very much enjoyed my 1st visit there last year. Sushi but with a Caribbean twist courtesy of a stint that chef Siggy (who resembles a James Bond villain!) had working for the Japanese ambassador in Jamaica in the 90s. By chance we stumbled across a happy hour (6-7pm) 4 course prix fixe for $28. Great value and fine food, the eel napoleon stood out as I remember it with the chirashi not far behind. Romantic setting, would be a good and offbeat place for a date.
Hasaki. Was there last Sunday, again it's a place that has never let me down, a great standby. Always plenty of Japanese customers, a good sign. Very charming and gracious chef. Another great deal $16 sashimi lunch special (less 10% as a result of Japanese restaurant week) and I also ordered a special of aji tataki and was out of there for around $30 which is great considering the quality.
Next up in the rotations: Sachiko, Inagiku, Lure, Ushi Wak, Shimizu.
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