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Sushi Azabu is a strange place as it is located in the basement of the Greenwich Grill, both of which are owned by the same people. Greenwich Grill is an Italian restaurant, but has a Japanese twist since it is owned by Japanese people. They are located on a very quiet and residential part of Greenwich Street in Tribeca. It feels odd when you walk in because you have to walk through Greenwich Grill, which is a modern, but nice looking restaurant, down a dark staircase which takes you into a dark basement. The sushi bar is located in the basement. The sushi bar has a nice minimalist light wood exterior with a long banner at the back with a fish logo on it. There are also 3 or 4 booths to sit in as well.
I’ve been coming here as a 3rd option to my go to sushi places of Yasuda and 15 East when I decide to switch it up. There are always two sushi chefs, both of whom are quite nice, but their English is not very good. The service is attentive and nice, but they sometimes stumble over each other as they have microphone headsets and message to one another, but I think a lot of things get lost in that system as there are too many waiters.
This time we got the omakase because a friend was in town. I normally get the sushi dinner as it is the roughly the equivalent of the sushi omakase at Yasuda and 15 East. However, I think the omakase was a mistake because it was too much food and I prefer more sushi as opposed to getting a lot of non-sushi dishes which they give you. I also brought someone with very little “real” sushi eating experience (think spicy tuna roll type experience) and I think I scared the crap out of him because a lot of it was not plain jane tuna type of stuff, I may have forever turned him off to sushi…oh well.
- Renkon (Lotus Root): This was sliced renkon that had been cooked in a sauce that had soy sauce and mirin (sweet rice wine) in it. This was excellent; the sweetness of the sauce went really well with the renkon that was perfectly cooked. The renkon still had a bit of crisp to it, but was not overcooked either. 4.5/5
- Kaki (Giant Oyster): This was kaki from Washington State. This is one of the largest oysters I’ve ever seen. It’s actually cut into 10 pieces when you get it because it is so big. It’s covered in ponzu sauce with minced pickled daikon and scallions on top. I thought it was pretty good, but I think some people would be turned off by it since I don’t think a lot of people know what oysters actually taste like because they douse them with cocktail or other types of sauces. Even the best oysters have a certain seafood flavor to them that I find a lot of Americans tend to not like and bigger oysters like these tend to have a bit of a stronger flavor to them. I ended up eating my friend’s because he was too scared to eat it. That said these are good and clean tasting, but not amazing. 3.75/5
- Sashimi Plate: The sashimi plate consisted of Aji (Horse Mackerel) from Japan, Otoro (fattiest part of the tuna belly), Buri (Japanese Amberjack) from Japan and Mirugai (Geoduck). Otoro: very buttery and good. 4.25/5; Aji: I love horse mackerel and it was good here, for those who don’t know horse mackerel is much less fishy than regular mackerel. 4.25/5; Buri: I didn’t love the buri, it had a decent flavor though. 3.75/5; Mirugai: I don’t love mirugai as I find it a bit on the bland side. 3.75/5
- Uni (Sea Urchin): This was uni from Maine. This was excellent, clean and briny flavor. You could really taste the flavor as it was served plain; I ended up eating my friend’s because he was too scared to eat it. 4.25/5
- Cooked Buri (Japanese Amberjack): This was really good, it was cooked buri in a light soy sauce that I believe may have had some mirin in it because it was slightly sweet topped with scallions and grated daikon. The buri tasted pretty buttery and it was just a really good dish. 4.5/5
- Chawan Mushi (Savory Egg Custard): This is a savory egg custard with shrimp, mushroom, edamame (soy bean) and chicken in it. The version here was pretty good. 4/5
- Salmon With Cucumber: This was cooked salmon with ikura (salmon egg) and a cucumber puree over it. It was pretty good, but not amazing. 3.75/5
- Otoro (Fattiest part of the tuna belly): This was otoro from Carolina (not sure which one). This was very good, super buttery and tender. The sushi rice is also quite good here. 4.5/5
- Shima Aji (Horse Mackerel): This was from Japan. It was a good clean tasting piece of fish. 4/5
Katsuo (Skipjack Tuna): This was from Japan. This was topped with a little horse radish and scallion. It was a bit fishier tasting, but in a good way. 4/5
- Botan Ebi (Sweet Shrimp): This was pretty good, the shrimp was sweet and tasted very fresh. 4/5
Sanma (Pacific Saury): This was very good, it was topped with horse radish and scallions. The fish had an excellent flavor. 4.25/5
- Tako (Octopus): this was surprisingly good tako, I don’t really like tako sushi generally because it’s pretty bland tasting, but the texture here was excellent as it was quite tender. 4.25/5
- Uni: The chef knew I like uni sushi so I got another round of the uni from Maine. 4.25/5
Ikura (Salmon Eggs): Pretty standard, but good quality ikura. 4/5
- Anago (Sea Eel): Anago is conger eel, the version here is good, but not nearly as good as Yasuda. 4/5
- Kampyo (gourd): Kampyo is a type of gourd that I believe has been pickled. It’s fairly sweet, it was good here, but it almost always tastes the same anywhere where it is made reasonably fresh. 3.75/5
- Kani Miso Soup (Crab Miso Soup): I didn’t like the version here that much, the soup was fine, but I don’t think it was nearly as good as the version at Nippon in midtown. 3.75/5
Overall, I liked it, but I’d stick with just getting the sushi dinner as opposed to the omakase as the omakase is too much food and I prefer their sushi to their non-sushi dishes. I would recommend coming here though for sushi.
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