I want to share a wonderful meal that I enjoyed last night at Aki Sushi on West 4th. I don't fancy myself a food critic or a writer, so its going to be a no-frills review.
Aki is a tiny restaurant (about 15 seats) that is owned by a sushi chef who worked for the Japanese ambassador in Jamaica. There are very traditional sushi dishes, but many of the dishes have a Carribean influence (use coconut, mango, banana, etc). There are three tasting menus that include either 2, 3, or 4 appetizers, chef's choice sushi/sashimi entree and dessert ($35, $45, $55, respectivly).
First, we were brought a seaweed salad that was made with a tangy vinegar dressing and cucumber, which was very refreshing. Next, I had a "Montauk salad" which included a generous serving of mixed sashimi on mixed greens with a light vinagrette. A nice surprise was the fresh basil in the mixed greens- it accented the dressing and added a nice flavor to the dish. My favorite course was next- a layered dish of tuna, fugi apple and avocado. Next, we recieved a soup with a rice paper dumpling that was filled with chestnut, gingko nut and various mushrooms.
My fiancee also had a dish unlike anything we've ever seen- it was scallops and umi layered in a custard dish with fresh coconut cream. An unusual combination, but it tasted amazing.
For the main course, we shared a plate of sushi, sashimi that included toro, yellowtail, baby yellowtail, salmon, white tuna, a roll with eel and a roll with spicy tuna and banana tempura.
For dessert we had green tea tiramisu, which wasn't too sweet and a perfect, light end to a long meal.
The best thing about Aki is the quality of the sushi- everything was perfectly fresh and artfully arranged. Its a very casual atmosphere (jeans and T-shirts), but the service is anything but casual.
I have never been to Nobu, so I can't compare the food, but this is, BY FAR, the best sushi I've had in the city at very reasonable prices.