I ate at Ginger last night, the little sushi restaurant in the East Village that has garnered substantial discussion on this board, most of it flattering.
First a disclaimer: I by no means sampled the entire menu. However, I'll submit that a taster can tell an awful lot about the overall quality of a sushi bar by the quality of the tuna sashimi. The quality at Ginger is fair at best. The pieces were generous and fresh, but slightly under temperature and nearly flavorless. A brush of wasabi did little to improve the taste as it was nearly flavorless as well.
To this diner Ginger is a solid rolls joint, slightly better than the other comparable places in the EV. It does boast a friendlier staff, and a more food driven personality than many of the many competing sushi bars (you aren't overwhelmed with the "they want sushi this year, we'll give them sushi" vibe that permeates too many places to count.
But Ginger is not in the class of Tomoe or Yama or Iso nearby, and to compare it to Jewel Bako on any terms is in my opinion downright irresponsible. After JB's vertical tasting of tuna, toro, o-toro, and super o-toro (if you believe in super o-toro), the thought of following it up with a Lucky roll seems more than a little ridiculous. This comparison doesn't take into account serene decor, loving sake selection, superior service, etc. Jewel Bako is a superlative restaurant.
Don't get me wrong, maki is a fun way to eat rice and fish (or maybe a fun vehicle for sopping soy sauce?), and there is plenty of room for places like Ginger. I like interesting rolls and I like crunchy, and will probably trek from Chelsea on a somewhat regular basis.
But a serious restaurant, even a serious sushi bar? Ginger is unfortunately not.