Last night my boyfriend & I went to Jewel Bako for his birthday. With the caveat that I've had very limited experience with high-end sushi, I'd have to say this was one of the best meals I've ever had.
We were greeted warmly by hipster-owner Jack Lamb & his Kramer-like hair. In the main room, cozy on a rainy night, diners are sheltered beneath curved wood beams -- reminiscient of the belly of a whale. We opted for the omakase and ordered a bottle of dry sake.
The service throughout the meal was excellent, beginning with Jack's greeting and hot towels. I believe his wife, Grace, was our main server, and she patiently explained each item as it arrived.
On to the most important part: the food.
1 - Tiny cube of black sesame tofu. Very creamy consistency with rich yet subtle sesame taste.
2 - Steamed, salted edamame.
3 - Large square plate with four tastes: Toro tartare topped with caviar; grilled yellowfin with caramelized onions; octopus with sea salt; and most indulgently, monkfish liver -- like fois gras from the sea.
4 - Sashimi. I'm not sure what all of it was, but the toro was meltingly delicious. I also tried giant clam for the first time. Fun and crunchy.
5 - A paper packet of steamed Japanese mushrooms, opened for us by the servers to reveal shitake and enoki, among others. Alongside, a whole fried prawn.
6 - The main sushi course, with probably 10-12 pieces. Again, not sure what was included, but I know there were several kinds of tuna, plus yellowtail, salmon, tiny shrimp (20-30 on one piece), eel, jackfish. Very fresh.
7 - Dessert. One small green tea cake, one small scoop of lychee/coconut sorbet (amazing), one small chocolate mousse.
The restaurant wasn't crowded on a rainy Monday night, but it still had a festive feel. (Of course, I could be biased since we were celebrating). I'd highly recommend it.
And I have to mention a P.S. Afterwards, somehow my boyfriend managed to eat a chocolate birthday cupcake from the recently-opened vegan bakery, Babycakes, on the LES. Really rich icing & crumbly/dry but yummy cake. (Ok, so I tasted it too).