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Manhattan Sushi

Reviews- Sushi Yasuda, Per Se, Nobu 57, BLT Fish & Bar Masa


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Reviews- Sushi Yasuda, Per Se, Nobu 57, BLT Fish & Bar Masa

Chico | Dec 14, 2005 11:29 AM

-Sushi Yasuda

I still firmly believe that Yasuda is the master. When he first opened I used to frequent 4-5 times a year- now that I am older and slightly more mature I have cut down on my splurges (I got lucky these past 3 months) but still try to get there at least once a year.

Sitting in front of Yasuda-san is always an experience. Last night topics ranged from WWF “Superfly” to why Buri Hamachi is a complete different fish and that most restaurants who refer to fatty Hamachi as “Buri” are just flat out, 100 percent wrong.

All of his fish was sublime as usual. Some of the toro pieces were ridiculous- as well as the aforementioned Buri. Love the Kirin Draft beer. I still rank this as the best overall sushi experience in this town.

Notes: Haven’t been to Masa proper, next to re-visit is definitely seki, tab came out to $275+ tip for 2- which included 6 beers ~35 pieces of sushi and two rolls. I never feel ripped off there despite the high tabs.

-Per Se

My second trip to Per Se was in early November and it was flat out fantastic. Worth every penny- but also so expensive that I would only feel comfortable going once every few years. We opted for a supplemental white truffle course- and this was incredible. The risotto/ truffle ratio was about one to one. Truffles were presented in a very ornate lacquered box and shaved for close to a minute on each of our small portions of risotto. Well worth the $54 supplement.

The standard courses were just that- oysters and pearls just isn’t so amazing the second time, there was also throw away Mediterranean style whitefish course and a stuffed quail leg. The whole table opted for seared Foie and they obliged by giving us a special preparation. It was just seared quite plainly as it should be, but the whole slab was presented to us before slicing and was a sight to see. I love Foie and this was so perfectly cooked. The scallop course consisted of one medium-large Maine sea scallop in a mushroom broth. Like the Foie this was so perfectly cooked- incredible.

We swapped out two portions of the domestic beef for two portions of the wagyu. The wagyu was creamier- it was preferred 3-1 at the table. The marrow fritter that accompanied the beef course was fantastic. The 72 hour wagyu brisket was dry and not too fun. Service there seemed to be very well trained but lacked the fluidity and polish of what I would expect at a 3 star establishment.

Notes: total cost with food and plenty of good wine was a record $575- I am not so keen on spending so much on wine/champagne/etc… but I thought the food portion was well worth the ~$300. Same hazelnut desert and crème brulee as the last time I went. Mignardises were over the top as usual- green apple was spectacular.

-Bar Masa

Finally had an excuse to check this place out- I was happy that I tried it but most likely wouldn’t return. Everything was very good- highlights were the “buri” hamachi (yasuda would disagree) and toro that was quite good. The rolls were fun, I liked the foie pate/ truffle roll (which was box style) as well as the crunchy toro skin roll- these were both firsts. Oysters were great- as sweet as kumamotos but much fleshier- yum.

The uni risotto w/ truffles was a letdown- gloppy and lacking flavor. The sushi canapé course was fun- but basically just four pieces of topped sushi. Good sake- nice room, pretty good service. However, I felt that there is about a 50% Masa price premium built in here which will make me unlikely to ever return or visit the mothership. Total was ~150 per person including tip.

-BLT Fish

We were here a few Saturdays ago for a birthday and came away pretty impressed. As a fan of BLT Steak and having eaten downstairs at BLT before, I was psyched to check out the main dining room. I enjoy the complimentary treats before the meal- salmon salad, delicious biscuits with maple butter, and buffalo fried shrimp pieces. The table shared a few of the large (not massive) chilled shellfish platters and these were first rate. I put them in the league with Blue Ribbon and Balthazar- will definitely return for these which can also be ordered downstairs at the bar. Oysters, clams, whelks, shrimp, stone crab claws, etc…. very nicely done.

A few apps were shared- his tuna tartare is always great. I had the large head-on shrimp which were tasty but had a bit too much olive flavor for me (I detest olives.) The birthday girl had a small order of white truffles w/ risotto- LT is a great chef but this course was laughable compared to Per Se. The raw hamachi was thickly cut and fantastic.

For the main courses most people opted with the Cantonese Snapper- while very tasty and tender I don’t have so much of a reference since I rarely order the whole fish in Chinatown. Everyone at the table thought it was very good, but not exceptional. The sides under whelmed a bit- there was silver dollar potatoes that were bland, hen of the woods mushrooms that weren’t as rich as BLT Steak’s, and parmesan gnocchi which was the best of the bunch but definitely on the heavy size.

The staff looked frantic and overworked- it was a Saturday night. Interesting point is that they rushed us up to our table from the bar, and when we arrived upstairs- after repeatedly being told we may lose our table- they were not ready for us at all and the servers were already frazzled without the immediate introduction of a new eight-top. I would return for the shellfish platters and a martini or two at the bar.

-Nobu 57

Visited in September and it was already a well-oiled machine. Beautiful, dark, sexy space and very much Nobu. Omakase was mostly standard fare- I used to give them no limit and get some incredible meals downtown, but as the cost rose and rose it became more difficult to reach the wow level. I believe we went with the 2nd from the bottom Omakase offering- 120? 150?

I liked the kumamoto starter, but had it before, as well as the sashimi salad, the new style etc…the sushi course is as forgettable as ever. New items included a delicious, succulent grilled baby lamb chop, and a rich soup served in a paper, almost coffee filter-like bowl suspended in a steel basket over an open flame. This was visually stunning. Dessert was ice cream with a scrumptious peachy sauce poured all over it (white peach and jasmine soup with beer ice cream and peanut brittle)- a Nobu first for me as well. We added a new cooked oyster dish- oysters in filo- and that was very tasty. All and all, it is nice to have a new Nobu in town.

Next up- many meals at home!

Thanks for reading- happy holidays!


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