After driving back and forth on Mamaroneck searching for what others have called a "literal hidden gem", we arrived five minutes late for our 9 PM reservation last Saturday. Not a good way to start, especially after reading some of the comments about Nanase's strict on-time reservation policy. Fortunately for us, the restaurant was empty and I did not detect any hint of attitude as we were seated at our table.
The restaurant is very small (5-6 tables and a few seats at the sushi bar) and sparsely, but comfortably, decorated. We were handed our menus and the waitress promptly brought over a couple hot towels and a pot of green tea.
The menu is pretty straightforward with a small appetizer selection, an omakase option (~$85), several sushi/sashimi plates as well as al a carte pieces. We both decided on the Sushi Nanase which consisted of 9 pieces of sushi (including chu toro, standard tuna, yellowtail, fluke, salmon, clam, raw shrimp, squid, grilled eel) and a toro roll for $45.
After what seemed to be quite a long wait, the sushi arrived. The nine pieces were artfully plated on a very narrow dish about two feet in length; the toro rolls on a plate in the center of the table. Each piece was delicately assembled and presented in a way that told me that the chef deeply cared about what he was doing. Overall, I found the meal to be very satisfying. The chu toro was of very good quality perhaps a notch above the other fish on the table. I’m not normally a fan of clam sushi, but Nanase’s version seemed to be more tender and flavorful, enhanced by some undeterminable seasonings, than past experiences. I also thought that the sushi rice was very well done. Sushi rice always plays a big part in my enjoyment of sushi. Nanase’s rice was cooked perfectly and had great consistency and flavor.
Nanase serves a kind traditional+ sushi. While most pieces like the chu toro were left au naturel, others like the standard tuna topped with some kind of ginger soy/tofu sauce had a more modern inclination. For those of you familiar with Manhattan sushi, I found certain of Nanase's flavors reminiscent of a Gari or Seki (a couple of my favorites in the city) but shy of of serving seared foie gras or jalapeno topped hamachi.
When I originally called to make a reservation, the woman who answered the phone seemed to be feeling me out, asking me if I was aware that they only served "real sushi" and no cooked foods. I thought that her comment was quite telling of a “traditional” sushi restaurant in White Plains, where many diners probably still think of sushi as “dynamite rolls” or other fusion creations bursting with deep fried shellfish. Now, I’m no sushi snob and I’ve enjoyed my share of spicy mayo, just thought it was interesting that she kind of wanted to make sure I knew what I was getting into. She also made it clear that the minimum charge was $30 per person.
Including tip the bill came to about $120 without any alcohol which makes it one of the more expensive restaurants in the area. Will I go back? In short, yes. Nanase is, in my opinion, the best sushi restaurant in Westchester, but given the comparable pricing and the fact that I’m already in Manhattan 5-6 days a week, you are more likely to see me at any of the restaurants mentioned above.
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