At 118 E 31st Street is Umi Sushi, one of the many Fuzhou owned and operated sushi and Japanese restaurants in NYC area.
This began as an afternoon trip to Sapporo Noodle Shop that is at 152 49th street, next to a long established Sushi and Japan owned Japanese Restaurant. At 2:30 pm, Sapporo was out of Ramen. Amazing. Still had customers. I had a beer and headed south.
A historical note before going into Umi Sushi:
About 20 years ago and by the late 1980s, where Sapporo is located was a strip of more than several Japanese owned establishments, including a hidden Karioki Bar catering 99% to Japanese business travelers. That was when the Japanese were buying Rockefeller Center, and most Japanese restaurants in Manhattan were owned by Japanese. On that strip of 49th street today there only remains Sapporo Noodle Shop and Iroha Japanese Restaurant next door. I recommend both, especially happy hour at Sapporo for 2.50 draft mugs of beer, and the raw fish next door.
Since about 15 or more years ago when sushi became more popularized people from Fuzhou began to study the art of making sushi and some even lived and learned in Japan, and today, many a Japanese Restaurant in the NYC area are owned and staffed by Fuzhou people, who all know the fare quite well, and from ambiance to menu titles offers a Japanese experience above and beyond these trendy so called Asian Fusion venues.
Lunch box specials are on offer for 8.50 and sushi lunch specials served with miso and salad range from 11.95 to 16.95 for the combo sushi sashimi.
34 rolls are on offer with titles such as Mississippi with crawfish, Sleeping Beauty with Black pepper salmon and avocado topped with spicy salmon and crunch, and more.
Being a lover of 生鱼片 or what the Japanese refer to a sashimi, this is the best place I have been for prices and portions of ala cart sashimi (and sushi too). The selection is good. I have eaten at many of these Fuzhou Japanese Restaurants that are actually all over NYC, and here I was particularly pleased with the order o scallop,which with two piece offered six slices of thick scallop. The squid ordering two piece gave me four long slices of squid rolled up with a green leaf (mint?) and nice red plum content inside.
I ordered quite a bit from the sashimi ala cart, had several 12 oz. beers and three small size sake warmed, several orders of uni were included in my order and the bill was under $50.00. That beats another place I have been near Oro (soho) that I have been to several times during happy hour prices. I must say that one time I went to the 'next to Oro sushi place‘ they had tuna belly and that was so amazing delicious. Call these places to find out if tuna belly is in the house. Not to dis that place, it will go unnamed.
Umi Sushi, along with a nice selection of Kitchen Apps has the following that Japaese food lovers are familiar with: Naruto selections, Regualr rolls over 20 types at 4.95 and up, noodles the typical soba and yaki soba Tempura Udon / Soba , Nabemono, Donburi at most at 10.00 and the eel goes for 13.00. Tempura and Teriyaki.
I recommend Umi Sushi simply for the reason that I saw many happy people dining and satisfied there, as was I sitting over time, and ordering over time ala cart sashimi.
The staff is entirely made up of friendly people who know the food, and the space is good. No dissatisfaction I have come across in this and other locatios in the states sometimes with too thin or small slices of the sashimi.
They do a lot of take out delivery with several delivery staff specifically there awaiting delivery orders, and that may be typical for the location, though may also clue one into their product quality.
The menu is extensive, and the dining space ample for a non-crowded dining experience. They have an extended back area that is comfortable if you and your party do not want to sit in the front area where there is a quite long sushi bar and several seatings/tables for two.
Western wine is on the menu along with Sake and Japan and Domestic beer.
118 E 31st St, New York, NY 10016