Thanks are due to Iron Frank and Chowhound for getting me out of a rut. I was determined to break away from my usual once weekly Sharaku visit. Sharaku is nice, the sushi is pretty fresh, the people who work there are really nice and know us now, but still I knew there was an entire world of sushi out there.
I remember some great discussions about higher end sushi places and thought I would give Sushi of Gari a try, but didn't really feel like emptying the bank account that night. I did another search of this page and found a recommendation for Zutto sushi. They have a couple of locations, one on Greenwich (btn 6th and 7th) and another in Tribeca.
The place is really cozy and warmly decorated and the employees are pretty nice for a newcomer. The menu was pretty big with lots of different options, and some unique rolls. The sushi was very fresh and the taste wonderfully subtle. I really liked the asparagus tempura roll (a lovely smokey flavor), the salmon skin-teriyaki-scallion roll, the eel/papaya/other stuff roll and the Dr. Pepper roll (yellowtail with jalapeno). There are a bunch of menu references to JFK Jr. who, I assume, used to eat there regularly. it's a bit much but not intrusive..it's not over-the-top pandering, just a small homage. We sat at the sushi bar, an experienced marred by a woman speaking loudly to her kids, and yakking at the sushi chef who seemed to be shrinking into himself to avoid her, even tho he was face to face with her. Once she left he cracked open a beer and drank it down in one gulp; then he became all chatty with us. We finished with green tea ice cream and it was done the way I like it, not too sweet, kind of a smokey flavor and almost buttery.
We got three appetizers, and about 7-8 rolls, some of them kind of expensive, plus tea and ice cream and our total was about $78 including tax and tip. This was a bit above our norm and our comfort zone for sushi but we did try a lot of things that we don't usually get, special rolls instead of more mainstream, cheaper ones. I would definitely go back there and take my sister (lived in Japan) and her japanese husband there.
Next stop, Sushi of Gari! Definitely out of the rut!