Tomoe so so
My wife and I visited New York last week and, inspired by the Village Voice touting its "obsessively fresh" fish, ate at Tomoe Sushi. It was just ok.
We sat at the bar where a view of the tiny sushi case promoted immediate misgivings. It was a mess, the different varieties of fish all piled on top of each other and lacking the naturally moist, lustrous look of freshness.
Presentation on the plate was also a bit sloppy. Some of the pieces had large, knobby ends and the sashimi was artlessly arranged. This mattered because eating with your eyes is one of the great pleasures of sushi.
Most of it tasted pretty good, especially the well-marbled toro, but nothing was great.
Our waiter was excellent, warm and attentive which is a rarity in sushi bars.
We live in Texas, and I was a sushi waiter in Colorado, but my sushi experiences in New York, on this and previous visits (we hit one sushi bar per trip), have done little to stoke my coastal envy.
Yama's set-up was enervating- the waiter took our order, placed the ticket at the far end of the bar and later delivered it to us as if we were seated at a table. No communication with the chef was allowed! Here as well, the sushi was good but not great.
Nobu was excellent, but so expensive for such small pieces that we couldn't relax and enjoy ourselves.
Next time out, we'll seek Jonathan Gold's recommendation's and prepare to spend.
For the most part we ate very well, and cheaply, in New York thanks to Jim Leff's book. Rinconcito Peruano is awesome!
FYI, Kuruma was excellent, but also the most expensive meal I've ever eaten. An omakase pig-out here ran $250 a head all-in, and that was with a moderate bar bill. True, we had the best in quantity, but Ouch. For my money, Eisay down on Thames St. by the World Trade Center is a much better deal, or former Eisay chef Sushi of Gari in Midtown.
i'm surprised: your experience at tomoe was exactly opposite mine. every time i go there i remark that the food is fresh, generous, and well (but perhaps not so artfully as some) presented.
but the restaurant has an attitude: they are never open (don't open until 1, are closed on certain days altogether) as if they don't want my patronage at all. servers have been indifferent, though not rude, to me there, and the tiny place with no reservations policy makes the crowd aggressive and unruly at the door. thre can be a bad vibe on line.
if the food wasn't so damned good, i wouldn't go there. but alas, they are responsible for several of the best sushi meals i've ever had.
nobu - i agree, they have disappointed me every time. i don't get it. what's the big deal?
yama- i thought the fish came in big slabs, but was otherwise unremarkable.
my favorite sushi these days comes from Hasaki, on ninth st near third ave. especially the specials, every day, are creative and delicious. the sushi-bar chefs are friendly there. lines are long, this is another place to go late as possible.