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san francisco visitor seeking sushi recommendations

  • m
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OK New Yorkers, I need a good sushi restraunt, a cool, not too expensive one. I will be staying around 39th and Lexington but will travel anywhere for good sushi.

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  1. You're going to be very close to one of the Japanese sections of town. At 43rd between 2nd and 3rd is Sushi Yasuda, which serves very good sushi. It can be pricy depending on your choices, but as with any good sushi place, the best offerings are had when you let the sushi chef decide for you -- just say omakase. What I like to do is have a few tastings at Yasuda, and then walk across the street to Sakagura, a sake bar and restaurant. Sakagura is located in the basement of an office building, next door to a place called Hapon (not recommended). The entrance can be a bit disconcerting, but just walk past the security desk, and down the stairs. Besides the hundreds of varieties of sake you can order here, the food here is also delicious, and looks nothing like the standard japanese restaurant fair. You won't find a more Japanese experience, not even in SF.

    By the way, don't try to go into the Japanese night club in the front of the building. They won't even let me in, and I'm Japanese-American!

    BTW, the best sushi restaurants in NYC are located in midtown east in the 40s and 50s. There are a number of places worth checking out, but it can get very pricy. Cheers.

    1. It's not traditional in any sense of the word, but I love the food at Sushi Samba, Park Avenue South in the low 20s. Fresh fish, delicious combinations. Somewhat dubious claim to fame as having the only sushi-ceviche bar in NYC... but the ceviche is fabulous!

      4 Replies
      1. re: Lizzie
        m
        Michele Cindy

        I second that! I've been to the 6th Ave. near Bleeker St. location twice. Both times we enjoyed our meals and the atmosphere. One complaint the management staff on one visit were a bit sullen and snobish.
        For a cooked entree I recommend the Fried snapper, it's stuffed in the middle with coconut rice. Yum.

        1. re: Lizzie

          I too am a big fan of the FISH at Sushi Samba. I've gone twice and I was just knocked out by the ceviche sampler.
          The wait staff on the other hand I could do without. At my second visit to the Seventh Ave location, I watched in amazement as my waiter actually sat down (multiple times) with a couple of important-looking people (who he did not know, but was schmoozing), while my dining companion and I sat there with no silverware or chopsticks. It's a huge scene at the 7th Ave location but in my opinion, worth it.

          1. re: Abbylovi
            m
            Michele Cindy

            I'm glad you too noticed the service issues. Our waitress was very nice, but the "upper" management were really snobs.

          2. re: Lizzie

            Sushi Ran in Sausolito, if you don't already know about it. Top quality fish, awesome array of sakes and very nice ambiance. I go every time I'm out there, and like it better than most of the top places in NY: Twice as good; half as expensive. My last meal there with my wife in mid-99 was $115 for two omakases and 6 or 7 sakes.

          3. I used to live in SF & there were a lot more inexpensive sushi places than in NY. They are here however. I agree with everyone about Sushi Samba - the food is fabulous but if you go on a weekend there is a scene and it is literally as loud as a club & when they get busy - the service can be pretty lousy. I was there with 6 other people a few weeks ago & we were screaming at each other. My other suggestions would be Next Door Nobu (105 Hudson Street/212-334-4445 - I don't think they take reservations though & you might have to wait a long time depending on when you go) or Yama (122 E. 17th/212-475-0969/the most low-key out of the bunch). Have fun.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Pamela

              Nobu Next Door opens at 5:45 PM. If you get there then there will not be a wait.