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Urasawa Virgin

k
kotter Jun 29, 2006 08:25 PM

Ok. I've been reading the boards for a while now, and I've heard everyone rave about urasawa. I'm a big fan of sushi and will try just about anything (and pay a lot of money if it's worth it). Is Urasawa really worth it? How much will it cost to go?

  1. J.L. Aug 12, 2007 10:15 PM

    Is Urasawa worth it? In a word... YES!
    My 1st trip to Urasawa was one of the best meals I've ever had at a restaurant - A virtual tie with my trip to French Laundry.

    Hiro-san will take good care of you. Trust him, and he'll feed you better than most people dining West of the Mississippi that night.

    1. Midlife Aug 12, 2007 01:33 PM

      We had a dinner for four at Matsuhisa a few years ago that was hands-down the best sushi experience I've ever had..... here or in Japan. The tab was around $450 including tip. If Urasawa is truly 3 times as good ($350ea vs. $120), I don't think my heart could take it. Not that it wouldn't be great to try. :o)

      7 Replies
      1. re: Midlife
        e
        epop Aug 12, 2007 01:53 PM

        that makes me want to cancel my trip to japan b/c i would never go back to matsuhisa...

        1. re: epop
          Midlife Aug 12, 2007 02:00 PM

          I'm sorry you had a bad experience there. I don't know if things have changed in the five years or so since my visit, or what you had, or what you're used to. I still had a wonderful meal.

          1. re: Midlife
            russkar Aug 12, 2007 09:29 PM

            Matsuhisa is great for what it is. The secret has always been to reserve the Omakase Room off to the side and have them do their thing.
            That said Urasawa is in a different Stratosphere (Universe=GED). There is no comparison in any way. It would be like comparing a Surfboard to a 50' Sailboat.
            The good news is that Urasawa is only $275-ea not 350-(old price at Ginza Sushi Ko, may it rest in peace). It's a bargain all things considered, nothing else is even close in LA and most of the USA, exception Masa which is 2500 miles away and much more expensive in NYC.

            1. re: russkar
              adelly Aug 17, 2007 04:36 PM

              i'm confused, as if you go to the citysearch review of urasawa, it indicates a $75/per person prix fixe!! did things change??? i've always known it to be around $300 each.

              1. re: adelly
                Servorg Aug 17, 2007 04:41 PM

                Obviously a mistake since the (I saw $74 being quoted) pp is listed and then it says a $100 charge pp will be made to your cc if you no show without letting them know. Don't think any restaurant could get away with charging more than the cost of their meal for a missed reservation situation.

                1. re: adelly
                  russkar Aug 17, 2007 06:22 PM

                  We dine at Urasawa a few times a year. $275- pp is correct.

                2. re: russkar
                  b
                  budlit Aug 17, 2007 05:22 PM

                  Urasawa is actually a bargain, considering the amount of food served and the quality.

          2. s
            susan robin Aug 22, 2006 05:41 PM

            see my post from a few days ago (nyc hound thanking everyone who sent us). totally unique, would not have missed it. agree on the corkage thing, wish i had known. paid $100 for a bottle of far niente since i'm not a sake drinker and my husband prefers beer with japanese food.go for it, you will not be disappointed.

            1. jcwla Aug 20, 2006 04:23 AM

              you definitely see many of the same things on repeat visits.

              1. e
                epop Aug 20, 2006 03:24 AM

                dear Urasawa regulars (if there are any)
                and to people who have been to Urasawa but haven't been back (not solely b/c of the prices),

                wondering if it is one of those places where you go once or twice and it seems incredible
                but as you go back the restaurant seems gimmicky. one starts to see patterns and
                gets annoyed.

                or if it is truly a surprise each time...

                i haven't gone b/c i was afraid of the latter. this happens at many of the finer places.

                8 Replies
                1. re: epop
                  s
                  Six_of_One Aug 22, 2006 01:48 AM

                  The menu changes at Urasawa, but not all at once. So, if you go once in January and once in July, you will probably find very few similarities (not counting the standard sushi offerings, which of course are the same whenever you go). If, however, you go once in January and once in February, there will probably be several of the same dishes.

                  He does make an effort to provide variety when possible...I go about once a month, and sometimes I receive a course or two that is different from others dining at the same time.

                  1. re: Six_of_One
                    s
                    skwasha Aug 22, 2006 02:35 AM

                    Once a month!?!? ummm... are you hiring? need any techie types?

                    Seriously though, I've been twice (about a year apart) and I'd say about 1/3 of the dishes were the same, or near enough to be considered the same.

                    MMmmmmm.... must go back...

                    1. re: Six_of_One
                      e
                      epop Aug 23, 2006 09:36 PM

                      thank you, six of one. (also jcwla)-- i'm definitely going. that level of variety is understandable, based on the season. i've never liked it when a tasting menu repeats itself predictably, even if it is great. it can almost kill the previous great meal.

                      bon appetit

                    2. re: epop
                      t
                      TomSwift Aug 22, 2006 05:26 AM

                      We've found it to be a truly 1/2 surprise each time.
                      For example, Fugu is a winter fish so if you want blowfish, don't expect in the next couple of months. However, blowfish sperm sack in the winter is a unique treat. No gimmicks here. If you are a fan of something (mine in awabi) ask for it when you make your reservation. There are always surprises in live shellfish, and the regular dishes have always had a twist of some sort. Don't be put off, and enjoy. Bring your own wine (no corkage) AND AVOID THE WATER, they won't give you regular
                      BH water and require you to buy bottled water at an obscene mark-up. I'm tempted (and have been provoked by several on the board) to bring a glass, user the ice from our wine carrier, and get regular water from the men's room. Drink wine, and enjoy the experience, time after time.

                      1. re: TomSwift
                        m
                        markn Aug 22, 2006 05:46 PM

                        Wow...no corkage? Pretty amazing. I assume if you can bring in wine that means you can bring your own sake as well?

                        1. re: markn
                          emily Aug 12, 2007 09:35 AM

                          There is actually a corkage fee, lest anyone be surprised when they find a $30 fee added to their bill (like me).

                        2. re: TomSwift
                          adevejian Aug 12, 2007 03:44 PM

                          My girl and I are planning on going in September (both of us Urasawa virgins), and were wondering if there are any special fish (like TomSwift's awabi) we should mention when we make our reservation.

                          1. re: adevejian
                            anabagayan Aug 22, 2007 02:59 AM

                            I can't wait to go!

                      2. j
                        JacyFarrow Aug 20, 2006 02:33 AM

                        Having just recently been "deflowered" (of my Urasawa virginity, that is) i heartily agree that it is an experience, and not just a meal. And it's also way more than just sushi or fish--it's the combination of flavors and ingredients you've seen before, but never anywhere near how Hiro-san serves them.

                        Ran just shy of $700 for the two of us, though we were tame on the drinking end of things.

                        Go! It's worth it.

                        1. choctastic Aug 20, 2006 01:56 AM

                          He pays a lot for his fish and it shows. The trappings aside, the fish is amazing. If you really loooove sushi, you will eventually find your way here.

                          1. p
                            PoetKitty Jul 4, 2006 11:06 PM

                            That's a big fat huge Hell Yes It's Worth it!
                            Urasawa isn't a meal, it's an experience. As the other Chows have eloquently stated, when we waltz in understanding why it is you're paying what you're paying, there's no food excursion in LA that can touch it. Hiro-san is an absolute treasure, both in skills and personality. And the freshness and quality of the ingredients and presentations - I actually cried. It's one of my most cherished culinary memories. Go make your own, I insist :)

                            pk

                            1. s
                              Six_of_One Jun 30, 2006 05:10 PM

                              I think it's unquestionably worth it. Different people have different priorities, of course, and most of my friends think I'm crazy for spending so much on dinner. I went for the first time about a year and a half ago, telling myself it was something I just had to try once. 3 months later I was back, having decided I could afford to go once every season. Now, I go once every month...it's very addictive.

                              $400 is a lot of money, but it's not out of reach for the average person. Like I said, it all depends on your priorities.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Six_of_One
                                Pablo Jul 4, 2006 04:31 PM

                                Well said Six of One! I go once a week to my regular place, it's around $150. I think I would rather go to Urasawa once a month than 4 times a month to my regular sushi bar!

                              2. f
                                FoodZealot Jun 30, 2006 04:57 PM

                                Pretty damn fantastic. I think it's worth it if you put yourself in the frame of mind that it's the whole experience - eating superpremium, rare, or hard to import ingredients, some very traditional preparations, some very novel preparations, and with personal attention from a very talented chef. So you're paying a premium for that kind of treatment. If you start thinking about how many meals you could get at another sushi place, you're not as likely to enjoy it, IMHO.

                                1. t
                                  TomSwift Jun 29, 2006 09:43 PM

                                  Agree with Pablo. Every meal we've had there has been so far over the top that it's difficult to put into words. Simply describing the menu doesn't do the experience justice. 35-45 courses, with some common threads that show up each time and other things that we've seen once and then yearned for the next time. I'd offer two tips: First, make your reservation for 6:00 pm. That way you can take your time. Second, if you are fond of a particular item (mine is awabi) mention it when you make your reservation and Urasawa-san will accomodate you.

                                  1. Pablo Jun 29, 2006 08:59 PM

                                    Best meal of my life, and very worth it!
                                    We had about 30 plates and we basically had to beg Hiro-san to stop serving us. Urasawa is special, nowhere else in the Americas are you going to have this caliber of food served to you by the chef himself. Maybe in NY, Masa would serve you, but that's a maybe.

                                    $250 per person, not including drinks, tax, tip.

                                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/64622084...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Pablo
                                      Pablo Jun 29, 2006 11:48 PM

                                      I would like to add, Hiro-san is a very cool guy. He's down to earth, enjoys conversation and has a great sense of humor no matter who you are. Masa on the other hand I hear is kind of "crusty" and that's putting it lightly.

                                    2. ipsedixit Jun 29, 2006 08:45 PM

                                      Is it worth it? That's really hard to say.

                                      When I was there about a year and a half ago, I really enjoyed it. It was over 700 for the two of us.

                                      Was it worth it? For me, while I enjoyed the food and the experience, I'm not sure I would go back. The experience was interesting and the food top-notch, but it wasn't so special that it knocked my socks off.

                                      I think if you are a fan of Japanese food, Urasawa is probably one of those places you should visit at least once, but is it "must"? Not in my opinion, no.

                                      That being said, if I won the lottery tomorrow, I'd probably dine at Urasawa every month ...

                                      Cheers and happy dining.

                                      1. d
                                        dinami Jun 29, 2006 08:45 PM

                                        I've never been there, but I love this guy's website http://www.perceptor8.com/ because he takes GREAT pictures of the places he visits. Here's a link to his dinner at Urasawa:

                                        http://www.kodakgallery.com/ShareLand...

                                        Hopefully that link will work! I don't know where else to put them on this new board.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: dinami
                                          sku Jun 29, 2006 11:29 PM

                                          Is Perceptor on the new site yet? Does he have the same name? I don't want to miss any of his photo-reviews.

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