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Yet another sushi question

I'm looking for a traditional sushi bar omakase experience. I love the Nobu/Morimoto stuff, but for this trip I really want the traditional kind of joint. We actually prefer sashimi, but I'm cool with most anything. Things I value would be top-notch fish (of course) and a wide variety of interesting selections unavailable in my provincal southern haunts. Things I care nothing about include hipness, decor and price. I suppose if two places are equally great, I'd just as soon not light money on fire, but this is a splurge trip anyhow.

I would award bonus points if it was a place that could convince me that uni was great like everyone else seems to think, because I'm not a fan so far. My local sushi chef assures me that they can't get the really good stuff, so I'm all for getting the definitive answer. I also love a really heavenly tamago.

Based on stuff I've read here, I'm leaning towards Sushi Yasuda since the only recurring negatives I've seen are that you might get rushed if you arrive late and that sashima omakase is likely to get pricey. I also have seen things that interest me about Jewel Bako, Kuruma Zushi and Sushi Gari.

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  1. Yasuda is great as is Jewel Bako. I would also suggest Shimizu on 51st street. Sit at the sushi bar and you can request any special items you might like. Enjoy your dinner!

    1. Kuruma Zushi is very good, but be careful - an omakase, if you give the chef a free hand and set no limits, can cost many, many hundreds of bucks. Yasuda is traditional; Jewel Bako, which I like, much less so.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Wilfrid

        I guess I would have to cry uncle at some point -- I think I'd probably get full before then, but I may underestimate their ability to charge exhobitantly. I'd probably have to stop them at $300 or so per person, unless I thought I was on the edge of some kind of dining nirvana.

      2. For what you are looking for, I would go with Yasuda.

        1. Kanoyama is really good, too. They are located in the E. Village on 2nd Ave @ 11th St. I usually go with the fish on the special menu as they tend to be the best catches of the day... The omakase is good, too... I think I have had it once, but the list of daily special fish are what make this place so amazing.... you can literally go down the list and get one piece of each fish and you are pretty much guaranteed a great meal.

          1. If you're looking for the best sushi in the five boros go to Taro Sushi on Dean Street between 5th Avenue and Flatbush on a Friday or Saturday night (when they get local Japanese fish flown in from the motherland). The fatty tunas (bigeye and bluefin) alone are worth the trip as is the superb uni. No metallic or "spoiled" taste in their uni. Sweet and creamy it is. Make reservations for the sushi bar @ 718 398 0872 and ask for the head sushi chef/owner Sano to serve you Omakase. You take the 2 or 3 train to Brooklyn and get off Bergen Street and walk one block up to Dean, If you need to stay in Manhattan then Ise on 56 Pine Street is the place. Go to the the sushi bar and ask for Massa. They're open from Monday to Friday until 10pm. They also have a great kitchen. If it's a weekend then try the Ise on W56th between Ave of Americas and 5th Ave.

            1. Kanoyama will charge you an arm and a leg too if you don't specify a omakase price limit now.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Ricky

                I find Kanoyama's general flavoring to be too sweet, though. It's not very authentic, either. Quite Americanized... I like the ambiance, though.

              2. I'd second the recommendation for Shimizu -- I tried their omakase last Friday and it was very good. Although I'm a huge fan of Sushi of Gari, I wouldn't say they were traditional. Chef Gari does a lot of interesting things with his Chef's Selection, but it's not the traditional omakase experience. I would also recommend Sushi Ann, on 51st just east of Madison. They serve up traditional Edo style sushi and should be what you're looking for.

                As for uni, the best I've had in the city is Morimoto. It's the only place that's even come close the the best uni I've ever had, which is at Sushi Ota, where Chef Ota farms his own stock of uni.

                1. If you truly want the best traditional sushi NYC has to offer, stick to Yasuda or Kuruma.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: gutsofsteel

                    We are going to Yasuda next week...what is a reasonable price limit to ask for omakase? We would like to keep it around $200 per person for food and sake, will that be enough?

                    1. re: kenito799

                      According to several recent posts, that should be fine. This post resulted in asurances that he could get out of there for $125 each and someone saying that they always came in between $100 and $200 each, although one guy reported a blowout night of close to $300 each. Click http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                      1. re: SouthernGent

                        Thanks! We are really looking forward to it. I will report back.

                        1. re: kenito799

                          Yasuda last night, very impressive, I am so glad we went. We came early for our reservation and were able to be seated early. Didn't take notes but I believe we each had 6 pieces sashimi, 19 pieces sushi and 2 rolls, 3 carafes of sake, $350 with tip. We were extremely full (that's a lot of rice!) and satisfied. I feel like it is a great benchmark for classic unfussy sushi. We did not ask for a particular chef and ours (he was softspoken and I couldn't get his name) served up a great meal. He was standing next to Yasuda so we heard him chat with his customers, very relaxed atmosphere.

                          Everything was pretty much perfect but the standouts for me were Russian uni, King salmon, arctic char, oyster, three kinds of eel, chu-toro of course. It is especially nice to try different varieties of a fish to compare them.

                  2. I agree. An acquaintance used to be the Sushi chef at Jewel Bako,
                    and he'd head to Yasuda to eat....

                    1. I decided to go with Yasuda. Thanks for all the tips. Dinner is in 10 days, so I'll report back. They asked me if I wanted a particular sushi chef, so I asked for Yasuda and they agreed. We'll see what actually happens.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: SouthernGent

                        Took my brother for his 40th birthday for lunch, yesterday. Omakase sushi with Yasuda. My brother was very sad having realized that after eating "sushi" in NJ for several years he had never really had SUSHI.

                        1. re: guttergourmet

                          We'll be there tonight. I'm very eager to taste it for myself.

                      2. I figured I owe at least a follow-up report. We had a fantsastic meal at Yasuda. It ran about $250 and I felt very satisfied with the amount of food. We avoided apps, prefering to start with a selection of sashimi. We did a flight of the tuna, running through both blue fin and big eye with both toro and otoro. It was as excellent as everyone predicted. We also tried three (or perhaps four) of the yellowtail cuts which were fine, but not spectacular. Chef Yasuda was particularly pleased with the salmon and we had an amazingly tasty, very pale, almost white salmon that was perfection. I lost track of some of the nigiri, but I remember being quite taken with the sardine, as well as some of the other mackeral. However, in my view the eel were the absolute stars of the evening. I have misplaced the correct terms, but we had some light and some dark with none being unagi -- so I guess dark freshwater and light saltwater (or I have that backwards again). They were sauced to perfection and simply miles above any eel I have ever tasted anywhere. Truly sublime. We sampled one or two rolls whose details escape me and finished with some ice cream rolled up in a gummy rice coating. It was all top notch and I couldn't be more pleased with the suggestion. Thanks, hounds.

                        Off to Del Posto tonight, which I'm a bit more nervous about. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: SouthernGent

                          I'm glad to hear Yasuda lived up to your expectations! I was also blown away by that salmon, it was King salmon. The eel assortment is amazing and sets the standard for eel. You had ice cream in mochi, made from sticky rice--you can buy that in many Asian groceries around town (m2m on 11th St & 3rd ave, for instance--also at Trader Joe's). But you neglected to mention whether Yasuda helped you understand how wonderful uni is...did you try the uni from Russia?
                          Good luck with Del Posto, my impression is you'll need it...not on my list...

                          1. re: kenito799

                            I forgot about the Uni. We tried two different varieties of uni and they were by far the best I've ever had. The Russian in particular was smoother and just had a more fresh from the sea taste than I had experienced before and none of the curious metallic taste that I've noted in what were apparently bad examples of the type. However, it is still not my favorite thing in the sushi pantheon.

                            What else? The pacing was a bit rushed, but we agreed to a fairly short time window in exchange for being seated before Yasuda, so I have no complaint on that score. Yasuda the man was charming and interesting.

                            There was only one piece I thought was less than first rate. Our local sushi chef has a source for the giant clam and it has become one of our favorites. We requested a chance to try it here to see if there was another level of quality we didn't know about. As it turns out, I think our local guy actually gets better giant clams.

                            Del Posto was better than I feared, but nowhere near the level of Per Se or the other four star places Mario apparently intends to compete with. I'll try to write a review tonight.

                        2. The sushi posts on this board are very confusing....Tomoe has junk fish (why the love?...the large pieces?)....I knew the opening chefs at Nobu, Bondst and Jewel Bako (sushi world is very small) and the difficulty in getting good fish is extreme...Nobu and Bonsdst have dedicated fish purchasers and they often get the best fish put aside because of the volume that they do.....Very few places can compete despite specific preferences...The fish market is first and foremost a business

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: hardcore

                            What is confusing - it just seems that different posters have different opinions, with which one may, or may not, agree.

                            1. re: hardcore

                              Your post is somewhat confusing--I don't think anyone mentioned Tomoe (yecch) on this thread...any insight you have about other places that have access to the best fish would be greatly appreciated...