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Omakase for Anniversary?

I'm looking for help choosing a great Omakase to celebrate our anniversary. We are open to traditional or more sxperimental/creative sushi and a mix of cooked and raw dishes are also fine as long as the food is fabulous. I've nixed Yasuda as it seems it would be a rushed rather than festive experience (though I would love to try it some other time).

Looking to spend around 100+ per person, we are fairly flexible but don't want to cross into Masa territory. The anniversary is next week so no place that needs a month to reserve. Under consideration are...

Morimoto (may not be able to get in on such short notice)
Jewel Bako
Sushi of Gari (east side?)
Blue Ribbon Sushi
Ushi Wakamaru (not sure if this is right for a celebration)

On a completely different note - if we save omakase for some other time what would be a good Lupa (one of our faves)- like restaurant?

Thank you!!

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  1. Sushi of Gari Gari Gari (east side)...you can't go wrong. Totally non traditional from a sushi perspective, but the flavors and creativity will blow your mind.

    1 Reply
    1. re: livetoeat

      I wholeheartedly agree with this. For me it was life changing.

    2. For an anniversary, I think you should go with Morimoto.
      I had the Omakase there last month, and it was amazing.
      I don't think Morimoto is an excellent restaurant overall,
      but they pull out the big guns for their Omakase.
      They also have great sake pairings as well.
      They space is impressive, I'd start with a drink at the
      bar downstairs. Should be an amazing night!

      I vote no for Jewel Bako, this place is tiny and over-rated.
      I wouldn't do Gari, just because I don't want to go that far uptown
      (depends where you live), and I'd say no to Blue Ribbon because
      it's too quaint and casual. Have fun!

      4 Replies
      1. re: kvn

        I've seen (but not tried) the omakase at Blue Ribbon (which I go to about once a week) and it looks fabulous. I don't find the decor quaint, though it is casual. Much as I love Gari - the decor is so shabby that I'd hesitate to recommend for an anniversary. Have you considered Yasuda?

        1. re: MMRuth

          Sorry - just saw your comment about Yasuda - I've never experienced being rushed there - really fantastic sushi.

          1. re: MMRuth

            Thanks for all of the responses! Morimoto sounds like a possibility and Blue Ribbon is also very appealling, its a great location for us and the green tea creme brulee sounds fabulous.

            I got the idea that Yasuda could be rushed from old posts (not necessarily from this board)where people complained about spending a large sum and being zipped in and out within an hour - unless of course, I've confused this with someplace else!

            1. re: llinza

              Please don't do Blue Ribbon. It's truly not in the same league as some of the other places people have mentioned, and I would really not want you to be disappointed by a subpar Anniversary meal.

      2. Shimizu-west 51st, Taka on Grove, Lure has potential and my most recent discovery-Le Miu on Ave A.

        1 Reply
        1. re: guttergourmet

          I like Taka but it's too casual/neighborhood for a big celebration, I think. I second Morimoto for a splurge and the atmosphere--I haven't been to the one here but did omakase twice in Philly and it was good.

        2. I just did the Omakase at Morimoto and I thought it did not live up to its Philly branch. We were told there was no Sake pairing because "We'd have to hire a sommelier." The food was not bad but a little scattered, very quickly paced and not that interesting. For that amount of money, I think you can do a lot better.

          1. Nobu is still my favorite.

            1. Thank you to everyone who made recommendations! We went to Morimoto and had a fabulous time.

              We sat at the regular sushi bar which gave us a great show of the busy sushi chefs and the buzzing restaurant. We were seated promptly and all of our servers were wonderful. Our primary server recommended a great cold sake and kept it chilled for us during the meal.

              Its taken me a few weeks to get back to the board so I don't remember everything so I'll just mention the highlights;

              We started with the tuna tartar which was presented beautifully, pressed into a bamboo board with at least five sauces across the bottom (not all of which worked), and set in a large ice filled ceramic bowl with flowers. This was not the best tartar I've had but it was a nice start to the meal.

              Next was a selection of sashimi (i could be off on the order here)best was the skipjack tuna but all of the pieces were fresh and tasty.

              Truly lovely wild salmon followed, crisply seared on one side and buttery tender on the other. A simple but stand out dish.

              Giant clam with foi gras was another knock-out dish. The clam seemed almost poached the exterior was silky and toothsome but with this amazing creamy interior.

              Sushi came at some point which was again tasty and fresh but not life changing.

              Garam masala rubbed lobster with a lemon chantilly foam was most unusual. The lobster was well prepared but I'm a huge fan of plain lobster so the spice rub seemed unnecessary to me. Almost lobster for someone who doesn't like the crustacean. The lemon foam was tasty and tart but dessert like - I don't think I'm foam fan.

              Wagyu beef was another simply amazing dish - the beef really just melted in your mouth.

              Green tea was beautifully presented with six ceramic dishes of honey, mint leaves, ginger, raw sugar etc.

              Dessert was lovely but by that time we were really quite full.

              Presentation, service and pacing throughout were wonderful. We had a total of 8 or 9 courses and definitely were quite full. I really liked that there was room at the sushi bar - you definitely did not feel crowded and you still had a sense of privacy.

              The sushi and sashimi were good but not stellar, I think the cooked dishes were the real winners.

              Thanks again to everyone who chimed in, we had a wonderful experience!

              3 Replies
              1. re: llinza

                Thanks for coming back and reporting on your experience. Wish more people who solict suggestions would do so as well.

                Don't suppose you remember how much your omakase cost, food alone and with sake?

                1. re: Pupster

                  I believe we ended up being somewhere around 400+ w/t&t. Omakas was 120 per person and the sake we had was 80. They had a huge range of sake prices so you could certainly get out more reasonably.

                  Sushi of Gari is actually next on my list of places to try.

                  1. re: llinza

                    I'm very curious to see how Sushi of Gari matches up to Morimoto...I'll be surprised if it doesn't blow it out of the water (based on my non-stellar experiences at the one in Philly).

              2. I haven't been to Morimoto. I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

                Yasuda is terrific, with great sushi, the highest quality fish. The quality at Yusuda is much higher at the bar than the table, and the rice is a bit "loose". Its also very expensive.

                Blue Ribbon is good but not in the same league.

                Jewel Bako is also very good, but its more of a scene and somewhat inconsistent.

                The best omakase I've had is Sushi of Gari. Pretty much everything there is amazing. Gari can outdo the "conventional" omakase of Yusuda, with pristine fish and perfect rice. But unless you tell them that you want traditional sushi, they will give you sushi in outlandish and unusual formats. I haven't been to Masa or Morimoto, but Gari beats the rest of New York and everything I've had in Japan as well.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Fielding

                  Hi...two reactions:

                  1) when you said Jewel Bako was inconsistent, did you sit at the tables (or were you maybe refering to JB Makimono)?...at Jewel Bako, i only sit at the sushi bar and i've never had a meal that was less than stunning, as i think the chef Masato-san is as good as it gets...(i have had inconsistent sushi at JB Makimono though, but that restaurant is now closed)...

                  -- i went to Gari once and had a very bad experience: rude service...and fish that was merely decent/good but at top prices...maybe it's a combination of them having an off night, and/or our tastes being different...

                  1. re: Simon

                    Been to Jewel Bako twice; Both times I sat at tables. Actually, both times I was in there the sushi bar was empty, even though there was a crush of people waiting outside.

                    By inconsistent, I meant that the quality differed from moment to moment. First they would give you a pice of Aji that was so fresh and pure tasting that you wanted to weep, but moments later, you would get a piece of uni that tasted like it was frozen and thawed five times before it was served.

                    Its also hard to take the Lambs seriously when they change business models every fifteen minutes. Jack's a nice, charming man, and one hell of a smart dresser.

                    Sorry that you didn't enjoy Gari. Did you sit at the bar? I have found that the front door can be rude, but the service once I am seated has always been good. Also, did you order omakase?

                2. masa is omakase ONLY. the best out-of-the-world food experience you'll have. tony bourdain calls it "better than sex."

                  which, as your anniversary, will probably follow for a nice comparison. no?

                  1. Three words, repeated three times:

                    Sushi of Gari

                    Sushi of Gari

                    Sushi of Gari