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Aug 24, 2006 05:18 PM

Top 10 Manhattan Sushi

2.Kuruma zushi
3.Sushi of Gari (eastside)
4.Ushi Wakamaru
6.Jewel Bako
8.Blue Ribbon
10. Sushi seki

Many others deserve honorable mention. Caveat is that I have not yet been to Masa for which I am saving my yen:).

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    1. re: Simon

      33 Carmine Street-Village-good quality great value small place-similar to Taka on Grove which could've also made the list.

      1. re: guttergourmet

        Since you mention Taka I will reproduce my report from last night from a related thread. I have always liked Taka more as an everyday place...can't afford Yasuda splurges too often. Interested in hearing what other people think.

        'best sushi high end best sushi day to day'
        Everyday candidate: Taka (Grove at 7th Ave


        We ate there last night and had app special ($12): 2 perfect tiny kumamoto oysters with a touch of yuzu and scallion, asparagus with miso, and ankimo in ponzu (a bit salty)

        Chef's selection sashimi ($30) is a great selection of textures and flavors and a good value, I think: toro (melt in your mouth delicious), tuna, white tuna, jack mackerel, seared amberjack, chopped hamachi ball in flying fish roe, sockeye salmon, scottish salmon rolled with cucumber in daikon, sweet shrimp including the fried head, fluke, giant clam, octopus. Served with real wasabi.

        Everything was fresh and very good. Got some uni too and it was also good.

        1. re: kenito799

          And I'll reproduce my reply to your post from the other thread:

          I'm so glad you posted about Taka. I was there Friday night, and I'm starting to get worried because there always seem to be so few customers there. I was a fan of this place when Taka-san was the chef; after she left, I have to admit, I think it's gotten even better. The fish is impeccably fresh, and I love the traditional modest-sized pieces. And the fresh wasabi, of course (I think they only give you the fresh-grated stuff at the sushi bar; tables get the paste, I believe). One tiny quibble: Sometimes the fish is a little too cold. Other than that, this place is perfect.

          I've been reluctant to post about Taka because I enjoy being able to walk in and sit right down without waiting, but I do think he could use more customers, especially those who appreciate the traditional style of sushi. Although you can get the silly roll creations there, too.

        2. re: guttergourmet

          You need to tell me what you're doing to get good sushi at Kirara. I've been numerous times (though not within the past eight months or so) and it's always been mediocre to poor. Are you slipping extra 20s under the table? ;)

      2. Ay Caramba!

        Don't tell too many people about Kanoyama. I want to be able and sit at the sushi bar without a long wait! The Omakase there is the best I've had in NYC.

        1. My sentiments exactly. Pretty much right on the money with that list. I've got the same caveat though. Please post when you finally go to Masa and let us know where it falls in terms of Yasuda (nigiri for nigiri). I could do without foie gras shabu shabu.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Porthos

            Masa's nigiri was ethereal, but I feel that Yasuda is in the same league. Moreover, Yoshi at Yasuda (whom I prefer to Yasuda himself) is much more friendly than Masa and his chefs...

            1. re: millefeuille

              I love Yasuda. I've had Yoshi before and he's good, but Yasuda is a character. He definitely plays favorites. If you get him talking, you'll never be rushed.

          2. I won't quibble about who you selected, but will express dismay that you excluded Bond Street and Nobu - both places where I would use the word ethereal.

            And what about Sushi-Ann on 51st?

            4 Replies
                1. re: Scrabble

                  third the disbelief at the mention of bond street.

                  not even worth the time it takes to TYPE this.

              1. re: livetotravel

                Sushi Ann is very good

                Nobu and Bond St - sushi is garbage at both places...Nobu has some reasonable regular dishes, but sushi is very poor

              2. Agreed that this is a good list (is it meant to be top 10 in that particular order or just top 10 in no particular order?). Since arriving in New York 13 months ago, I have had various #1 sushi spots including Ushiwakamaru, Yasuda and Sushi Seki.

                At the moment, I think that Kanoyama (unfortunately no longer a sleeper) may be top of the pile and this week I ate there and at Yasuda on successive nights and found myself overall preferring Kanoyama (although the Russian uni at Yasuda is one of the best sushi items in this city period and I do like the whole set up at Yasuda including the nuances between varieties of fish/sea creature from the same family and the fact that it is fine value for upscale sushi - have never paid more than $75 per head there for decent amount of food and sake). At Kanoyama, I love the more obscure fish selections on offer and people should check out the section entitled "Fish Facts" on the website. They should also check out a book simply entitled "Sushi" which is kept near the till. Not that cheap mind - I spent $90 per person there this week and didn't eat or drink excessively (11 pieces nigiri and one glass sake).

                By way of revising the list I would definitely find a space for Ebisu (at the expense of Blue Ribbon or Kirara, the former losing marks on the basis that you can't sit at the counter and do omakase) and other recent favourites vieing for a place in the top 10 are Lure in SoHo (a sceney fish restaurant with an excellent, more often than not deserted, sushi counter at the back manned by very friendly Japanese chefs), Ise (way downtown Pine Street), Taro (Park Slope, Brooklyn - set up by a former Ise chef so similar quality except for giveaway prices) and Lan which surprisingly for a restaurant more renowned for its cooked food, and in particular its beef dishes, offers a very interesting and seriously delicious sushi selection (although again not cheap, I dropped $125 per person there a couple of weeks back although did order primarily off the "fish from Japan" menu and supped a fair bit of sake).

                I have to confess to never having been to Masa or Jewel Bako but have sampled Bar Masa and Jewel Bako Makimono both of which were massively underwhelming and expensive to boot. Jewel Bako I will probably try at some point (on the basis that my only experience to date of a Jack Lamb eatery was a very positive one) even though it seems to divide opinion like few other places do. Kuruma Zushi's a bit of a mystery to me -I went there one Saturday lunchtime last summer and dropped $150 in the space of 30-40 minutes on fish from Japan -it was certainly good (although not divine) but overall was far too "clinical" for my liking and offered zero value for money.

                I'm going to post separately about the cost of sushi at the various places mentioned - in this respect it always interests me to compare my own experiences with those of others posting on this board.

                13 Replies
                1. re: oonth

                  Agree with you on Ebisu though I had one bad meal there and have been gun shy since. I'd also add Le Miu on Avenue A but haven't been there enough to rate it. This was an attempt to rank but on any given night things could be better or worse.

                  1. re: guttergourmet

                    i used to be an Ebisu regular three or so years ago, but had repeated problems there and regrettably had to put it on the no-go list...

                    1. re: guttergourmet

                      Out of interest what were some of the other places you felt deserve an honourable mention?

                      I have been to Ebisu 3-4 times in the last month alone and have encountered consistent excellence (both at the counter and at tables) and all for $60-70 per person each time so excellent value. I would give it another go and try the o-toro/bonito in ponzu and the battera sushi amongst other things.

                      Le Miu I have been to a few times and feel that it has gone from exalted to merely good in quick time. The sushi I find to be solid rather than stellar (no esoteric fish selections either if that's your preference) but there are raw bar novelties and cooked items that were very good but now seem a bit more pedestrian.

                      A couple of other worthwhile places come to mind - Esashi and the mini sushi counter in Bouley Upstairs. This is fast becoming a top 20!!

                      1. re: oonth

                        I really enjoyed Le Miu when it first opened - sorry to hear it's gone downhill!

                        1. re: oonth

                          Taka is sadly gone. Ushi Wakamaru is still not reopened, I got shut out of Kanoyama and didn't want cooked dishes so passed on Soto and Lan and wound up in Le Miu. One of the former Nobu 57 chefs served me the royal raw platter which was magnificent. All sashimi- 3 oysters, 2 kinds of clams, toro tartare, o-toro with fried garlic, yellowtail with different toppings, lots of uni, a large bloody mary oyster shooter, botan ebi and an entire lobster sashimi. lots of caviar, different infused ikura and even gold leaf! The lobster head and claws were then cooked in a wonderful saffron broth. One last piece of uni sushi seared for dessert and my favorite sake-wakatake junmai ginjo and I was happy. The chef,not sure if it was Matsunaga or Shoji, claimed to have trained half of the more celebrated sushi chefs in the city. Enjoyed talking "shop" with him immensely.

                          1. re: guttergourmet

                            i do like le miu, i think its underrated...although it doesnt compare to the top places when it comes to sushi

                            1. re: guttergourmet

                              So how does one get barred from Kanoyama?

                              Also, are Lan and Soto worth trying if I don't want to have any cooked food at all?

                              1. re: hamstrman

                                Kanoyama always too crowded-tiny bar. The sushi is great at Soto and very good at Lan but you should try the outta sight prepared dishes too, especially at Soto.

                        2. re: oonth

                          Thanks for these tips--have always liked Ise and I can't wait to get to Taro and check it out.

                          1. re: kenito799

                            Yes definitely check out Taro, you won't be disappointed.

                            Just read your post above - I've only been to Taka once but was disappointed, maybe I need to give it another shot.

                            As for Yasuda, I've been there 5 times and each time spent no more than $75 per person and have been nicely sated (this week that got me a shared appetizer, 10 or 11 pieces of nigiri, some green tea ice cream and two shared small carafes of sake). Other posters here seem to end up spending a lot more than this on their Yasuda visits - is that your experience?

                            1. re: oonth

                              Yeah, my Yasuda visits have varied between $120-$160 per person. Then again, I usually consume 20 pieces of sushi, have 2 appetizers, and 1-2 orders of sake.

                              1. re: oonth

                                Yes, we couldn't resist the Yasuda blow-out the one time I was there, each had 6 pieces sashimi, 20 pieces nigiri, shared 3 carafes saki, came to $350 with tax/tip for 2 people...really excellent and worth the money!

                            2. re: oonth

                              i had omakase at the original jewel bako years ago within the first few months it was open, and it was one of the best meals of my life.