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Top 10 Manhattan Sushi

1.Yasuda
2.Kuruma zushi
3.Sushi of Gari (eastside)
4.Ushi Wakamaru
5.Shimizu
6.Jewel Bako
7.Kanoyama
8.Blue Ribbon
9.Kirara
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. hi...what/where is Kirara?

    4 Replies
    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'
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
        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: livetotravel

              you're kidding, right?

              1. re: mr_fro2000

                I agree with Mr. fro2000.

                1. re: Scrabble

                  third the disbelief at the mention of bond street.

                  not even worth the time it takes to TYPE this.

              2. 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

              3. 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.

                            3. My wife and I used to go to Taka all the time before Taka left to go back to Japan. Has she returned? Is the sushi still as awesome? We have been afraid to go and be dissapointed.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Gordognyc

                                Never went in the days of Taka and was cautious but was really impressed by the male sushi chef (although I saw an older Japanese woman working at the restaurant but not preparing food?). One memorable dish was a scallop/uni combo that was seared on a scallop shell. Really interesting.

                              2. Update-drop Jewel Bako, Blue Ribbon and Kirara and add Sasabune, Soto and 15 East and maybe Sushi Ann

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: guttergourmet

                                  What do you think of Kawa for casual and fresh?

                                  1. re: guttergourmet

                                    Awww, Jewel Bako and Kirara aren't in the top 10 any more? I have yet to go to either one! Are they still worth trying? 15 East seems unnecessarily expensive (like Kuruma, but unlike Ushi or Yasuda). Sasabune I was told was awesome but I live in Brooklyn, so that's too far uptown for me. Soto however, I will now add to my list. No Hedeh, Esashi or Sushiden? I have them on my list on good authority from Chowhounders... also, what are your thoughts on Sui and Mishima?

                                    1. re: hamstrman

                                      Jewel Bako is probably off the list because the chef went to 15 East.

                                      A friend of mine went to Jewel Bako last month, did the omakase, and confirmed that it wasn't very good (rice was wrong in his opinion).

                                    2. re: guttergourmet

                                      Agreed - Sasabune should be in there for sure. And 15 East. Gari is abit overrated

                                      1. re: dayzzd

                                        speaking of overrated...those of us in los angeles [or at least one of us!] would be interested to hear a sasabune opinion from someone who has eaten at the original location out here on the west coast...maybe the novelty contributes to its popularity in nyc, but for us it has definitely lost some of its lustre.

                                    3. Does anybody else think that Gari is overrated? I enjoy it when Im there and think the pieces are creative, but the creativity just overshadows the fact that the fish is really second tier.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: shisan

                                        Disagree and don't think their fish is second tier at all. Had a fantastic meal there this weekend ( see http://www.gobbl.com/blog/481 ) If anything, I was more bothered by Gari's concept of the "Omakase." When I order an Omakase, I want to feel like I am ordering something unexpected, as it's quite literally a ticket for the Chef to throw some creativity at you. Too bad my Omakase (which should really be renamed Tonights 10-Piece Sushi Special) looked just like the person's next to me, and the person's next to that person, and the person's next to that person...

                                        ---------------------------------
                                        You like to eats?
                                        http://www.gobbl.com

                                        1. re: druz99

                                          Love Yasuda et al, but we seek those mid-range places that offer high quality but aren't priced at the "once a year" level. Our current omakase places (total bill for two with tax, tip, drinks $130-$180):

                                          Ise on Pine St just did a really nice omakase for us, lots of creative sauces on the sushi and great fish. It is especially nice that the fish was all served at proper temperature (not too cold). We were stuffed after a sashimi/sushi omakase for $50 each.

                                          Shimizu is at the high end of the price range above but has fantastic fish and special stuff like baby abalone (served with its innards).

                                          Taro (Brooklyn) is our other favorite spot, charmingly grungy. Their omakase is now $50-$60, but you get quite a lot, good fish comes in from Japan every thursday.

                                          1. re: kenito799

                                            Actually, the sauce thing is the reason I quit Ise. When Yuji Sano (the oner of Taro) worked behind the bar the sushi was beyond belief. After he quit Masa took over and the sushi was still in top form. Now however that Masa is in charge of the kitchen and the bosses decided to cater to Western palates with this sauce nonsense...it went down hill fast.

                                        2. re: shisan

                                          I agree, shisan. Distinctively second-tier fish. I don't like Gari at all. The sauce is to cover up the taste.

                                          1. re: shisan

                                            I agree with you on that the fish is second tier since all of mine were cooked except for the boring tuna roll. Creativity just simply doesn't pop into my mind when I think of Gari unless creativity was all confined to the small drips of very forgettable sauces.

                                          2. i like japonica too, but i am somewhat of a sushi novice : )

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: kam0424

                                              meh. japonica is fine for a neighborhood joint, but there are many better places.

                                            2. Mizu sushi on 20th and Park.

                                              Sooo good. Especially if you sit at the bar.

                                              1. For all you sushi fans - a really fascinating article, if you haven't seen it already: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/fea...

                                                1. Inagiku's not often mentioned, but I was there for lunch yesterday and the uni was delightful.
                                                  Has anyone else had recent experience and what are the recommended dishes?

                                                  1. I like Yasuda, I'm going to Masa eventually. I've been to Blue Ribbon and Gari and quite frankly they don't measure up.

                                                    10 Replies
                                                    1. re: bigmackdaddy

                                                      Relatively novice in NY, but no mention of Tomoe? Why

                                                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                        Poor quality that's not worth waiting in line for.

                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                          Agreed. As soon as Ushi Wakamaru reopens around the corner I'm there.

                                                          1. re: guttergourmet

                                                            And I agree with you, guttergourmet. I'm right there with you at Ushi as soon as it opens. Does anyone have a date?

                                                            1. re: guttergourmet

                                                              Seems to me Ushi is quite empty now. I should try it. But I'm confused by people who don't like Tomoe; probably because Tomoe is too egalitarian while at Yasuda, the severity of decor, tiny delicate portions, and the prices makes one feel more special. You can get the freshest sushi possible at the Tsujiki fish market and I can tell you it will cost you just $40 for that pleasure; so you should seriously wonder what are you really paying for at Karuma and Yasuda. Let's not kid ourselves.

                                                              1. re: broccoli

                                                                Your paying for the cost of shipping perishables overseas, tariffs, insurance and ridiculously high Manhattan rents. I don't think the restaurants in Tsukiji incur most of these costs.

                                                                1. re: Ricky

                                                                  I agree but I don't think Japan is the world's sole supplier of "sushi grade" fish. If someone doesn't want to eat fish from the North Atlantic but prefers fish from off the coast of Japan or even fish from North Atlantic that is shipped to Tsukiji and sold to some agent who sends them back over to NYC, let them pay for the shipping and handling. But if I want to enjoy fish, I want a significant amount of my money going into fish and not for shipping nor for the experience of dining in a Zen-induced trance.

                                                                2. re: broccoli

                                                                  Ushi hasn't been empty the last few times I've gone (all post-renovation). In fact, it's been packed, and the poor hostess has to keep turning people away. Make a reservation if you plan to go.

                                                            2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                              FYI, deluca, Tomoe used to be a good sushi establishment back in the day -- maybe 5-8 years ago -- but it hasn't had good fish or rice for a while, now.

                                                              1. re: cimui

                                                                I'd even say Tomoe was still good 3 years ago. I remember eating there during my college years and it was still fantastic (before the head chef left). It was a year later that I went to get takeout and they wouldn't let me take out fish that I stopped going.

                                                          2. thoughts about Gajyumaru (1st ave/86 st) and Donguri (e 83 st)?

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: dadad

                                                              well donguri isnt a sushi restaurant although it is one of my favorite japanese restaurants, not sure why it doesnt get more acclaim, probably b/c of its location on the UES (aka far from everything)

                                                              their sesame tofu is the best version ive had anywhere, my gf and i always get two orders so we can have our own...food is generally just excellent across the board. Sort of reminds me of sugiyama's food

                                                            2. Sushiden (no need to double count two locations - although one next to Saks maybe bit more pleasant) should be on the list. It really helps that it is part of an established chain in Japan with good sourcing network - it allows for consistency and certain degree of standard.

                                                              even on an educated board such as this, you sometimes see people who still think of sushi as california/spicy tuna rolls - i have a place in my tummy for those too but for those I just go to East's half off Mondays.

                                                              Sasabune ain't sushi.

                                                              10 Replies
                                                              1. re: corporategrunt

                                                                Sushiden is solid but unremarkable. What's the knock on Sasabune?

                                                                1. re: guttergourmet

                                                                  Sasabune's shari is way too hot, it is one thing to do sosaku-zushi, but I see no reason in why they have to butcher that part.

                                                                  And I do believe there is a bit of a gap between what different clientele expect from their sushi experience. Is the list limited to counter dining or does it include eating at a table? Sasabune has done very well in LA and I do know people who are very fond of it over here, but I don't see too many Japanese ex-pats going there - for a straight up edo-mae sushi, I think Japanese people like Sushiden.

                                                                  Few honorable mentions I'd list are Ichimura (haven't been in a while and heard it may be closed?) and battera (nice to have every now and then) at Sushi-yu.

                                                                  1. re: corporategrunt

                                                                    Ichimura has closed. He lost his lease. The increase was just too much. The good news is that he intends on re-opening.

                                                                    Sushiden on 49th has amazing sushi. I guess it depends, like most places, if they know you and which chef you sit with.

                                                                    1. re: sushiman

                                                                      I'm not sure who you mean by "he", but according to the Japanese press, the main chef/owner (I'm assuming Ichimura) died suddenly about a year ago, and the chefs working under him have been scrambling to keep the business going. I'm sure it didn't help with the rent increase. I do hope they bring the old Ichimura formula and open up elsewhere.

                                                                      1. re: E Eto

                                                                        Matsui Hideki must be upset. Wasn't Ichimura his favorite NYC spot?

                                                                        1. re: E Eto

                                                                          Eiji Ichimura has passed away? A true loss for this city.
                                                                          I've enjoyed and greatly appreciated his work.

                                                                          1. re: E Eto

                                                                            I misspoke. I should have checked my sources before posting something like this, potentially spreading needless rumors. I was involved in a conversation with a group of Japanese folks in the restaurant industry and it was brought up in a "I thought I read that so and so passed away", and others seemed to corroborate a story of a sushi chef operating a restaurant on the east side passing away. It's not Eiji Ichimura as I had been led to believe, but it was someone else.
                                                                            I did get the correct story from a friend who worked at Ichimura about its closure. With rents increasing, Ichimura's business partner wanted to open a sushi place that has a wider appeal, than one dedicated to traditional edomae sushi. Ichimura didn't want part of that, so they parted ways.
                                                                            The best news of all is that Eiji Ichimura will likely turn up somewhere else in the near future.

                                                                            1. re: E Eto

                                                                              LOL-HE is most definitely not dead.

                                                                              1. re: E Eto

                                                                                So, does anybody know where Ichimura might be these days?

                                                                                1. re: matmons

                                                                                  No love for Seki?

                                                                    2. Does anyone here like Yama?

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: girllovesfood

                                                                        Deafening sound of crickets...

                                                                        1. re: girllovesfood

                                                                          One question that helped me decide is "Should tuna be flourescent pink?".

                                                                          1. re: girllovesfood

                                                                            The wife and I LOVE Yama

                                                                          2. Kanoyama is awful. I go back every few months after people put it on lists like these, but it is ALWAYS very very dissapointing and extremely overpriced. $15 for a single piece of not-good otoro? Please. The place is loud, crowded and don't sit by the door or you will be freezing the whole time.

                                                                            Yasuda is king.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: bhoxie

                                                                              I've had some off experiences but the last time was wonderful. www.chowhound.com/topics/509223

                                                                              1. re: bhoxie

                                                                                I'm glad to find someone who agrees with me about Kanoyama. $13-15 for a piece of fish which may, in theory, be perfectly legitimate if the value is there, but Kanoyama was just good, not great. So it's value is incredibly low in my book. And amount of food is certainly not TOO much of a consideration, I mean I love Yasuda with a fiery passion, but at Kanoyama I just couldn't justify the price-to-quality or price-to-portion ratios in my own mind. At Yasuda, they could increase the prices and I'd still go back for the heavenly experiences I have there at the bar.

                                                                              2. Sushi of Gari 46 or Shimizu? Going to the theater and wanted sushi in the area before hand. Thanks!

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: sharinski

                                                                                  No question in my mind: Shimizu

                                                                                  1. re: kobetobiko

                                                                                    I haven't been for a long time-is Shimizu still great?

                                                                                    1. re: guttergourmet

                                                                                      So does anyone have that update on Shimizu? I'm still interested to know if it's still great. I last went about a year ago and it was great stuff.