Is Kiriko much more expensive than Zo for omakase?
Last month 3 of us tried Sushi Zo for the first time due to the high praise on CH and loved it (we are NOT experts, however, and not familiar with Mori, Hiko, Nozawa, etc. and of course not Urusawa). We thought of trying Kiriko, also because it gets such consistent praise in these parts, but a recent post about $360 for 2 for an omakase was a little daunting. For three of us (female and not big eaters--maybe 10 pieces each???) at Zo we paid less than $150 before tax. How much more expensive is Kiriko for a comparable meal? Thanks.
Funny you should ask. I am still overstuffed from today's $75 omakase at Kiriko (not the one off the menu that I've also had that is about $30), which was in fact $25 more than the one I had at Zo about 6 weeks ago and posted about here.
Zo: every piece was a winner, although I discovered I am not a big fan of giant clam. I was served about 15 pieces of sushi including barracuda, butterfish, albacore, yellowtail, toro, bigeye tuna, spanish mackerel, giant clam, orange clam, scallop, premium mackerel, sweet shrimp, japanese mackerel and a blue crab roll as well as miso soup to start. Service was great and friendly.
At Kiriko, I got no soup or salad to start (which surprised me, particularly when the pair of diners next to me also ordered omakase and received both), and was served, among other things, bluefin tuna, big eye tuna, spanish mackerel, squid and unagi together, toro and scallion roll, sea scallop, seared eel, albacore, uni, seared japanese beef, house smoked salmon wrapped around mango, sweet shrimp, red snapper, halibut fin (which I did not like: taste was OK, but the texture felt like two miniature snakes wrestling in my mouth), a blue crab roll, and probably a couple of others that a food coma is preventing me from remembering. I had sesame ice cream for dessert. I'm not a big fan of the service at Kiriko -- the lunchtime server seems to hold me in contempt: has to be applied to for tea or water or dessert; never refills my drink; doesn't clear promptly, and most of the time does not give me a hot towel (though she did today).
Very different experiences. I actually preferred Zo, although the selections at Kiriko were a bit more outre than what I got at Zo. And it is cheaper.
I agree, Kiriko's deluxe sushi lunch is a great deal for top-notch fish.
Dinner, maybe not so much, depending on what sort of omakase you get. Cynaburst and I went to Kiriko last weekend--first time in quite a while, although when my office was around the corner I ate there at least monthly. I asked for omakase, she was less hungry and just ordered a few things and stole bites off my plates. The omakase tended toward luxury items, toro, ankimo and salmon with mango and caviar, a plate of tiny slices of expensive (but not very tasty) just-flown-in Japanese grouper, a pot of matsutake broth (delicious), sweet shrimp with the fried heads (those heads are not my favorite thing to order in a sushi meal, IMHO the fried taste hangs around on my tongue and clashes with the purer flavors of the other dishes), and a small serving of Japanese wagyu beef show-stoppingly seared with a blowtorch (fun, and full of fatty flavor, but not something I'd be running back for, although I joked with the chef that they should serve it as a 32-oz. porterhouse). Topped off with yuzu sorbet and sesame ice cream, both great as I remembered.
All good, but much of it felt like a package tour or a "greatest hits" meal rather than a selection of the day's best stuff--and the bill with tip was over $200 (I had a beer, she had green tea). Not bad for two people, really, except that Cynaburst ordered only 3 items. If we'd both had the omakase I would assume it would have been at least $300. I wasn't unhappy with anything (except maybe the grouper, which tasted like nothing except the ponzu sauce in which I was told to swish it). But I wouldn't call it a great price-to-quality value. Next time, I might try to steer the menu toward more nigiri and less show-offy stuff, although that could be difficult.
One very definite plus I noted, having not been in a while--the ice cream portions are bigger than they used to be!
I was the one who posted about the $360 meal for two. We had pretty expensive items on our omakase such as lobster, matsutake soup (yum!), kobe beef, blue crab, and blue fin otoro. We also had a lot of higher end sake. So this price is not indicative of what you would pay for just sushi and minimal amounts of alcohol. I don't know if you can get out for less than $50 each, but you'll come pretty close if you stick to ten pieces if nigiri and other items.
Finally tried the omakase lunch at Kiriko today. Wowee--I see what you mean. It's just up a whole level from Sushi Zo. Friend I was with has been to Urasawa--so he said if Urasawa is an A+ (grade not health rating of course), then he would rate Kiriko as an A (he has not been to Mori, Sasabune, or others of the ilk). He liked it so much he is going back tomorrow night (for his birthday dinner)! I can't decide what I liked best--every piece was so delectable. Blue fin tuna was incredible, scallop incredibly delicate, otoro (my first)--I see why it's so special--probably the albacore with the special sauce. He had the vanilla ice cream, I had ginger--the vanilla was probably the best I've ever had. Ken came out from the back and served us the ice cream himself. We were just thrilled with this lunch. I'm going back in two weeks with another friend.