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Bond Street Question

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Get In My Belly Nov 21, 2006 02:43 PM

I have a gift certificate for Bond Street, and would like to take my GF for dinner tonight.

I'm a little confused as to the set-up though.
There seems to be at least 2 or 3 "levels", with the top floor being more "fancy" sit down and downstairs being more of a loungy sushi bar?

is this correct?

do I need reservations for both upstairs and downstairs?

thanks in advance.

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    sam1 RE: Get In My Belly Nov 21, 2006 03:05 PM

    I prefer the upstairs to the downstairs but in all honesty, I think you may be truly disappointed by Bond Street. Despite the hype and celeb scene of a few years ago, the quality of the food was much, much better. Once the chefs left (some went to Cube 63), the food has been ultra disappointing and definitely not worth the money.

    Service still thinks they are a hip restaurant.

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      alyssi RE: Get In My Belly Nov 21, 2006 03:15 PM

      I haven't been in over a year, but last I was there you did not need reservations downstairs. Downstairs is more of a lounge / bar atmosphere, with little tables and stools - not proper tables. Upstairs or down depends on what you're looking for - downstairs is a lot more laid back (and more fun, imo). Perfect if you want to grab drinks and a bite to eat, not great if you're looking for more of a dining experience. Sounds like some of the chefs left since I've last been, but I've always enjoyed the sushi in the past (though not authentic, it's fun) and had a good time downstairs.

      1. f
        Fallon RE: Get In My Belly Nov 21, 2006 08:05 PM

        I recently ate at Bond Street after a long hiatus. Full disclosure-my mom is Japanese & lives in Japan. She hates everything-I've taken her to Yasuda (the Uni wasn't fresh-Yasuda admitted it), Nobu (Not Japanese), Honmura An (Soup doesn't taste right-where is the chef from? It turned out he was from Kuala Lumpur), Gari (hated it)... I think you get the picture. She does like Sapporo East bc of the comfort food selections but not a big fan of the sushi there. Anyway, she is visiting now & I took her to Bond Street. We ate upstairs. She complained bitterly that it was too dark. She complained that she couldn't see the fish at the sushi bar when I ordered for her. She complained she couldn't see the sushi when it arrived at our table due to the one candle provided. She took a bite of the lobster sashimi I got for her & wolfed the rest down. Devoured the Uni, Tai, Hirame & Magura (she doesn't like the fatty stuff). Later she made her way downstairs to check out the sushi bar & chatted up the sushi chefs. She was very pleased. Mom ran a fish store in Japan for 20 years. She knows her fish & she knows if it's fresh or not-just seeing Yasuda back down when she inquired "Is it fresh?" was worth the uncomfortable moment. Bottom line-she liked Bond Street-they served her fresh fish. She was miffed they did not carry Akagai but I have been unable to find it anywhere in Manhattan. If someone knows a sushi joint that has it & it is fresh, please post a reply. Thanks.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Fallon
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          Simon RE: Fallon Nov 21, 2006 08:27 PM

          Your mom sounds awesome!...i want to have sushi with her!...i've never been to Bond St, but maybe now i'll give it a shot...

          Have you taken her to Ushi Wakamaru?...i'd imagine she'd love it, and it'd be fun to pit her against Hideo-san, the chef/owner there...

          1. re: Simon
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            Fallon RE: Simon Nov 21, 2006 08:38 PM

            I actually have never heard of Ushi Wakamaru. I'll do a little research on the place to see if I should take her. I forgot to mention she liked the lobster sashimi at Blue Ribbon Sushi as well but derided their famous miso soup selections. I also took her to
            Sakagura & while she liked the lobster tempura roll special she complained bitterly about their pickle selection & said the stock they use for their ramen was awful. Last but not least-took her to lunch at Shaburi on 39th Street yesterday for skiyaki. She liked the meat they used, liked the broth ok, but complained they didn't use Yammi noodles & only gave her one green onion that was way to big for an old woman w/bad teeth to chew. She also detected chinese cabbage & carrots in the broth & proclaimed the place wasn't really Japanese. On our way out I asked the waiter, who turned out to be chinese, and he told me it was a Taiwanese run business with a Japanese menu. Old mom was right again...

            1. re: Fallon
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              Simon RE: Fallon Nov 21, 2006 11:46 PM

              Ushi Wakamaru has been reviewed a lot here (a search will yield dozens of posts)...many nights it's mostly Japanese customers, but occassionally it's up to 50% gaijin...i've only had stellar meals there sushi-wise -- and last summer they had an abundance of wonderful hamo...if you go, request to sit in front of Hideo-san...

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          alyssi RE: Get In My Belly Nov 21, 2006 08:49 PM

          Thanks for the great review - happy to hear this about Bond Street. I've always just ordered a couple rolls w/ drinks downstairs - always enjoyed it but never thought to try many of the pieces or go for a full dinner upstairs. Look forward to visiting Bond Street again now.

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            hardcore RE: Get In My Belly Nov 21, 2006 11:19 PM

            went to bondst recently and had a very good meal....this board has always been a little dismissive of attractive rooms with attractive servers attractive clientele etc...It's a legitimate two star restaurant....Don't know where you heard the chefs left..Hiroshi has been the sushi chef from day one...Linda Rodriguez has handled the hot food from the opening as well...she is leaving soon but not quite yet.....the sushi is very fresh and very good...some of the hot food like the soba nomi risotto is exceptional but some dishes are less enticing....service is professional and informed...not great wines but one of the best sake lists in town...the ambiance on the top floor is downtempo...the second floor is younger and louder and the lounge is a very crowded, singles scene....so, are you looking for energy or intimacy?

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              rluczak RE: Get In My Belly Nov 22, 2006 10:25 AM

              Ha! Had a hankering recently and attempted to go this weekend . . . I was completely thrown off by the new apartments they're building and literally thought they'd bought Bond St out (given the prices for the new apratments, I wouldn't have been surprised!) Guess I didn't look hard enough (have to memorize: 6 Bond St, SIX . . . . ) and we ate around the block at the bar at Hedeh. Nice looking place, attentive staff, but the sushi was mediocre. Their siganature roll, the fois gras roll, was ill conceieved (but I should have know better.) It was early on a Sat night but their fish selection seemed very limited. Chicken skewer app was bland. Had a nice cocktail menu but seemed to be out of the ingredients to mix half of them.

              Now that I know Bond St hasn't been co-opted (get it?) I'll be back there instead!

              2 Replies
              1. re: rluczak
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                FattyDumplin RE: rluczak Feb 15, 2007 06:53 PM

                Anyone been recently? Was thinking about going tomorrow night, but reviews seem rather mixed...

                Also, at Ushi Wakamaru, is Hideo-San the younger man or one of the two older men at the counter?

                1. re: FattyDumplin
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                  surly RE: FattyDumplin Feb 16, 2007 01:54 AM

                  haven't been to bond street's upstairs dining room in at least 4-5 years, but i never liked the food, atmosphere, and attitude. i can deal with deficiencies in the latter two if the food is up to par (and justifies the prices), but i was always underwhelmed with both the raw fish and prepared/cooked selections. i think fallon got really lucky on that particular visit to this place - i never had an experience like that. maybe it really does help to have a japanese parent.

                  the downstairs lounge is more my speed, but it's certainly not the type of place where you'd go for a full sit-down dinner, as another poster has mentioned - and it still has plenty of attitude to boot, despite not having been a hotspot since about 1999 or so. someone should really tell management that leo and gisele stopped going there years ago. anyhow, i haven't been to the lounge area since last year, but it can be a decent place to have some light bites with your sake, beer, or (expensive) cocktails if you're in the mood. the key phrase here is "in the mood". the crowd can be very pretentious on some nights and laid-back on others, and the waitstaff can be arrogant and/or aloof.

                  really, the only reason i ever go at all (maybe once a year) is because i do like their little semi-private booths/nooks, which are a nice spot for a group to hang out. i actually tried to reserve one of these nooks for a friend's bday a few years ago - our group was to consist of 8 people, and the friend wanted a place that could accommodate a party of our size and that had a downtown/trendy sort of atmosphere - and the guy on the phone said, without hesitation, that he'd require a $75 minimum order per person, plus a 20% gratuity, to hold the table. i'd also have to fax my name and CC info in order to reserve the booth. this was a bit much for me, so i declined; $75 (plus tip) *per person* for a lounge? no thanks. plus, i'd walked into the place in the past w/o an rsvp and had no problem getting seated at these nooks, so i figured we'd make other plans and then walk in on the birthday night and try our luck.

                  sure enough, we ended up going to the bond st. lounge late in the evening on the birthday night and snagged the booth w/o a reservation, but not after enduring some more of their b.s. i'm actually amazed i went back to this place afterwards, but again, the only thing that draws me back are those booths for the occasional group get-together.

                  as for ushiwakamaru, hideo is the middle-aged, somewhat stocky man with the shaved head and no facial hair. he has kind of a round face and is very friendly/smiley. great guy, and a very talented sushi chef. definitely request to be seated in front of him at the sushi bar when you rsvp - it pays to develop a good relationship with accomplished sushi chefs. not to mention, the only time i ever got the botan ebi (live shrimp) was when i was seated in front of him; he was joking around with my dinner companion and me for much of the night, and at one point asked us what we wanted. i said, "what about the botan ebi? you guys never have that." sure enough, he plucked two live shrimp out of the tank, and in a matter of about ten seconds turned them into delectable pieces of sashimi.

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