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Sushi Yasu in Forest Hills

Dave_G Jan 20, 2007 09:10 PM

I've been to number of sushi places in Queens and this is by far my favorite. It's a little known sushi bar that's been open just over 2 years according to owner and sushi chef Yasuji Hirashiki. The neighbood folks that come in here must think it's their little secret, but it's not my neighborhood and I have no guilt revealing it.

Yasu has a lot of pride in what he does and it shows. He travels to Hunt's Point every day to select his seafood. On our visits so far we've had the Toro which is perfect. His scallops are of the "day boat" variety meaning they've never been frozen and they have a fresh texture and taste that you won't find in many other places. Yasu claims the scallops are so fresh you can see them moving. I didn't see it, but they were very good.

I admit to being a sucker for spicy tuna rolls and his are my favorite. He makes his own mayo-based spicy sauce in them--delicious. His Marilyn Monroe Roll is fantastic (despite it's name). It includes the aforementioned scallops, a number of other ingredients topped with a sauce that was a toasted mixture of uni and mayo--trust me it's really good.

The place operates as a small fish market with choice sushi cuts. If you're ordering a tuna steak be warned, they may give you a test and not give it to you if you fail. The correct anwser to this test is that the correct way to cook a tuna steak is to sear for one minute on each side.

Just a couple other warnings. Opening times vary and he usually opens late on Sunday. It's best to call ahead to make sure he's there. Also if there is traffic it will be a bit slow, because Yasu takes his time making sure everything is perfect. Also, please don't ask why the scallops are off-white and the fish shows a little blood (awnser: He doesn't use bleached seafood). And please, don't order the California Roll. I'm sure it's fine for what it is, but show a little respect for the chef.

On price/value - on our last visit our bill for the 2 of us was $44, about half or less what you'd pay for the same quality in Manhattan.

Sushi Yasu is a few blocks south of Queens Blvd at 71-45 Yellowstone Blvd in Forest Hills. Phone: 718-544-0942

  1. s
    slynnkiino Jan 21, 2007 06:54 PM

    I'm really looking forward to checking this place out--I've lived in Forest Hills for almost two years, but never knew it existed! Thanks for the tip.

    --Sarah
    http://www.avenuefood.com

    1. m
      moymoy Mar 20, 2007 06:44 PM

      I just tried Sushi Yasu tonight and I agree it's a very good sushi joint, especially for a neighborhood place. It has a bit of the "hole in the wall" feel but the sushi chef and hostess are so very warm and friendly. They gave me hot green tea as I waited for my takeout. I ordered 3 rolls: spicy tuna, toro w/ scallions & salmon skin and a small miso soup. It was too much food for me. All was very good and I will definitely go back. Although, I do have to say that I prefer my spicy tuna made in the traditional way (mashed up with the spices) Yasu's take is still pretty tasty.

      They are a true "mom & pop" so locals please give Sushi Yasu a try!

      1. m
        molace Mar 20, 2007 09:11 PM

        Yeah, I went there about a week ago. The owners were really nice and we talked a bit. It's used to be just a fish store, but they decided to make a sushi bar out of it. Big pieces, too. And I got a free snack as I was waiting for it to be made. I highly recommend it.

        1. Polecat Mar 23, 2007 12:43 PM

          Finally made it there today, and was glad I did.
          To its' credit, this small and welcoming place - apart from two variations of Miso Soup - does sushi and only sushi. No bentos with tempura and such, as is the case with many places in Queens, in particular the Bayside area. It's just a sushi place, nuts and bolts.
          I thoroughly enjoyed the Dragon Roll (topped with eel and special sauce) and the Salmon Skin Roll, in which the warm salmon skin played against the other elements to give it an almost smoky flavor, with great texture. Especially for the modest prices, this place is a gem, and I'm glad to have it in the neighborhood.
          Mental note for next visit: get the Marilyn Monroe, which, topped off by some very fresh looking scallops, kind of looks more like an amusement park ride than it does Norma Jean.
          P.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Polecat
            f
            FHResident May 5, 2007 09:30 AM

            Just wondering...do they deliver?

            1. re: FHResident
              m
              moymoy May 5, 2007 03:15 PM

              I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think so. Seems to be only the shusi chef and cashier on staff there.

            2. re: Polecat
              b
              bogeyone Nov 1, 2007 09:52 AM

              Yasu serves some of the freshest seafood I have ever eaten in Queens, let along the five boroughs. He picks his fish at the market daily (as opposed to purchasing from middlemen like the rest of the crappy sushi places in Forest Hills) and takes true pride in his craft. On my last visit there, I had the most amazing scallops (I ordered two pieces and he prepared them differently). He even cooked me up some special toro (free of charge!).

              If you're a scenester, you probably won't enjoy dining there, although the BYOB policy is awesome.

              I moved to Forest Hills about a year ago and have constantly bellyached about the poor quality of restaurants (especially Asian) in the neighborhood. It was quite a relief finding a great spot!

            3. j
              jennielap May 6, 2007 07:17 AM

              Based on recommendations we've seen, finally tries this place last week and were glad we did! Excellent fish, decent prices. We always do take out but I've just about had it with Mickeys. Every time we call, they tell us the wait will be at least 90 minutes. I understand sushi isn't fast food, but c'mon...

              1. e
                EricaEats Jul 19, 2007 08:14 AM

                Sorry to bump an old thread. I had lurked here a bit, and saw this recommendation for Sushi Yasu. I literally live up the block - so I gave it a try (the awning makes it look like just a fish store, despite the fact that it says "Sushi" on it.)

                I loved it. His fish is fresh, Yasu is a riot and his assistant always hooks me up with tea, salads and fresh fruit for dessert. I started bringing all my friends. I went about once or twice a week for the past month.

                The service is slow. Definitely. But - its just one guy, and he's entertaining, so I cut him some slack. Last night was the last straw.

                Myself and two friends came in, and sat down at the bar. There was only one other guy there, and he was leaving, so we were in luck. All of a sudden, a family of four comes in and I knew that was the end of us. After about 10 minutes, he takes all of our orders. Then, someone comes in for take-out, he takes their orders and gives it to them. A half hour later, we each get one roll. Some one else comes in for take-out, he takes their orders and gives it to them. He makes more rolls - leaves them unserved. Gives one or two to the other party. Does another take-out order. Sits another person. I get a roll, but not the other people in my party. Someone gets a miso soup. It goes on and on like this for TWO HOURS! He was just totally in the weeds. We didn't order anything complicated. Two rolls each, maybe? (and spicy tuna - nothing crazy.) After two hours, and we are still missing two rolls, we ask him if we can just go - don't worry about the rolls. He tells us that we are just missing one roll, and he can make it now. We show him that we actually ordered two, but it doesn't matter - we just want out (if he only thought we were missing one roll, WHAT was he waiting for? We were right in front of him at the sushi bar). He rings us up quickly and barely apologizes.

                I am so sad. I mean, I am upset about the bad service, but more sad that this awesome place really isn't so awesome. Two hours is insane. I will go back, but only as a take-out, because obviously - take-out gets precedent.

                And believe me, before this? I was a big tipper at this place. Even when once I was asked to tip (for take-out!) because they are operating illegally as a restaurant and could not put a tip on the credit card because they are only set up as a fish-seller.

                3 Replies
                1. re: EricaEats
                  p
                  pepper Jul 25, 2007 06:42 AM

                  I went there a few weeks ago for take out. It was ok but I thought not up to par with Mickey's.

                  Probably won't be back.

                  1. re: pepper
                    p
                    pepper Jul 27, 2007 07:03 AM

                    Responding to my own post. Went back yesterday after driving by Mickey's and seeing it was closed.

                    It was very good quality. Not awesome but for the price it is a good deal.

                    I have it back on the list.

                    1. re: pepper
                      EricMM Nov 1, 2007 03:08 PM

                      Mickey's is now open in Bayside...Jennifer called me to say that they were finally open. Its at 40-17 Bell Blvd, 718-224-8152. Haven't been there yet...I really miss having great sushi in the neighborhood. I buy seafood at Yasu...best scallops I can find, also organic king salmon. I've eaten his sashimi and sushi..it is very good...but I have a craving for Mickey's mirugai and monkfish liver....

                2. d
                  dank Dec 5, 2007 04:47 PM

                  hey all, this is my first post but i have done a lot of browsing.

                  as everyone has said before this place has super fresh fish and the guy is real nice with helping you figure things out.

                  i absolutely love that this place has Toro on a regular basis (best fish in my opinion) and his scallops are very delicious.

                  not for people who want an all-encompassing japanese food experience but for those who love and appreciate fresh fish.

                  1. f
                    fiammetta Dec 12, 2007 08:30 AM

                    I went for the first time the other day. I'm only a few blocks away but had never really wandered that way, if you can imagine. Lord, I'm glad I've found this place. No, it isn't all-encompassing for my sushi needs. But it's good, and much fresher than all those places on Queens Blvd, and I suspect I'll be making my way to Yasu whenever a craving hits, which is pretty frequently.

                    Everyone needs to try the Marilyn Monroe roll. I tried to order a little toro but he said, pretty frankly, that it wasn't so good that day so I had some lovely tuna instead.

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