Sushi Yasu in Forest Hills
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
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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!
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.
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.
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!