Jewel Bako: mad sushi or mad prices?
I'm trying to clarify some mixed feelings and reviews about whether or not the quality of the sushi at Jewel Bako it's worth the money. Any sushi experts (preferably native sushi eaters) out there who have visited Jewel Bako and care to offer an opinion? Any suggestions for alternatives are also welcome.
I'm planning to take my Japanese friend there and before I'm relieved of quite a few crispy bills I'd like to find out if I'm also risking being totally embarassed.
We seem to be in the minority but (and we've been to Japan though my favorite sushi has been in LA) we went to Jewel Bako once and didn't see why it created any excitement. The service seemed patronizing as they explained what things like "toro" are, and though the fish was fresh enough, nothing was memorable or, to our mind, worth anything like what it cost. It's not traditional but the original Sushi of Gari might be a fun outing. I'm really happy at our neighborhood place, known both as Tora and Edo on 7th Ave. South below Bleecker. The special rolls are delicious and so is everything else. It's not fancy but very good. There's another place east of us that begins with a "K" and was great also, on 12th St. and 2nd or 3rd Ave.
Jewel Bako serves very nicely done sushi with great quality (and some unusual for U.S. sushi bars) fish. It is horrifically expensive, but so are the really good places. Take it easy on the marked up sake and it's not so bad. What might make it fun for your Japanese friend is the very New York-y, scene environment at Jewel Bako combined with the high quality of the food. At peak hours it is VERY noisy, be warned. For straight, great sushi without the NY flair you'd be better off at Sushi Yasuda (although you will pay as much there!).
I just wondered if the above comments are based on recent visits? After the closure of JB Makimoto, and the opening of Degustation in part of the expanded JB space, a reduction in prices was announced. I haven't been back, but I'd be surprised if it's now still in the Yasuda price league. Also, when I've dined in Degustation, it has seemed far from noisy next door.
Maybe I'm wrong - I'd certainly like to know.