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Jun 24, 2007 04:08 AM

Sushi Seki-Upper East side

After hearing and reading mixed reviews about this longtime restaurant I decided to try for myself. My friend reserved the corner of sushi bar specifically 1 week in advanced but when we got there we were told a party of 4 needed more space-no big deal-we sat just adjacent to corner where head chef himself served us. The staff seemed very confused about who was going to wait on us and had no less than 3 people take our drink order which was fine. Now to the all important food review.I ordered squid pasta appetizer which was so so-nothing extraordinary and my partner the seaweed salad which I did not sample because it looked like any other seaweed salad. I then ordered the sushi-sashimi omakase and my partner the sashimi omakase.The party of four clearly from Japan ordered the same. For starters I was served only sahimi anticipating sushi would be forthcoming. The quality of fish was very mediocre and nothing special-such as dressed up versions you would expect from chef. Meanwhile the party next to us a a very vast array of different delecacies which we never even saw on our plates-I was getting a little confused so I asked Seki when I was being served my sushi-He said we were already served our dinner!! They then presented bill and omg! $350 for what I considered half of what I anticipated and after speaking aside w waitress, she said chef thought I only wanted sashimi although I was extremley clear of what I wanted. In retropsect I would have been totally satisfied had my fish been fresh and superb but totally not the case. I will not be going back-no comparison to Sushi of Gari or Sushi Yasuda!!!

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  1. I agree - I'm always disappointed by Sushi Seki - trying to be Gari, but not quite making it. And I always find the service to be inattentive. We tried Inase (1st Ave. between 82nd and 83rd) Friday night based on a CH rec, and I was quite impressed - not Gari or Yasuda, but much better than the cheaper sushi places we've been going to on the UES - Ichiro, and most recently Tenzan. I'll post a full report when I have more time.

    3 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      Yes Inase is very worthwhile and a definite sleeper. Better than Gajyumaru which is also touted sometimes as a more esoteric UES option.

      1. re: oonth

        Guyjumaru would be a good choice except the staff are so grumpy there i always feel like they are mad you came by for a meal!

      2. try tsuki (1st ave btw 74th and 75th). sounds like you are a purist as far as sushi/sashimi so tsuki is the place for you. they place an emphasis on quality fish. if you're looking for more fusion, tsuki is not the place. ambience is a little lacking but the meal/experience totally makes up for it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: nycgirl727

          I agree - Tsuki has excellent fish. It's just a little far afield for our weekday sushi dinners, so we don't go there often anymore.

        2. That is very odd. I eat there all the time and it is consistently extremely good.

          8 Replies
          1. re: sushiman

            I went to Seki last night for the first time. I was very underwhelmed. The sushi was good, but not really good or great. I am not one of those people who loves huge slabs of sushi and I know what size a piece of sushi should be, but these pieces were just SMALL. $10 for my tiny O-Toro and it wasn't melt in your mouth buttery like at Ushi Wakamaru. The thing was two knuckles long and only as thick as my finger. It was actually kind of tough. There was almost no white shrimp on my piece of rice either. And I think they threw in 2 pieces of sushi for free... they were in a small styrofoam container instead of in my order (and I didn't order them). Maybe they were trying to compensate for the small size and high prices. The rest of the fish was tasty, but at such ridiculous prices and small even by purist sushi standards, who cares? I can do much better. There is such a thing as a healthy medium.

              1. re: sushiman

                Ha! Yes... I have a feeling take out is especially miserable? And what a great username you have... I use this one for everything but damn that'd be the one I'd have otherwise.

                1. re: hamstrman

                  1-Take out is never going to be the same as being at the bar.

                  2-The fish will be too warm, the rice too cold and dry.

                  3-Nori will be soggy.

                  4-No chef is going to use his A fish for take out. None. It is a waste of good fish. Even for a good customer.

                  1. re: sushiman

                    I still stand by my statement that it was nowhere near great and ridiculously overpriced. I don't care what form the food is in, you don't serve customers food like that...

                    1. re: hamstrman

                      I second you! I will never go back after the horrible service and mediocre food!! Those who love it have no idea what good sushi is or should be!

                      1. re: UES Mayor

                        So all of the chefs that eat there including Jean-George, Emeril, Suga and Portale have no idea what good sushi is? And put up with bad service?

                        1. re: sushiman

                          I'm going on the impression that only the takeout is that bad (as you have indicated), but I still think that is horrible business practice. Just because you're not getting "the best", doesn't mean you shouldn't get really good food. It's sure expensive enough (and I ate at Yasuda and consider that fairly priced). But I suppose at this point, I'm just a broken record.

          2. I like Sasabune in that neighborhood.

            1. I have to completely disagree. Won't go into particulars, but I think it's absolutely delicious, portions have never been meager, and the service always good when I was there (I go about once every two months, so I'm no regular who gets special attention). Just wanted to throw my hat in the ring....

              5 Replies
              1. re: nattie23nyc

                I suspect that this is another of the restaurants that posters on this board have particularly varied opinions about! Have you tried Gari - just out curiosity? I do like the fact that Sushi Seki is open so late, and we sometimes go there straight from LaGuardia late at night when we have been sushi deprived for a while!

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Yes, have been to Gari, and it's top notch, I agree. But I seem to get out of Seki paying a little less, the ambiance is better (I was so crammed into a table at Gari it was a little silly), and I remember them rushing us out of Gari a bit, which never happens at Seki. I also like the special platter for one (or two) at Seki, which gets a lot of what Seki throws at you in the omakase, but for only $35 pp.

                  1. re: nattie23nyc

                    Seki and Gari live in 2 different universes....forget price differences, forget ambiance....sit at the bar at each & let your palate decide. Think you'll see that Seki is Readers Digest & Gari is Moby Dick.

                    1. re: drumwine

                      The new Zagat just came out and Seki is number 9 in the food ratings.

                    2. re: nattie23nyc

                      I agree that the room is much nicer at Seki - even after the renovation at Gari, which didn't do much for me - couldn't really tell what they did!