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Non-NOBU sushi?


My husband and I have been eager to get a taste of manhattan's finest sushi, but aren't sure whether to believe the hype (or pay the price) for Nobu. Any other suggestions? This is a last-minute trip (we just decided today to leave tomorrow), so we won't have much lead time for reservations, but would happily dine at an off hour, and sunday/monday are options, too.

Money is less of an object than it should be...

Thank you thank you!


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  1. Blue Ribbon Sushi doesnt take reservations and is open til late hours.

    I try to avoid their sashimi a la carte (with the exception of the otoro), and instead head to their specials where they have whole fishes of 6-10 pieces of smaller sashimi at a much better price, or their appetizers list, where you'll get some interesting combinations.

    My favorites, subject to availability:
    kanpachi usuzukuri - sliced amberjack in very light ponzu sauce, served with ground yuzu peppers
    wild horse mackarel - whole horse mackarel, with quite a surprise.
    santa barbara uni on the shell - every regular sushi place's uni will taste gross after this. But I believe it's only available in winter.
    amaebi - sweet, fresh shrimp, with the fried heads as a dessert.

    I actually have some pictures, but alas, chowhound has disabled them.

    Enjoy your stay.

    1. For great sushi with no reservations I suggest Le Miu in the East Village. The place itself is really laid back and the fish is fantastic!

      1. Nobu doesn't do sushi all that well. It is more known for their cooked dishes. Best sushi choices in my opinion would be Yasuda or 15 East. Sit at the bar in both places. Not sure if you'd be able to get a reservation at either place this late, but if you choose to eat on the early side, say pre-7, I'd say you'd have a much better chance. Next tier down, I'd recommend Kanoyama on 2nd ave and 11th street. They do not take reservations but they usually have a good and varied selection of fish.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ESNY

          Agree with ESNY....Nobu is not about sushi (GREAT black cod in miso though)...most creative sushi in the city is Sushi of Gari...get the omakase at the bar...guarantee delight...suggest going to the original location at E.78th bet. 1st & York Aves.

        2. And if you want a Japanese experience, consider Sugiyama. Kaiseki-style with a range of options. Nice presentation and great flavor.

          1. Le Miu is staffed by two ex-Nobu chefs who do "new style" sashimi. For more traditional offerings, I'd go elsewhere. Sushi of Gari is also "new style" and more experimental sushi, so it might not be what you're looking for.

            I like Kanoyama a lot but it's definitely not in the same league as, say, Yasuda. It does, however, take reservations, but only for Sunday through Thursday.

            1 Reply
            1. re: kathryn

              Sushi Sasabune on 73rd Street just east of 1st Ave. It's omakase and a la carte after. The crab rolls are unbelievable!

            2. I tend to sound like a broken record on requests like this, but here goes:

              Ushiwaka Maru - sit at the sushi bar in front of Hideo-san (the owner) and do Omakase. It's a serious place. No spicy tuna rolls. I think it's half as good as Masa at 1/5th the price.


              2 Replies
              1. re: Andrew P.

                would you really say half as good?

                You don't go to Nobu for their sushi.

                Ushiwakamaru is one of the best you can do. Yasuda is not the ONLY name in town. If you can afford Nobu, you can afford Kurumazushi. Hatsuhana is also very good, as is Sushiden. You'd have a great time at Sushi Seki. Esashi and kanoyama too. Or try Shimizu.

                I highly recommend Sugiyama, where some of the best sushi and sashimi will be part of the overall stellar, authentic experience

                1. re: raji212

                  Ushiwakamura is the best sushi place imho. after going there, i won't eat sushi anywhere else. and very reasonably priced.

              2. I know everyone already said it-trust us nobu not about sushi-go to sushi yasuda 43rd between 2nd and 3rd-

                1. YumYummy!

                  Ditto on Nobu and sushi...

                  You could try Koi at the Bryant Park hotel. You probably do need reservations, but they are usually easy to get. It's kind of a trendy place and the sushi pieces aren't that big, but they are fresh and always very tasty. Also they do a killer seafood miso soup. Have a good trip and PS-I love your screenname!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: BW212

                    yumyummy asked about "Manhattan's finest sushi"...REPEAT....Sushi of Gari

                      1. re: drumwine

                        YES YES I do prefer the UES location. Sit at the bar and order the omikase ( different price levels that you can choose)

                    1. What about lunch at Masa? It's $40 for omakase. Anyone been there for lunch?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: traceybell

                        That's just a standard sushi lunch which costs $20 at says Yasuda or Shimizu. that's not the way to try out manhattan's finest sushi

                        1. re: traceybell

                          Jewel Bako does a great Chef' Omakase I think it was 50.00- on 5th St..bwt 2nd and 3rd aves.

                          Masa for 40.00 is a bargin..

                        2. If you want a little better idea about Yasuda, I wrote this review a little while ago.


                          I reccomend it above all other places, hands down.

                          1. Japonica can serve you everything the others can. The atmosphere is not as posh, and you'll be dining with both students and celebs who live in the neighborhood. But I love that place. Try OpenTable and see what is available at the various sushi places.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: brendastarlet

                              For much better in that neighorhood, try Kanoyama or my true stellar sleeper, Esashi. I hear 15 East is good too but I have evaluate personally.

                              1. re: raji212

                                I went to Esashi about a week ago for the first time, and I have to say I was very happy with my sushi. For the price it has to be one of the best sushi values in the city. Not expensive at all, and very, very good.

                                Will go back.

                              2. re: brendastarlet

                                Japonica is wonderful, and although the decor isn't souped up it is still lovely. Totally undermentioned on these boards, which may not be such a bad thing. :)

                              3. Echoing what others have said, Nobu is not the place for sushi. I've really been underwhelmed there. I would recommend Shimizu. Even at prime time, I've never had any trouble getting in.

                                1. I think you should go to Sumile - 13th between 6 and 7th ave. The sushi is soooooo good. I had one of the best spicy tuna and avocado hand rolls I have ever had. I recently ate here and had the tasting menu which is kaisaki style. So there were many courses of asian inspired dishes and then courses of sushi and sashimi. It was really fantastic.

                                  1. Shimizu. Sit at the bar. Shimizu is working all the time and he'll make you a very good Omakase. It's one of my favorite eating experiences in NYC. Enjoy!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: JeremyEG

                                      Me too. There is an understated elegance to Shimizu-san's sushi, much like his face and smile!

                                    2. I'm a fan of Bond St. and you can usually sit downstairs w/o reservations. That being said, it's much more of a "scene" than serious sushi place.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: BigTyme

                                        Bar Masa in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle would be my clear choice. The lunch deal is great but dropping in during the evening is also wonderful. The waitress we had was very knowledgeable about the menu and helped us construct a terrific evening. Top ingredients and subtle cooking.

                                        If $ are no problem, then go to its mother ship "Masa" next door. I haven't done it but the place is a shrine of Japanese cooking -- top rated by the NY Times. Could be >$300 per person, however.