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