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Oct 19, 2007 10:08 AM

15 East (Review)

Last night we made it to 15 East for the first time - out for dinner with a visiting Mexican colleague of my husbands. We had a reservation for a table.

Since I have the receipt - here's what we had:

Kasumitsuru (warm) ($16) - my husband enjoyed it and particularly liked the presentation of the sake in the beaker, set into a water bath so that it would stay warm.

Sancerre Vacheron (2 bottles - $60 each) - my pick - thought it a safe choice since I didn't know the taste of our guest.


Kumamoto Oysters - very light hint of a drop of some kind of sauce - excellent, but not quite as good as the oysters at Yasuda

Sashimi and Tartare of Blue Fin Tuna with creamy caviar sauce - this was a very interesting dish, because the tartare was served at room temperature and so you actually got a lot more of the flavor of the tuna, in a good way and it was well complemented by the drizzle of sauce on the plate

Kakiage - tempura "pancakes" with dried shrimp and some vegetables, served with three seasoned salts - green tea, chile, and something else - all enjoyable

Main Course:

Sashimi "Omakase" - two of us had this - the $55 one - obviously not true omakase, and the menu said this came with ten pieces - fortunately it was 10 types of fish - with two or three small pieces each - standouts - the octopus - the most tender I've ever had, sweet shrimp, toro - I think it was medium fatty.

Sushi "Omakase" - also ten pieces - not quite sure what they were, but it included a lovely dish of salmon roe, much to my husband's delight.

A la carte:

2 pieces uni sashimi - looked beautiful, husband said it was excellent.
Then three pieces each of sushi:

Negitoro (toro and scallion roll)
Kampachi (Amberjack)
Unagi (Freshwater eel)
Sawara (Spanish Mackerel)

Particularly enjoyed the amberjack and the eel. Check was just south of $600 w/ tip. Service was excellent, attentive but unobtrusive. I enjoyed seeing the different dishes that they used for the dishes, and the look of the room as a whole - a nice variety of textures with a serene but earthy feel to it. Place was pretty empty at 7 pm and not that much fuller at 9 when we left.

Verdict - Yasuda is better, but the quality of the fish here was v. high, and we enjoyed the variety of interesting appetizers - particularly the innovative tartare and the those pancakes. I would go back, but not on my own dime - I think it's pretty hard to manage the cost here, unless you have a small appetite (which we don't). We usually spend a little more than $200 for two at Yasuda and Gari.

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  1. I wrote about my experience here in another recent thread, I had the same overall feel for 15 East as you, though I didn't try any of ther apps.

    I walked in well after 9 on a weeknight and while there were a few empty tables, you ought to make a reservation if you want to sit at the sushi bar, which only seats about 8 or so.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JacksonH

      That tuna tartare is worth a return visit - also, they have a less expensive "omakase" option at lunch - I might check that out some time.

      1. re: MMRuth

        If I got that and the Tai Arai and the Katsuo Tosa Zukuri, I might have enough money left over for a couple of pieces of eel.

        15 East is a little far to trek for lunch. Fortunately, Yasuda is not.

    2. The oysters were doused in ponzu, which is the most common way to eat them in Japan. I'm slightly curious about, though not interested in, the kakiage since it is usually not actually tempura, but just battered and fried in one type of inexpensive oil. At $12, it better be the world's best kakiage since this such a low brow- albeit tasty- dish.

      I have a reservation for two at the counter in front of the taisho next week. We're planning on ordering a la carte nigiri-zushi. I sort of ran some numbers looking at the online menu and figured out that we'll come in about about $100 per person if we can hold off on the beer and shochu.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Silverjay

        You are right - not actually tempura - battered and fried - it was awfully tasty, and the flavored salts a nice addition. It actually reminded me of a similiar filipino "cake" that I use to get at NY street fairs (when I actually used to bother to go!).

        1. re: MMRuth

          Yeah, I like when dishes are served with different salts. Kakiage is also commonly served with a light broth as well. How many little paddies were served for $12?

          1. re: Silverjay

            Four quite large, thick ones. Now that I think about it, they were "slightly" on the greasy side but, well, that's something that doesn't bother us!

      2. Wait so you generally spend less at Yasuda then at 15 East? Have been to Yasuda twice but was thinking of trying 15 East soon....

        5 Replies
          1. re: MMRuth

   my mom and I are going for Sushi when she's in town in two weeks. We have been to Yasuda twice, but have never sat at the Sushi bar (and I guess Yasuda doesn't work on Saturday nights). I had been thinking 15 East but am now wondering if it would be more worth it to go back to Yasuda and try to get a reservation at the Sushi bar or if I should just go somewhere else all together. Any recommendations?

            1. re: lucyj

              I've not eaten at the sushi bar at Yasuda, so I can't really comment, other than to note that some posters have commented on being rushed in and out. 15 East was very good - don't get me wrong - maybe take a look at the menu. As I mentioned, we are very *hearty* eaters, so I'm sure that contributed to the cost!

              1. re: MMRuth

                ok thanks for the suggestions. We tend to be pretty "hearty" eaters as well, and don't mind spending but not necessarily outrageously if we can eat just as well at Yasuda for example. thanks!

                1. re: lucyj

                  Prices between Yasuda and 15 East are pretty comparable. I've eaten at both sushi bars a few times. I think its easier to go nuts at Yasuda since they have a much larger variety of fish, so you want to try more of everything.

                  I was just at 15 East this past week and sat at the sushi bar. For two people, we got an order of soba with uni and an order of the fantastic octopus appetizer. Then we had sushi omakase and maybe 3-4 additional pieces each. That combined with a few beers/sake, came to about $220 before tip.