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Yasuda - table as good as the bar?

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I'm going to Yasuda for the second time ever, but this time all my friends wanted to come. The person on the phone told me Yasuda could only serve 4 people at a time, which I'm pretty sure isn't true because I remember 4 other people besides my friend and I being served by him last time I was there with a friend. So this time we were forced to reserve a table. I'm concerned that the sushi will be less than heavenly if it's not by Yasuda himself. Also, I'm concerned I won't be able to order omakase if it's at a table (since clearly it can't be served one piece at a time).

Will I be disappointed having gone from in front of Yasuda to a table meal? Also, will I not be able to get chef's choice if I am seated at a table? Will anything be different other than the experience of having Yasuda talk with you and explain what you are getting? I know the restaurant can't go wrong, but I'm worried about my expectations being too high now. I don't want a tuna and salmon platter. I want interesting and different like I got last time. Please let me know what to expect.
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Oh, and on a side note having nothing to do with this thread, I want to ask guttergourmet if he writes reviews of the sushi restaurants he visits because I would like to read his thoughts on certain places without having to sift through chowhound boards. I hope he comes across this thread.

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  1. I've never eaten at the sushi bar and have very much enjoyed the sushi I've eaten at a table at Yasuda. I find the waitresses helpful in terms of guiding my selections for the evening - and I wouldn't worry at all about getting a salmon and tuna platter. I love the oysters, and the eel selection is particularly good.

    1. no sushi bar is substantially better (this goes for any serious sushi bar)...otherwise the fish sits around and i've noticed a big fall off when i've sat at a table

      1. Sushi bar is much better, if for no other reason than when doing an omakase, the pieces are served one at a time rather than all at once. Also, you can interact when the sushi chef and he can make adjustments to what he is serving rather than giving you a set menu.

        That being said, you won't have a bad experience, but it wont be as great as it could be.

        11 Replies
        1. re: ESNY

          HELP. HI, I am going to Yasuda tomorrow for my bday, im being treated and I think my partner reserved a table...will it be better to call and change it for the bar? PLEASe Help, this is very important to me.

          1. re: LRS

            If you can get seats at the bar, it seems as if those who have eaten at both pretty much think it is better. But if you end up with a table, trust me, I've had fantastic sushi there. Is this your first time going?

            1. re: LRS

              the bar is much better than the table. if yasuda is booked (most likely), hiro is my 2nd favorite and very friendly.

              the tables are far from bad...actually, the sushi is still quite delicious but definitely not as good the bar. dont forget the peace passage oyster and scallop guts.

              1. re: sam1

                And, don't hesitate to ask the servers for guidance - I've never been steered wrong, and they have a list of fish that is particularly good that day. I agree about those oysters, and do take advantage of the great eel selection.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  ohhh. i called and they say its booked for the bar... we will have to take a table. and yes it's my first time at yasuda.

                  1. re: LRS

                    I feel like I sound like a broken record at this point - but don't worry - the sushi is excellent - the server will give you a list of the fish they recommend for the day, and you won't go wrong - trust me. Enjoy - and maybe some other time you can eat at the sushi bar.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      It's good to keep hearing the sound of reason, MMRuth. Or at least a comforting thought. Only one of my friends went with me last time who is also going this time and she says she has prepared herself for it to be less than perfection. Damn 5th and 6th people, why'd they have to go and want to have a fun evening with me? There's something innately unsettling about it even though I'm sure it will be almost as good, like wanting to buy a brand name product over the store brand.

                      So basically the reasons people are giving for a table not being as good as the bar are:
                      1) No banter with Yasuda (fun, I'll admit)
                      2) Not getting one piece at a time means the other 10+ pieces sit out for an extra 20 mins
                      3) You can change your mind in the middle of the meal on what to get (or be given, if omakase)

                      If those are the compelling reasons for a "big fall off" in experience, I'm not too worried.

                      1. re: hamstrman

                        the pros are it ends up costing you less. and surprisingly, the quality doesnt suffer much.

                        1. re: hamstrman

                          When I'm with a group of people, I also generally prefer to sit a table, as I think it is a more convivial experience.

                          In terms of (3) - when ever we are at a table, we order piece meal - so while we don't change our minds about what to eat, we order some things to get started, and then order more if we feel like it - a la carte. So actually, that does help with (2) a bit.

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            ok so im seating at a table, Now, would you give me some reccs as of what to order, what not to miss?

                            1. re: LRS

                              This thread has a lot of good suggestions:

                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/444286

                              The items I remember particularly enjoying were the oysters, served with a little sea salt, the eel selection, various salmons - the server will (or if they don't - ask) show you a list of the fish they have available/particularly recommend on a given day and are helpful in making suggestions. Towards the end of the meal, I sometimes just ask them to suggest what they think I might enjoy based on what I've had so far - haven't been steered wrong. Some of the fried appetizer dishes are also v. nice - I remember a shrimp one, though don't recall the name. Enjoy - I've not had anything there that I didn't like.

            2. I want to relate an "incident" that happened to me in Sushi Yasuda a few years back. I am still confused about what really happened. (Sorry if off topic.)

              After reading a rave reivew about Mr. Yasuda and his new restaurant in the newspaper, I seeked out this a little out-of-the-way place, went in and sit at the bar. The place was not deserted, but I don't think they had as many business back then as they have now. (I swear I got the impression the Matre'D behind the counter at the door faked talking on the phone about taking reservasions. I know, it's terrible :-).

              I ordered from the menu. After I had finished (the crispy fish bone app was outstanding), I was watching other people sitting beside me eating interesting things. I didn't feel particulary full at the time, so at the spurt of the moment, I asked the gentlemen behind the counter (no idea if he's Mr. Yasuda himself) if I can have something more. He asked me what I wanted. I really had no idea so I said would he decide for me. A moment later, I was handed two pieces of ordinary looking shushi. Not particuarly memorable as I can't even recall now what they were. I ate the two pieces of sushi and waited there for quite a while, and nothing more came my way. Confused, and suddenly feeling I had enough, I asked the wait staff for the bill.

              When I looked at the bill, there was a $180 (as far as I can remember. I kept the receipt until recently) surcharge. I paid the bill, stumbled out of the place, and still wondering to this day what had happened. This meal remains on my book as the single most expensive.

              4 Replies
              1. re: newportt2004

                i dont think there's any piece of high grade tuna thats $60 a piece so this is pretty weird. personally, i ask everything up front.

                1. re: sam1

                  I really should have asked, if not up front, when I got the bill. But this type of Japanese establishment has a way of making you want to do everything "properly". So I must have been trying my best to act as properly as possible (and to bite the bullet so to speak).

                  1. re: newportt2004

                    There's biting the bullet and then there's getting screwed... I mean, when I buy sushi to make at home at Mitsuwa in Edgewater, the most expensive thing there is abalone for $80/lb! Unless you ate a now-extinct animal, it wouldn't cost that much... I let the chef decide what I should have, I got 15 pieces and it only cost $90.

                    I too would be very curious to know what really happened that day as well.

                    1. re: hamstrman

                      Well, we had 1 appetizer each, 2 sake, 10 piece sushi each, 2 piece sashimi each and the bill was 168 total, without tip. Pretty good considering the quality of the sushi. We were very satisfied, it was a great experience. The eel, clam and fatty tuna were particularly good.

              2. Which places?

                2 Replies
                1. re: guttergourmet

                  Would you give me an AOL Instant Messenger name or an email address? Mine is hamstrman@aol.com. I don't want to bog down the Chowhound boards with an all over the place conversation. Of course that's if you're interested in doing so. I mainly want to discuss your top 10-15 sushi places (but in more detail than "What's your top 10-15 sushi places?")

                  1. re: hamstrman

                    just sent you my office e-mail

                2. Does Sushi Yasuda have some policy that they won't seat 6 people from the same party in front of Yasuda at one time? I know he serves 6 people at a time, I have photographs, but they insisted I could only get 4 seats. Anyone know anything about this?