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May 25, 2008 06:24 AM

15 East

Really good sashimi and sushi omakase. Tako was fantastic. Hokkaido uni served as unidon was a rare treat. Didn't sit in front of Shimizu but still good though the variety didn't knock my socks off. Ushi, Kanoyama and Yasuda still seem to have greater variety. Maybe I'm just getting jaded.

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  1. Hi GG,

    You are right. 15 East has great sashimi and sushi and their uni is really good. They are the only place that carries Hokkaido uni most frequently. The one thing that I didn't like is the way that they slice the sashimi - the size and thickness always seem a bit weird to me.

    In terms of variety, that may just be seasonal. Right now is not the best season for fatty fish.

    They actually have surprising good cooked food. Their salmon 5 ways is one of my top 10 salmon dishes in town.

    4 Replies
    1. re: kobetobiko

      i wrote a long post about them a while ago, I love 15 east and i think its better than ushi or kanoyama and id put yasuda a little bit ahead. next time get the octopus appetizer, probably the best octopus ive ever had, its so tender b/c they massage it for an hour

      1. re: Lau

        I think GG did order the octopus (Tako)

        1. re: kobetobiko

          ure right, but he just said tako so for some reason in my mind i thought he was talking about sushi not the tako yawarakani appetizer

          1. re: Lau

            Had the tako appetizer. Oishi. My only gripe about it was that it was too little.

    2. Okay so my obsessions are golfing and eating sushi. And I must post on how kanoyama can be on any list for "best sushi"?! their staff is dysfunctional and their food is VERY average. I notice they pre-cut their pieces! Anyone that posts about kanoyama has never gone to Ushi, Yasuda, or my fave Hatsuhana! Flame me if you must but I have had two meals there, the second to give it another shot, and we foodies know NYC is full of restaurants so if it sucks once, you rarely go back. I must try 15 East, but I have to admit I have very high expectations after reading all the hype.

      6 Replies
      1. re: oreximaniac

        its excellent, i think its much better than ushi or kanoyama

        i also dont think ushi is amazing, i think its very good and great for the price

        hatsuhana is very good and probably pretty underrated on chowhound boards although its not as good as yasuda, kuruma or 15 east

        1. re: oreximaniac

          I have been to Kanoyama many times. While I've occasionally been disappointed, the last time was on a par with Yasuda, Ushi and Kuruma, 3 of my favorites. Do you order off the menu at a table or omakase from the itamae at the bar? Could make a huge difference in the experience even at the top places. Hatsuhana was a forerunner of the great sushi restaurants we now have in NYC, but I feel it has been surpassed by most.

          1. re: guttergourmet

            i always eat at the sushi bar at all sushi restaurants and usually eat omakase

          2. re: oreximaniac

            I don't get the Kanoyama detractors. Agreed that the regular menu is nothing better than average but for me their forte lies in their specials (see link below).

            Go there, sit at the sushi counter and order piece by piece off the specials menu (fish of the day). Not only is the quality of fish (and peripherals) impressive but you are also eating a number of esoteric and seasonal fish varietals (eg kinki, akamutsu, kuromutsu, kinmedai) that are not easily available at sushi bars elsewhere in Manhattan and some of which are highly prized in Japan.


          3. I'm in lust with the "tako yawarakani" at East 15. I've debated going in for it as a drinking snack a few nights, but haven't yet. I received some as an "otoshi mono" and when I fawned over it and ordered it off the menu, Chef Masato gave me an extra large portion. The sushi itself is good, though cut on the pinky-sized small side. And I thought some of the shellfish lacked freshness (by consistency and mouthfeel) and was hidden in some of the yuzu/ salt preparation. Also, I prefer my uni "gunkan maki" style, which I think is perfection in form and flavor. When I asked Masato-san why he served it in a little bowl with a spoon, he just said that's the way they served it there and seemed to imply that it was somehow better. East 15, a fine sushi shop, but except for the tako, I'm not sure I would be compelled to return- homemade soba or not. Maybe I'll check it out again for the 5 ways salmon...

            I consider Kanoyama a "value" sushi restaurant. Generous portions, good selection, reasonable quality. But horrible interior design that affects the service. And a broad menu that tries to cater to the teriyaki/avocado roll crowd as well as the traditionalists. I'd love it if they had a Japanese Gordon Ramsey come in and kick some names and take some ass, but I'm guessing they are owned locally and they seem to have a steady crowd coming in. So why change?

            ...Ushi Wakamaru I like just fine. I'm concerned though, at the fact that the head chef Hideo drinks so much while working. Buying a sushi chef a glass of beer or sake isn't really that common in Japan. I've never seen it. I recently recommended the shop for a friend's special occasion and suggested he book in front of Hideo-san simply because I hoped my friend could get a first-hand authentic sushi experience. Post event, his takeaway was positive on the fish side, but he seemed a bit more impressed by the level of attention and comped drinks the chef received and consumed throughout the evening. I prefer my sushi chefs stoic, sober and, manning their stations rather than bowing out to toast customers every five minutes. But that's just me. Also, I haven't found this shop to be of any overwhelming value.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Silverjay

              Hi Silverjay,

              You brought up some good points which I completely agreed. 15 East is the only sushi restaurants that most often (not always) carries uni in shell, particular hokkaido uni (my favorite). They serve it in several ways actually, sometimes in shell, sometime on bowl with spoon, and even uni "brulee". I think their uni is one of the best in town. I also agreed with you on their size of fish that they served on sushi (or sashimi). I am not thrilled by the way that they cut their fish (noted in my previous post). They either cut it too thin or some of the pieces aren't the best part of the fish for sushi. I didn't have any problem on freshness in the past though.

              As for Kanoyama, I think it CAN be a value sushi restaurant, but if you order off the "special" menu at the sushi bar, it can be very expensive and very good. I think it has the potential to be a top notch sushi restaurant when you are willing to pay, but it is not exceptional when you order the normal items. I don't mind if a Japanese restaurant (in the US, that is) offers fusion food as long as they prepare it well. Actually Kanoyama does serve some very good cooked food.

              Ushi Wakamaru - This I am in complete agreement with you. I do not like my sushi chef to be drinking all the time at work. Similar your experience in Japan, I rarely see sushi chefs drink during work. Unless it is a "very neighborhood" place, that's just not common. The chef may sip a little if a customer buys him a drink, but will continue working and really won't drink throughout the meal. Like you, I prefer my sushi chef to concentrate on their work (that includes interaction and conversation with the customers, just not drinking like this).

              1. re: kobetobiko

                As to Hideo, I find he gets friendlier (as do I) when we're drinking. Ushi can be pristine. I also agree with oonth (as I usually do) that Kanoyama can be a top 5 contender if you order right. See my recent experience there.

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. Reading chowhound threads is starting to get very frustrating... seems there's no place to eat sushi in New York that isn't either low quality or so expensive as to only make it a great decision to go in hindsight. I figured I'd finally go to 15 East after passing an exam and then I come on here to read the past threads before I post and every one of them says how it's good, not great and superexpensive.

                Soto I hear is only good for the cooked entrees and again, the sushi is just OK. Have there been any NEW sushi places that are just great and slightly expensive? I love Yasuda and Ushi, but I want something new just because. Is there any place to go?

                4 Replies
                1. re: hamstrman

                  well i think ure getting the reviews slightly off base as almost any of the high quality sushi places are all good, just different levels of good. Also what is your idea of expensive? (the reason sushi is expensive is generally b/c the ingredients are expensive)

                  i generally think that 15 east is considered excellent and expensive (i personally think its right below yasuda and kuruma and much better than ushi although ushi is good)

                  $200 +/- = kuruma
                  $100 +/- = yasuda, 15 east, gari, seki, kanoyama
                  $60-80 = ushi, sasabune, soto

                  you might want to try sasabune, its obviously expensive as they all are, but not aggregious for sushi land

                  1. re: Lau

                    I suppose Kuruma is my idea of expensive, but it's not so much expense as value in that to spend $8 for a piece of fish smaller than my pinky is crazy to me (very much dependent on quality). I spent $14 for a piece of Bluefin o-toro at Sushiden That was the size of a $5 piece and the quality of an $8-9 piece, but nowhere NEAR $14. The thing was smaller than my thumb! I don't consider myself one of those people who says "To spend that much on something that's mostly rice is ridiculous. Fish doesn't even have any flavor!". That would be my father who says that.

                    I think that Yasuda's prices match their quality and every time I eat there it is heavenly. Ushi is a great deal to me. So is Taro in Brooklyn. I spend $8 on Bluefin o-toro at Ushi or Ki (in Brooklyn) and feel it's totally justified. I spend $7 at Yasuda for a much smaller piece, but it's unmatched quality so that too is justified.

                    Then I hear about how "expensive" places such as 15 East are and, to me, that says these people who eat at Yasuda and have no problem with it have a problem with this restaurant. Therefore it must be super expensive and not worth it.

                    And thanks for the Sasabune recommendation. A coworker told me about it a year ago, but I don't go up that high. I'm in Brooklyn, so I tend to stay in the 40s and below.

                    1. re: hamstrman

                      try 15 East, i think you're reading into the price thing too much...i really like that place and make sure to try their tako yawarakani appetizer (its a slow poached octopus that has literally been massaged for an hour), its the best octopus ive ever had, that alone makes it worth it

                      agree with u that ushi is a good value place

                  2. re: hamstrman

                    How about Kanoyama? Can be very good and reasonable.