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Need New Omakase Place...Not Masa

Husband's bday coming up. Want to try something new and spectacular. Been to all the usual suspects -- 15 east, Yasuda, Sushi Seki, Gari, Sasabune, Ushi...What am I missing??

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  1. you didn't like yasuda? def the best sushi spot in nyc

    morimoto? nobu?

    1 Reply
    1. re: midnightmarauder

      yasuda management has bad attitude. the eel varieties are good. better sushi at 15 east

      1. re: Miss Needle

        yeah try kuruma, but remember its usually about $200 / person (w/o drinks) also its not creative, its very traditional...just really really good cuts of fish

        1. Soto in the West Village is very highly regarded.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Silverjay

            you haven't tried the place yet? I'd have imagined you'd hit the place already; looking for superlative uni myself and that's what I hear . . .

            1. re: Silverjay

              soto is good if Soto prepares your dishes

            2. you are definitely missing morimoto. i had an amazing night/dinner there. not only is the food great but the atmosphere is really something. not to mention morimoto himself was walking around and greeting dinner guests. it was pretty darn cool.

              1 Reply
              1. re: monasapple

                sushi at morimoto isnt even close to the level of the above...some of their apps are great, not a huge fan of the main courses

                do like the atmosphere

              2. Kanoyama for second tier, also Soto

                First tier - have you been to Kuruma? It's very very expensive, but very very good.

                Other than that you're not missing anything.

                2 Replies
                1. re: gutsofsteel

                  kanoyama is underrated because they also cater to the general sushi eating public,,, but if Nobu-san gives you omikase, it rivals the best sushi places in the city. They have a very large variety of fish from japan. Very fresh, the care and creativity in the preparation is to rave about. The decor and noise level takes away from how good the food really is. During Japan week, the diplomats from Japan reserved the sushi bar and chose Kanoyama as their place for dinner

                  1. re: foodwhisperer

                    I agree with you. If people complaint about Kanoyama being second tier, food not fresh, I know they haven't tried the best that kanoyama has to offer. if you go for what's the general menu, chances are you are getting above average but not out of this world food. You need to sit at the sushi bar and let the chef takes charge, and go for the no limit omakase. Of course building a rapport with the chef helps a great deal.

                2. Soto, Yasuda.
                  Try Kyo Ya in east village or Kai (UES) at Ito tea store
                  Consider the new spot: Matsugen

                    1. Morimoto is awesome but only if you reserve at the chef's omakase bar (only 8 seats), make sure the chef de cuisine is the one serving you, and you are prepared to lay down at least $200. Maybe $300, for the optimum experience.

                      Otherwise, a friend recently went to Soto, asked them to send out a variety of dishes, as I don't believe they have a tasting menu, and loved it.

                      1. you know what u should try that is really excellent is sugiyama...its not a sushi place, its a kaiseki place and the food is really very very good, definitely one of my favorite japanese in the city besides yasuda (obviously totally different types of food)

                        1. Thanks everyone. I will def. try to Sugiyama sometime soon. Been meaning to do that. Before I read the posts, I was actually thinking of doing the Morimoto Chef's 200 menu. It may still be an option, especially since almost everyone here sounds like a fan. I love Yasuda and 15 East, but did tht just few months ago. I also tried to make reservations at Soto but closed on the holiday weekend. Thanks again.

                          1. How much will the Omakase at Kanoyama likely run you? Also, do you have to be sitting at the sushi bar to have it. I noticed it's listed on their menu as well which was somewhat confusing...

                            18 Replies
                            1. re: jdream

                              The so-called "omakase on the menu (~$30) is not a true omakase but rather a platter of sushi based on the day's availability. It is not the best offering that Kanoyama can provide, just much better quality than your normal sushi set dinner at other places. If you sit at the sushi bar, go for the true omakase which will run you about $150-ish. It will be outstanding with some of the most unique offering you can find in the city.

                              Alternatively tell the chef how much you would like to spend for your omakase and they will create your omakase accordingly.

                              1. re: kobetobiko

                                sasabune has amazing sushi, reasonably priced (around 85$), and there's not a menu to be had. kenji is the sushi chef/owner and an all-around nice guy. great food for real sushi fans.

                                1. re: conqueso

                                  I respectfully disagree. Sasabune exists on reputation alone. The quality of the cutting, the fish, and the presentation are not first tier in any way. And their rice is poor. And the chef blatantly prefers Japanese customers over other customers, and gives them better quality items. It's overpriced for what it is, it's cramped and rushed, and the fact that there is no menu provides them with great latitude to get away with whatever they can. I've been twice, because I thought perhaps the first time was an anomaly. It wasn't. I'll never go back. You get what you pay for - $85 does not buy a first quality, true omakase in this town. And Sasabune does not provide that.

                                  1. re: gutsofsteel

                                    What is your definition of first rate true Omakase?

                                    I just glanced at this blog recently


                                    Omido, and Sushi Azabu look like great value.

                                    Sushiden looks amazing.

                                    1. re: Ricky

                                      The top tier has very few in it:

                                      15 East

                                      Second tier:

                                      Gari (west side)

                                      and these must be experienced at the bar only, true omakase meaning that the chef is presenting one piece or perhaps two at a time, that your preferences are considered as it goes along. There is no such thing as top quality omakase for less than top dollar.

                                      1. re: gutsofsteel

                                        fyi gari upper eastside is better (gari himself is usually there)...would generally agree otherwise

                                        1. re: Lau

                                          Having been to both west and east many times....sitting in the center of the bar on the wes side in front of the main chef over there....is better. He's more attentive, more interested.

                                          I meant to put 15 East in the 2nd tier, by the way.

                                          1. re: gutsofsteel

                                            ill have to give it another try

                                            and i disagree on 15 east...im kind of a cheerleader for that place although the other three are better than 15 east, but 15 east is better than the rest of your 2nd tier

                                            1. re: Lau

                                              I'm kind of having this same problem right now. I want to take my boyfriend to a great omakase for his birthday but I want there to be some hot dishes.

                                              In the past we have enjoyed the omakase at Nobu, Megu, Morimoto & Le Miu. We like the hot dishes along with sush and sashimi. Is this what it's like at 15 East? Where is the best place for thi kind of meal? I assume Yasuda and Ushiwakamaru are only sushi?

                                              1. re: roze

                                                yasuda is really only sushi and i believe ushi is really just sushi too (i dont know about ushi for a fact though b/c ive only gone there for sushi)

                                                15 east does have non-sushi dishes but ive never tried any of them except the octopus appetizer (amazing)...the omakase is sushi only

                                                i suggest going to sugiyama, there will be some sashmi, but mostly a mix of amazing hot and cold dishes...its a really great restaurant

                                                soto might be a decent choice as they have some great hot dishes

                                                1. re: Lau

                                                  Soto and Sugiyama are both good suggestions. Soto will have more sushi, with some hot dishes. Sugiyama will be more dishes, with some sashimi. 15 East is also a good choice, they have a very good kitchen as well.

                                                  1. re: Lau

                                                    Ushiwakamaru offers a tasting menu (or two) that has several courses, one of which is a flight of sushi, with the rest being a mix of cooked and uncooked dishes. The menus on menupages, etc. are not entirely accurate.

                                                    Example meal from several months ago:

                                                  2. re: roze

                                                    Hi roze,

                                                    If you like cooked dishes to be more fusion / contemporary, 15 East or LAN are both good options. At 15 East, the salmon 5 ways was one of my favorite salmon preparation in town. The beef tongue in red wine was also delightful. There are more cooked dishes available at LAN, but the quality and variety of sushi is definitely higher at 15 East. 15 East is also more romantic and less noisy so it is probably better suited for initimate celebration. LAN, on the other hand, is bustling and can be very noisy. It is, however, less expensive.

                                                    I really really like Sugiyama, but it is more traditional kaiseki, so you are not going to have that many sushi. If price is not an issue, the wagyu beef set is quite sensational. Lastly, Kanoyama actually have very good cooked dishes along with great sushi. But the cooked dishes are mostly familar traditional offerings like miso cod or tempura, done well.

                                                    1. re: kobetobiko

                                                      oh good call, i totally forgot about LAN...totally agree with kobetobiko's comments

                                                      1. re: Lau

                                                        Thanks Guys for all your help. I'm leaning toward 15 East, soto and Sugiyama as of now but the latest reviews of 15 East I've seen have been bad. Hopefully it hasn't gone downhill. Anyone been recently?

                                                        Lan is a great idea but I'm thinking that more of a regular weekend kind of place rather than a special birthday dinner because of all the noise and bustle as you said.

                                                        Also kobetobiko I remember you telling me once about the most amazing peice of toro you had once. Was that at Kumura? Thanks again guys!

                                                        1. re: roze

                                                          it hasn't gone downhill...im not sure why some people dont like it, ive heard complaints that the sushi is too small (same size as yasuda), i think its better than say ushi which always gets critical acclaim (not saying ushi is bad by any means, but 15 east is def better)...you must get the Tako Yawarakani (slow poached octopus) if you go, its amazing

                                                          1. re: Lau

                                                            Of the ones on Gutsofsteel's list, 15 East and Ushi Wakamaru are probably the best bets in terms of combining good sushi/sashimi with good hot dishes. The hot dishes at 15 East have a slightly more fusion bent to them, while the ones are Ushi are more traditional. I think 15 East has been consistently good since I started going last summer (and I would include it in the first tier, as it has beaten Yasuda and definitely Kuruma on certain nights), so it definitely has not gone downhill.

                                                            Sugiyama, as others have mentioned, is kaiseki, so you will get several courses of cooked food along with one course of sashimi. I remember a long time ago, I had a course of sushi as well, but I have gone more recently, and they said they do not serve sushi anymore.

                                                            I think the prepared dishes at Soto are AMAZING and creative, but IMHO, the straight sushi is so-so given the prices, and is easily bested by a lot of the other places on that list above.

                                                            The one thing I'll note about Kanoyama (I love their sushi) is that I don't think it would be a good place for a special occasion. I don't think they take reservations on Fridays or Saturday nights, and the times I've gone (even on other nights), it's still pretty loud and crowded. If you sit at the bar, you will sometimes get hit by purses and what not of other patrons as they walk to the bathroom.

                                        2. re: gutsofsteel

                                          i respectfully agree with gutsofsteel. Sasabune exists on reputation alone. They hardly ever have fish from japan,,,their rice is too warm and falls apart ,,yet that is their claim to fame

                                  2. Chef's table at Morimoto was definitely a good experience, with a lot of variety in cooked dishes though the sushi course was a bit sup par, though I wouldn't put it in the same mind-blowing category as 15 East, which really does belong in the first tier right along with Yasuda.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: girlcritic

                                      Ditto -- our Morimoto sushi course was probably the weakest part of our omakase bar meal. In fact, I watched the sushi chef make the platters, and then the nigiri sat around for 5-10 minutes before we got it. The rice was too loose and warm IMO.

                                      1. re: kathryn

                                        sushi has always been pretty weak there...its just like nobu where the sushi is not good and its known for its apps / dishes

                                        1. re: Lau

                                          Well, I've had friends eat at the Philly one who said the sushi was fine but not amazing at that location, but I was surprised at just how poorly the rice was done for us at the NYC one.

                                      1. re: jenniebnyc

                                        I believe Ichimura is closed. I really liked that place.

                                        1. re: gutsofsteel

                                          nope. i live across the street. it is still opened. it might have a new name though. the sign is in japanese so i don't know what is says

                                          1. re: jenniebnyc

                                            It's now Restaurant On. I've reviewed recently but the jury's still out. Gutsofsteel's list (with the edit on 15 East) mirrors my own except I haven't had the good fortune (or should I say I lack the fortune) to have tried Masa yet though I've been to the others multiple times. I had a memorable (blurred somewhat by too much sake) omakase with Morimoto himself when he first opened but haven't been back since. I think it's also important to note, if price is somewhat at issue, that on any given night I've had first tier experiences at Ushi Wakamaru, Soto, 15 East, Gari and Kanoyama though other times not. Yasuda and Kuruma Zushi (and I assume Masa) are guaranteed to be first tier every time and you pay for it.

                                            1. re: guttergourmet

                                              Recently ate at On, had a wonderful meal. Also, I have always been a big fan of Sushi Seki, although it has been a while since I have been there. While the ambiance is not the same as some of the other places mentioned, the fish itself was always amazing.

                                      2. try Bond St. .. located on Bond Street between Broadway & Lafayette has a great Omakase consistently excellent.

                                        1. Niko, Tsukushi, Bohemian, Sushi UO

                                          300 E 41st St, New York, NY 10017

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: i8NYC

                                            BTW Niko wasn't open when this thread was started which is why nobody has mentioned it.

                                            Sushi Uo has closed.

                                            I was under the impression that Bohemian wasn't a full on sushi place. Has it changed? They do offer a set menu with a lot of cooked dishes.

                                            1. re: kathryn

                                              Tsukushi is not sushi at all, though it is omakase dining.

                                              1. re: kathryn

                                                Wow, Sushi Uo closed already? Didn't last long at all, huh?

                                                1. re: uwsister

                                                  it was open for a little while but i dont think it popped up on people's radars for a while....place was cool and would have been a good idea, but the food was ehhh

                                                  1. re: Lau

                                                    Don't think it lasted a year, did it? The space looked good, but never went. Guess I didn't miss much.

                                                    1. re: uwsister

                                                      Uo was interesting. My experience from 2010:
                                                      Can white men sing the blues? Can white men jump? Of greater importance, can white men serve sushi? Eric Clapton and Woody Harrelson may be the answers to the first two questions, but to answer the last question you've got to check out John Bailey yourself as the new itamae (sushi chef) at Sushi Uo. Located in a converted apartment at 151 Rivington (hint:walk up the steps through the building's glass doors and make a right), you immediately feel like you've discovered someplace secret, the way I felt my first time at Sushi Azabu beneath the Greenwich Grill or Kuruma Zushi accessible by elevator or some of the subterranean sake bars like Decibel or Sakagura. Black leather banquettes and friendly black stockinged waitresses show you in. But what may be most striking to sushi heads like Jeff and I are the absence of any Japanese behind the bar. We immediately recognized Bailey and he us from 15 East. Both Jeff and I have spent inordinate time (and money) worshipping Chef Shimizu who came to 15 East from Jewel Bako and who massages octopi with the precision of someone familiar with shiatsu to create the ultimate tako sashimi. Bailey has spent even more time at the side of Shimizu whom he literally refers to as his master. After training at 15 East as assistant sushi chef, Bailey accepted an offer to replace another white sushi chef with greats "chops" who trained under Iron Chef Morimoto and created the initial buzz at Uo but who purportedly left to prove himself in Japan. Bailey has not missed a beat. Using his expertise from 15 East he has sourced pristine fish to offer a variety and quality of sashimi and sushi that rivals some of my favorite sushi bars around the city at extremely reasonable prices. Being a round eyed sushi afficionado, it is often difficult to build a rapport or even to strike up a conversation with a Japanese chef. With no language or cultural barriers, John is delighted to share his sushi knowledge particularly after Jeff ordered the third bottle of Wakatake, my favorite junmai daiginjo sake the name of which translates appropriately as "Demon Slayer". As Jeff poured for both chefs and the waitresses, we decided to test Bailey's sushi knowledge and each other's by organizing a game of Jeopardy with Bailey playing Alex Trebec's role as MC. The only category: Japanese fish names. Bailey would name a dozen fish names in Japanese and Jeff and I would compete to see who could translate more into English. Bailey gauged our level starting with "hotate" which Jeff correctly blurted out was scallop. It was downhill after that as Bailey stumped us with trivia like "sayori" properly translated was "half-beak" given its protruding jaw and not "needlefish" as Jeff and I were so sure of. A sushi Japanese/English lexicon can be found at (LINK) so you can play at your next sushi/cocktail party. I was underwhelmed by the cooked dishes (wasabi gnocchi, octopus confit with grapefruit, though the spinach potato soup with tofu was great). Much more intriguing, unless you're an animal rights activist in which case you should stop reading now, is that Sushi Uo features ikizukuri, the practice of serving sashimi of fish still alive whilst being sliced and diced. Many, including yours truly,  regard this as the ultimate in freshness. Among the offerings, octopus which are given a quick blow torching, a variety of clams and uni. Sushi Uo is not on a level of greatness equal to Kuruma (where the second chef is not only not Japanese, she's a she), 15 East, Sushi Yasuda, Sushi Zen or Ushi Wakamaru, but given the atmosphere, the chef and the prices, it's a great place to hang out and develop your sushi knowledge and palate.

                                                      Sushi Uo
                                                      151 Rivington Street, New York, NY 10002

                                                      1. re: guttergourmet

                                                        Thanks for some good reading... and the sushi name game is my kinda game. But I'm sticking with sayori being needlefish ,, since in my English language fishing experience i never heard of half beak. Except of course in japanese restaurants. They find English translation names of fish , that I have no idea what they are talking about. That's why I always need the Japanese names. Like shirako being called milt. I never heard of milt until i ate in a Japanese restaurant.