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Best Omakase for the money?

I'm planning a special dinner for my girlfriend and I -- I would like to do a very nice omakase, but not as expensive as Masa or Yasuda.

I'd like to keep the price to about $100-$125 or so per person (before tax/tip).

I'm most interested in really high quality fish, don't need any crazy rolls or anything, just super high quality pure fresh sushi.

I've seen the same names thrown around on these boards (15 East, Ushiwakamaru, Gari, Seki, Sugiyama, etc.), but wasn't sure exactly how expensive omakase is at these places.

Thanks!

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  1. Omakase is as expensive as you want it to be. You can go to Yasuda and tell him how much you'd like to spend on the omakase. Yasuda isn't even that expensive, certainly nowhere near Masa.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ESNY

      Yes, you can certainly eat at Yasuda for that price, and given your preferences, I think that is a better choice than Gari for you.

      1. re: MMRuth

        I agree with MMRuth. I would also recommend the nigiri omakase at Azabu (NB: NOT their bigger set menu). At $58 it's a lot less expensive than Yasuda and similar in sushi style in a space that is more romantic IMO. Not a big secret after the Bruni review in the Times, but still pretty new and well worth it. I also like Shimizu a lot.

    2. I really like Tenzan-several locations-very nice sushi chefs-not the fanciest of places but extremel clean and fresh fish everytime i go

      8 Replies
      1. re: UES Mayor

        Have you ever had omakase at Tenzan? I think it's the best of the sushi restaurants within walking distance of my apartment so I frequent it regularly. But I would never have considered it in the same class as Yasuda or even Shimizu. Have I been missing something/

        1. re: JoanN

          Went to Yasuda many times-but once last week it was very dismal-wished I had gone to Tenzan especially for the price of Yasuda-i expect perfection each and everytime!

          1. re: UES Mayor

            Tenzan offers omakase? I've eaten at the UWS one a couple of times - it's ok, but it isn't the first place I'd go for a special dinner. Or the second place, or the twentieth place.

            1. re: small h

              I went to the UES one twice when it first opened. The first time was fine for cheap sushi, the second time the fish was warm and we decided not to return.

              1. re: MMRuth

                Any recent reviews of the UWS Tenzan? A friend recommended it recently but I'm feeling discouraged after reading the posts here.

                1. re: uwsgrazer

                  I haven't been back ... too many better places on the UES ....

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    was there solo a couple of weeks ago before a show at the beacon. the kampachi hakozushi was actually very good...good amount of shiso, spice, etc. a nice balance. sashimi pieces seemed kind of tired. i like the slice of cucumber in the glasses of dry sake. overall, maybe a B to a B-minus.

        2. re: UES Mayor

          Was recently at E 50s location of Tenzan. For some reason I found the fish overly cold, to the point of being distracting from anything else.

          Did have a yellowtail collar hot dish that was very good.

        3. I love love love 15 East, and their sushi omakase should fall within your budget (just don't opt for a second round, as I am often tempted to do... it's that delicious). You must sit at the sushi bar though. No point in doing it otherwise. The sushi chef there is fantastic. You really should get the octopus appetizer too. It is not to be missed!

          The only thing I don't love about 15 East is the ambiance... the sushi bar area is just way too white/bright, and not very romantic, if that's what you're going for. But I've usually forgotten about that by the time my first piece has arrived.

          1. Go to Sasabune on the Upper East Side. Its really lovely Omakase - I particularly love the butterfish dish that they usually serve. The fish is very fresh and lovingly prepared. Will run you $55-65 depending on the price of the fish - I think its a total steal.

            6 Replies
            1. re: ywwan

              As I was reading the postings I was surprised that no one mentioned Sassabune. I agree with Ywwan. Sassabune is $65 per person and is the best deal in NY. When eating Omakase style, the check can get out of control if you give the chef the impression you are still hungry. My bill at Seki last night was more than 150pp.

              1. re: sdaspin

                When we went to Seki, DH ate so much Chef gave a chuckle and said "more?" Our bill was > $300.00 (only alcohol was a glass of wine).

              2. re: ywwan

                I'll third Sasabune, though I remember the bill being closer to $90 pp, including drinks, tax, tip, etc.

                1. re: davenyc

                  I have to join the Sasabune love fest. Was a big fan of their sushi (fishmarket-fresh sushi on a warm bed of rice!) when I lived in LA and was glad to see the same quality of fish and sushi in their NYC location. Have not had better in the city. BTW, the bill was closer to $90-100 pp, at least on the night I went.

                  1. re: thegirlnextdoor

                    i have throw in a dissenting opinion here, or at least a warning: Sasabune rice is *extremely* warm, loose, and vinegary compared to other places...if you like it, then enjoy...but many folks (including me) don't care for the style...

                    when i go to the LA Sasabune, i usually get sashimi only, as i don't care for the rice...

                    1. re: thegirlnextdoor

                      Howdy All: I hope you are well.

                      I got to try Sasabune tonight and yes it was wonderful so I will also join this love fest.

                      I was seated at the sushi bar and there was only one other person at the bar. I was brought a drink menu, wasabi and ginger, from there the fun began. The chef asked if there was anything I did not care for and I mentioned I was not a big fan of eel(I know but I just am not). I am not sure if I got all these right but I will try-
                      1. Albacore tuna sashimi with sauce in a 6" or so dish, just lovely
                      2. Kumamoto oysters (2) wonderful as they ususally are
                      3. White tuna 1 w/ sauce 1 wo/ sauce
                      4. Snapper (use soy) and fluke (no soy)
                      5. Yellow tail (soy) and horse mackeral (no soy)
                      6. Fluke fin and butterfish, served hot
                      7. Scallop and scottish salmon
                      8. striped bass and spanish mackeral
                      9. Amberjack and albacore
                      10. Blue crab roll
                      At this point I was asked if I wouild like anything in addition and I went for the Uni which was from San Diego and very tasty and the Bonito which the chef said was something I should try and it was very good as well.

                      My bill including a $20 300ml sake and tip was about $145.

                      I really enjoyed this place, I was asked what I liked ahead of time, they explained each dish as it came and I was not rushed at all and able to enjoy the food at my pace.

                      Wonderful meal.

                2. kanoyma might fit your bill

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: thew

                    Nice people and all, but the food is not inventive and the quality is not good. Its ok for a neighborhood joint though.

                  2. Yasuda is excellent and not that expensive. I usually get out of there at around $80 / person, without giving price restrictions. Fish and rice are both of excellent quality, far better than any other option mentioned, here, except for 15 East and possibly Masa.

                    1. Ushi Wakamaru...for what you specified, i feel it's far and away the best choice...ask to sit at the sushi bar, in front of Hideo-san (the owner/chef)...best omakase deal in NY...

                      i've been to Sushi Azabu twice and, despite a nice atmosphere, i found it overpriced, w/ subpar sushi for the cost...

                      15 East has a great chef and nice setting, but when you factor in drinks, etc, it might exceed your budget...

                      for a special dinner, you want to feel free to order extra pieces of your favorites, get more sake, dessert, etc...while it's possible to do a meal at 15 East or Yasuda for that budget, you might very well go far past it when ordering some extras in the heat of the moment...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Simon

                        Agree on Ushi Wakamaru but think Azabu is also very good particularly for the price. I had a 12 piece omakase nigiri, a very nice sake, an extra uni shiraebi roll, and two small plates (uni tempura and uni ika wrapped in white kelp) at Soto the other day-very satisfying for $150

                        1. re: Simon

                          Hopefully OP already had her omakase and was happy about it as the original post was dated back in Nov 2008.

                        2. I'd recommend 15 east or kanoyama, in both places you must sit at sushi bar. if you stay under control, you'll be fine at both, and you can tell them what you want to eat/spend, especially if you go a bit early --- like 7:30 if that works. I LOVE 15 east, despite the too bright lighting and kind of 80's look to it. I am not an uni lover, but the last time I was there (having omakase), I had that as my last course because the people next to us were swooning over it, (and yes, that was a costly addition) but worth every penny. Kanoyama is our local place and we love it madly, but service can get a little iffy and the costs rapidly add up if you are not careful. i am not a gari fan at all, i think they are outrageously expensive for nothing special. I am with you on crazy rolls, I don't order them, it is all about the fish for me.

                          1. I went to 15 east for my 15 year weddiing anniversary. Well......husband chose to be a jerk that night but...I still enjoyed the food. It was all amazing. So if it can surpass a horrible 15 year anniversary they are doing some ting right!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: trixareforkids

                              Oy! Well, sullen silence from across the table helps you focus on the food. Hope you have a better "sweet sixteen"!

                            2. I don't pay enough attention to how much I spend to know how much places cost. And you didn't mention how much you hoped to spend on alcohol, whether a beer would be enough etc.

                              But I would add since nobody else has, Jewel Bako is very very good, and it qualifies as not crazy.

                                1. Kai & Sugiyama $80-$150
                                  Yasuda about $80

                                  1. I do the Omakase at Blue Ribbon in Soho every now and then and am always really happy with it. Last time I think we did $80/person and it was an amazing amount of high-quality food.

                                    1. All great suggestions... but you should really go to Soto on 6th Ave in the Village. The guy is a genius.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: cafin8ny

                                        Kanoyama and their new sake/oyster bar.

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                                        Kanoyama
                                        175 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003