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sushi azabu or sushi yasuda?

j
j.jessica.lee Jan 24, 2009 03:24 PM

i know that these places are quite different. i've been to yasuda a few times and think it's HEAVENLY and without compare, but it's not easy on the wallet. i want to take my mom out for sushi for her birthday and am very happy to spend the big bucks on yasuda. i have, however, been reading quite a few posts raving about sushi azabu and the prices are a little friendlier. for those of you who have been to both, is the quality of fish and rice and nori really that much better at yasuda? what are your recommendations? if you pick azabu, what would you order there? do they have good hot food as well?

thanks chowhounders!

  1. j
    j.jessica.lee Jan 27, 2009 03:18 AM

    hello everyone! so we ended up going to yasuda last night and sat in front of yoshi san. it was a truly great birthday experience for my mom who lives down in a place that has, sadly, no really good sushi. we started out with the miniature flash-fried crab appetizer and the grilled black cod marinated in sake. the crabs were about the size of a thumb, crunchy, and delicious. the black cod was also wonderful - silky smooth, not cloyingly over-marinated or over-seasoned as black cod can be these days.

    the sushi.... wow, we had a LOT. both of us had skipped lunch to prepare! we had shimaaji and buri yellowtail, buri being from a larger yellowtail. they were good to start. we had so many pieces that i'll just describe the standouts. my mom fell in love with the sweet shrimp roe sushi. it was wrapped like a piece of salmon roe (ikura) sushi and lay on top of a shiso leaf that was placed on top of the rice. the roe itself was a dark, charcoal grey color. it was really great and definitely something i'd never had before! we each had two pieces of the peace passage oyster - topped with a little coarse salt and a delicate squirt of lemon juice. it was heavenly. succulent, smooth, just briny enough. the oyster never fails me there. what else stood out... my mom really loved the spanish mackerel, as did i. mackerel always has a rather strange texture and a pungent, fishy smell, but this mackerel had none of that. it was REALLY fresh and the flavor was delicate. the texture of the fish was excellent - it just melted in the mouth. my mom also had the toro and the tasmanian trout. she adored both of them, but in particular the trout, which looked very similar to salmon. i had a sea urchin hand roll and it just knocked my socks off as usual. the nori was slightly toasted and had a little crunch to it as i bit into it and then there was the barely warm, fresh rice that yasuda is so famous for and then the crowning smoothness and creaminess of the sea urchin. it was really too good to be able to describe in words. music might come closer. :) it was definitely the highlight of my flight of sushi. we also had the sawani, a white sea eel. there are a few pieces that i order every single time i am at yasuda, and sawani is one of them. (i also get ika/squid, sea urchin hand roll, oyster) while all of yasuda's eel are just fantastic, this is my favorite out of them all. the flesh is perfectly cooked and delicate, just the slightest bit sweet, and you can just taste the absolute freshness of the eel, something very hard to find. yasuda san kills his own eels every morning apparently.

    yoshi san was so great and i would definitely go back and sit in front of him. such an adorable, jolly, and kind man. great sushi and also a really warming smile.

    they sent over a plate of asian pears, kiwi, and pineapple with a candle for my mom's birthday (so sweet!) and we were so full from the meal that we couldn't handle a real dessert right then. we ended up having a bite of a truly amazing white chocolate cake my sister made when we got back to my place.

    thanks again, chowhounders, for your help!! if it's been a while since you've been to yasuda, GO GO GO!!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: j.jessica.lee
      j
      j.jessica.lee Jan 27, 2009 03:20 AM

      oooooh, i forgot one piece that my mom LOVED. it was the rock crab sushi. it was shredded bits of rock crab molded atop the rice. i think there was a little coarse salt and lemon. it was DELICIOUS!!

    2. f
      foodwhisperer Jan 25, 2009 10:21 PM

      Azabu is not that much less expensive than yasuda, i went tonite and spent $500 for 3 people including drinks,,the $100 omakase. The Ankimo , the Sharako, the Anago, and the miso soup ,,i find to be exceptional. The quality of the fish at Azabu is very good and mostly from japan. The chef is skilled and trained in Japan. Yasuda sushi is a higher level but the dishes i mentioned are worth trying at Azabu. 15 East I think has the best fish , and Kanoyama the largest assortment of japanese fish.

      1. j
        j.jessica.lee Jan 25, 2009 09:57 AM

        wow, a resounding vote for yasuda! thanks so much everyone. now, as you may have seen above, i just posted asking about sugiyama vs. yasuda (again, very different). have any of you been there? if so, could you possibly post on the sugiyama thread? thanks again for all of your help!! i'll be sure to let you know where we end up going.

        3 Replies
        1. re: j.jessica.lee
          l
          Lau Jan 25, 2009 11:51 AM

          i love both places, but they are very different (sugiyama is more expensive btw) and to a certain degree not really comparable.

          Sugiyama is a kaiseki place and the vast majority of what you're going to get a series of small cooked dishes / soups with maybe one set of sashmi or sushi. The food is excellent and the menu obviously changes. Everything is always executed very well and the ingredients are always very good.

          Yasuda is simply a great sushi restaurant, excellent quality of meat, excellent knife work and some of the best rice i've ever had.

          if you search the boards you'll find many reports on sugiyama although alot of them are fairly dated

          here's the yelp reviews on sugiyama:
          http://www.yelp.com/biz/sugiyama-rest...

          1. re: j.jessica.lee
            k
            kobetobiko Jan 25, 2009 12:08 PM

            Please do a search about sugiyama and you will find reviews:
            http://chowhound.chow.com/search?sear...

            Sugiyama, as Lau mentioned, is kaiseki. A correction is that no sushi will be served. Sashimi will be served as one of the courses.

            1. re: kobetobiko
              l
              Lau Jan 25, 2009 12:36 PM

              sorry kobetobiko is right, there is no sushi, but there is sashmi

          2. l
            lanadai Jan 25, 2009 09:05 AM

            If I had the money I would go to Yasuda. The only thing I like better at Azabu is the atmosphere.

            1. k
              kobetobiko Jan 24, 2009 06:33 PM

              For me, sushi yasuda is a whole league better than sushi azabu. It's simply not the same level.

              1 Reply
              1. re: kobetobiko
                l
                Lau Jan 24, 2009 06:49 PM

                agreed with kobetobiko, while i like azabu quite a bit it is not in the same league as yasuda

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