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Yasuda Sushi~reservations essential?

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We are coming from SF to NYC. I am thinking of surprising my SO with a lunch at Yasuda Sushi in combo with our trek to the MOMA. This will probably be on a Monday. Do I need reservations for lunch?

Also~I cannot get a feel for prices at Yasuda from the website. I am assuming we can order what we want by the piece or plate. Is that true?

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  1. They accept walk-ins, but that will probably not get you a seat at the bar, which is preferrable. We love sitting at the bar and especially in front of chef Yasuda, so I would try to make a reservation if I were you.

    "am assuming we can order what we want by the piece or plate. Is that true?" Yes, it is true, even if you sit in front of chef Yasuda. They have this good lunch deal (I forget which one of them, but you will see) and if you choose that and let the chef pick the pieces, you will be happy. We have done this many times, and did again in June, when we had lunch there. So good!
    Enjoy!

    5 Replies
    1. re: FoodWine

      one of my favorite sushi meals was at the bar with Yasuda. He got wasted with me and my date of the time. Great experience. Would definitely reserve Chef Yasuda if you can for the experience

      1. re: shanshan

        Hrrmph. He's never gotten wasted with me. He claims he doesn't drink (much) on the job!

        1. re: cimui

          Hah :) Only had him as my chef at bar once. Could have been a blurred memory: maybe it was just I who was wasted and he was not keeping up with me as much I as thought. For what it's worth, I was his last customer of the night and he was only serving me. He was explaining to me history of sushi, how I was eating it wrong 50% of the time, etc. And he thought my date was quite pretty..he said if I returned "we had faces he would remember" (looking at her not me..)

          1. re: shanshan

            Sounds like a fun experience!
            Luckily Yasuda is so hilarious even when he is not drunk, that you can be sure to entertained :-D

            1. re: shanshan

              He does that at lunchtime too, the weird stories that is. I don't think he was drunk at 1pm. He was telling me about about his recent vacation in Japan and how his friend took him to a Chinese area for the nightclubs/karaoke places. He mentioned how they had to purchase drinks for the women who sat with them and how ridiculously expensive the whole experience was (200-300 dollars). I was sitting there wondering if he was mocking me because my avg bill is about 200. Then I started to think that a guy making me food with hands really shouldn't make me think about where those hands might have been.

      2. IIRC, the sushi lunch prix fixe is $24 and includes soup or salad, five pieces of nigiri sushi, and two maki rolls. You choose your rolls and nigiri sushi from a list.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kathryn

          There is one, more expensive fixed price option for lunch with more sushi pieces included.
          If you order that and sit in front of the chef and tell him to choose the pieces for you, you will be a happy puppy. So will you SO.
          I think it is about $38 dollars. Sounds like a lot, but here's the thing: if you ordered those same pieces separately, you would pay at least double. (one of us once did, and essentially got the same pieces we got, but paid more than double).
          We have done this numerous times at the bar, in front of the chef: it is heavenly.

        2. On a Monday in August, you are probably okay as a walk in but I live and work a few blocks from Yasuda and have had problems with walking in a few times, so make a reservation to be sure. As for prices, they are not cheap, but I would tell you to forget about the lunch special and order what you want. You will want to try the many different types of tuna, eel and others. The lunch special gives you a choice of the more standard types of fish, and since you are in from SF, might as well go all out.

          1. they have a very popular business lunch clientele so i'd call ahead. id only go to yasuda to sit at the bar. ive found that the food at the tables can be hit or miss...something occasionally doesnt transfer well...particularly the peace passage oysters.

            as for prices, if you are at the bar, its omakase...expect to pay around $80 for 10-12 pieces to $140 for $15-18 pieces. thats been my experience.

            1. Basic tuna/salmon/yellowtail/mackerel/eel should be $4-$5. Fatty tuna/urchin maybe $8-$9, I think. Eel other than unagi somewhere in between (sorry I don't have an old fish list here to say for sure, must have discarded it).

              Lunch special will obviously not include toro, uni, peace passage oysters, specialty eels, etc, but you can generally put together a meal with recommended fish (marked off with red marks on the fish list I mentioned before). There's an option with sashimi that only includes one roll.

              Might as well make a reservation if you're worried, I believe they are accepted for 12:00 & 1:30.

              If you order a bunch of pieces a la carte I suppose one of every 7-8 may be comped. I won't bother telling you that X number of pieces will cost $Y because that totally depends on what you're ordering. Even with "omakase" you're entitled to request the chef include/exclude according to your likes/dislikes.

              4 Replies
              1. re: JacksonH

                is it 1 in 7-8? I haven't figured out how he does it yet. i always feel like i'm paying for less than the number of pieces that I ate.

                1. re: JacksonH

                  "Lunch special will obviously not include toro, uni ... specialty eels, etc, "

                  The more expensive fixed price lunch special does include above mentioned items, among other possible specials that are in season. It also includes delicacies like scallop liver. (ooh-la-laa!) We have had this fixed price lunch several times (in front of chef Yasuda) and have been in heaven.

                  1. re: FoodWine

                    OK, I see on menupages a "Sushi-Matsu" for $36 that includes 12 pieces and a half-roll. Do they essentially allow any 12 pieces that are available that day? That would really be a steal.

                    One note about reservations at Yasuda. They will generally call you the day before to confirm. If they leave a voicemail, you need to call back in time or they will cancel your reservation. On one occassion, they didn't call to confirm or just didn't bother to leave a message and the next day just before lunchtime I had a voicemail that my reservation was cancelled.

                    1. re: JacksonH

                      Thanks, yes, I think that is it.
                      I never tried to choose my own pieces, I love letting chef Yasuda choose them. But that one time when one in our group went strictly "omakase" (outside that menu), there really was no difference in his pieces and ours.

                      They have also seem to have a "do not be late" policy: you might lose your reservation if you are.