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Yasuda with Deep Pockets - What to Order?

I'm going to Yasuda for the first time the Friday.

What must I order? Do they offer omakasa?

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  1. At Yasuda, they give you a sheet where the fish that the chef recommends is marked in red. I'm assuming that this means the freshest fish, though I can see a cynic saying that the fish marked in red will be the oldest fish that they're trying to get rid of. From my experience, it's the freshest ones as I once had a not so hot uni that didn't have the red mark. The uni wasn't bad like the dirty underwear one I've had many years ago at cheap sushi joint. But it wasn't that great either. So after that experience I wouldn't get uni (which is known to go bad very quickly) unless it has the red mark.

    1. hopefully you are sitting at the bar and can do omikase. You may make requests but usually you should just sit back and let the meal develop as the chef decides for you. You will probably be handed a daily fish offering that you may pick from too, including if you want to repeat something. From there you can pick the most over the top expensive item they have and heck, get a double order of it

      seriously, just get the omikase and enjoy.

      9 Replies
      1. re: dhs

        Sit at the bar in front of Yasuda if possible and order the omikase.

        Unless of course you are overly picky then you might want to order from the menu. To me though that defeats the purpose of going to a high end sushi place. It is better to leave it to the Sushi-ya, you won't be disappointed.

        1. re: MVNYC

          I really think it depends on the person. If one isn't familiar with the different types of fish out there, an omakase is a good way to try things that you wouldn't have tried in the past. And if you're one of those people who tend to agonize over what to pick on the menu, an omakase can be beneficial in that the choosing has been done for you.

          I'm not picky, but I certainly have my preferences in terms of sushi. May not be a perfectly balanced meal in terms of my selections, but I'd rather order what I like as opposed to sitting through a few orders of items I'm not crazy about (ie. fluke). And as I'm a freak about their steamed crab innards appetizer (don't always find this in restaurants), I must have it if it's offered.

          1. re: Miss Needle

            As long as you're not too picky omakase should be fine. They ask you if there are things you do/dont like and go from there.

            The first time I had uni at Yasuda was not long after having it at Tsukiji fish market. I didn't think there was an extreme difference in quality. Maybe it was a bad day?

            1. re: silverlainy

              Perhaps it was a bad day. I've had uni before at Yasuda (and many other sushi restaurants) with no problem at all. Didn't recall whether there was a red mark. But the last time I had it (two months ago?), it wasn't very good at all. DH, who normally can put away the uni, didn't order any more after the first round.

            2. re: Miss Needle

              Well Omikase is not iron clad. You can always supplement with additional items or make requests for things you do not like. Personally I like leaving it in the hands of someone who selects the fish and has years of experience to give me what I would enjoy best. Granted it takes a few trips to a place for the chef to figure out what your tastes are. However you can make your preferences known before hand as to which types of fish you enjoy. Lucky for me I like to eat everything. While I am fairly knowledgeable about fish, places like this give me the opportunity to try different species, cuts or stages of fish that I have not previously had.

              I warned the original poster about pickiness because there has been a proliferation of threads recently where people are disappointed when going to city institutions by ordering the wrong things or having unrealistic interpretation. It wasn't meant to imply all those that do not order omikase are picky.

              1. re: Miss Needle

                i usually get omakase, but that steamed crab innards app sounds great (i love that stuff) and i've never tried it, i owe my gf yasuda anyhow as i lost a bet to her...guess ill be making a res this week

                1. re: Lau

                  I really love that stuff as well. When I was growing up, the innards were the best part. Luckily, our family ate mostly Baltimore crabs cooked Korean casserole style (with gochujang and daenjang) so there were always enough crab tops for all of us. But DH is partial to Dungeoness crabs and we sometimes run into a problem dividing the innards as we generally only share one crab.

                  If your girlfriend is feeling decadent, that can be quite an expensive bet you lost. Hope you enjoy your meal at Yasuda!

                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    hey is the crab innards app on the menu? (so i know where to look for it when i go)

                    are you talking about kokaetang? i love that stuff, if you ever go to LA let me know there is a kokaetang restaurant you have to try

                    1. re: Lau

                      The last time I was there (about 1.5 months ago) it was there. But I'd probably call ahead to make sure as they don't have their menu posted online. I think calling at a non-busy time would be a good idea as the reservation guy can be quite a grouch at times.

                      Yup, about the ko kae tang. It's really good and something I haven't been able to find at the Korean restaurants in NYC. I wanted to try to attempt to make it at home but I'm kind of chicken at cutting up live crab. I'm actually flying through LA in about a week but won't have enough time to eat any meals. I'll definitely let you know the next time I'm out there. Too bad you can't find it in NYC -- it's one of my favorite things.

          2. I recently went a couple of weeks ago and did the omakase at the bar. I wasn't in Yasuda's corner but my chef was fantastic none the less. He asked what we disliked. We told him both dislikes and likes. He pampered us with a great variety of fish. The uni I had was fantastically fresh and buttery. The chef was very attentive and made sure to ask us if we wanted more. They will charge by the piece. We had just one repeat from our own request because the toro was just that good.

            In the end, it was the best sushi and service I've ever had. I recommend making reservations for a seat at the bar and do the omakase.

            Oh and for price point, we each had 22 pieces of sushi and paid about $300 (including tax, tip, 1 beer, and 1 sake).

            1. "Omakase" just means chef's choice. You can order that and put yourself in the chef's hands and then supplement with repeat items or other things you want to try. The red circles indicate recommendations, limited season items, special acquisitions, or things that they are highlighting. It might mean that they are trying to move some items. The uni, whether highlighted or not, is going to be fresh. It's highly perishable, not to mention very popular at Yasuda. If you have deep pockets, it's fun to order varieties of single types to compare. For example, trying a series of different squid or shrimp or uni. He usually has many types of tuna from not only different locations but from different parts of the tuna's body. Usually a good variety of eel as well. If you sit in front of Yasuda-san, he can be a bit of a huckster upselling multiple items. Some people find this oft-putting, but if you've got deep pockets, it's fun to indulge. I don't know if the other chefs do this.

              1. If you're lucky, he'll have multiple types of toro. Get all of them.

                Then get one of every uni. Maybe two of them in a handroll at the end (his nori is phenomenal)

                Then one of every eel.

                Does anyone know if it's scallop roe season yet? I could probably eat 10 scallop roe in a row and not get tired of them.

                Peace passage oysters.

                If you have no strong sushi preferences, just let him choose. You'll get a broad selection, and he tends to give them in pairs and triplets so you can compare. If you do have preferences, I recommend looking through the list, letting him know which pieces you definitely want, and let him build a meal for you based on your preferences. My first meal there was good (and a major educational experience for me), but at the beginning of my second meal, I let him know I definitely wanted uni, a peace passage oyster, and kama toro, and got a phenomenal meal - he went heavy on shellfish and roe, lighter on non-fatty fish. Not preferences I could have articulated before that meal, but he picked up on it and did a fantastic job of tailoring it to my likes.

                2 Replies
                1. re: daveena

                  I have to stop reading this string of posts because I'm dying for some fish! Sounds so friggin' good. I will be there in a few weeks. I'm in....

                  1. re: danieli10

                    Yeah this is really making me crave yasuda. Must make reservations for january.

                    Yasuda (and prob the other sushi chefs) have an excellent memory for your taste if you goa few times. He remembered exactly what my friend's ordered her first time sitting in front of him over a year ago. Now that she's a regular he makes sure to save her favorites when she reserves a spot.

                2. my three favorite things to eat there are the oyster, the scallion toro roll and the uni cigar. well i love the fried softshell crab too but that's not in season right now.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

                    oh...the uni cigar. man, you are killing me. it is so good. must make reservation now as someone else said.

                    the last time i sat in front of Master Yasuda was a real delight. I asked him if he had any local Weakfish from long island as it was prime season and his eyes lit up. it was definitely not on the menu but it was incredible. I don't even like weakfish cooked but it was fantastic prepared by Yasuda. We both joked how some people call it sea trout but it is not trout, haha. Then he gave us pinkfish with a wisecrack about it tasting like a times square hooker haha... next came a needlefish from japan. i watched him skin the needlefish and was happy when he gave me the skin freshly out of the deep fryer as a treat. needlefish cracklin!

                    going to yasuda is always a fantastic experience regardless of who you sit in front of. However, this last time in front of master Yasuda himself was a real treat. He definitely remembered us and we were treated to fish that i have never had at any sushi restaurant. His preparation is incredible and after speaking to him in depth about curing fish i think that i know understand why his fish is that much better than most others around,.

                  2. Guess you already went and I'm a bit late with this. Hope you had a good time!
                    There is a world of difference between sitting at the bar with Yasuda and eating at a table.

                    The point of Yasuda is sushi since his rice is phenomenal. If you have extremely deep pockets and want fish, go to Kuruma.

                    Therefore, my recs are for sushi pieces that are either unique to him or that complement his style the best:

                    Fluke fin
                    Orange clam
                    Peace passage oyster
                    Scallion toro roll
                    Uni cigar
                    Menegi (that is scallion sprouts, I've not seen it anywhere else)

                    My last Yasuda review from a few months back: http://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot...

                    1. Sit in front of a chef that is NOT Yasuda. Yasuda rushes you like crazy, upsells all the time, and is a bullshit showman who talks about himself the entire time and expects you to laugh at his stupid jokes and actually care about what he's saying. The sushi bar is much more enjoyable with one of the other chefs. Leave yourself in the chef's hands and enjoy. Start with sashimi, and then move to sushi.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: gutsofsteel

                        Well - Myself and two others were able to accumulate a $700 omakasa bill. We sat a Yusada's corner. We asked to be feed and never stopped until he did to close the restaurant.
                        Yusada is an arrogant asshole! He's aggressive and very critical and opinionated about the correct ways to eat sushi.

                        1. re: shoeman

                          I would hope he is opinionated about the correct ways to eat sushi. He has lived most of his life learning the art of creating sushi and there are ways in which he views it should be enjoyed. Again this is not for everyone but I tend to respect and value the opinion of the master, the customer is not always right.

                          How was the food?

                          1. re: MVNYC

                            It's not a question of his opinion or his expertise. His attitude is unpleasant and it makes for an uncomfortable experience. There are other ways to guide and instruct diners. There are other very skilled and masterful sushi chefs in this city who do not have this kind of attitude, yet still manage to guide and instruct their customers. I eat at the top sushi places in the city with frequency, and I try to avoid sitting at Yasuda's station. The other chefs at Yasuda are equally skilled, without the arrogance and the obvious ego issues.

                            1. re: gutsofsteel

                              LOL-I have been saying this for a LONG time. Yasuda is an arrogant prick and very over-rated.

                              He hates cutting sashimi and is bad at it. He rushes you through the meal, which means warm fish and cool rice. He was never an eel chef in Tokyo. He has been living here since he is 18 and was an apprentice at Hatushana. That was the only place he ever worked before opening his own place.

                              I would take my money and go to a different sushi bar. Which I do. Often. There are MUCH better places in NYC.

                              1. re: sushiman

                                Love Yasuda. Maybe he inspires love and hatred in some people but so do all masters of their craft. I'd say that he is the Dom DeMarco of sushi.
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/391236

                                1. re: sushiman

                                  loquacious - yeah.
                                  opinionated - sure.
                                  garrulous - shit, yeah.
                                  a "prick" - ?

                                  i'm looking for some change ... what would you suggest?

                        2. Omakase definitely, in front of Yasuda. I've always found him to be gracious and funny. And he always asks about your preferences as well so you won't get stuck with something you know you'll hate.

                          14 Replies
                          1. re: PegS

                            Every decent sushi bar chef asks about your preferences.

                            The last time I sat in front of Yasuda (when I decided I would never sit in front of him again) he spent the entire time discussing his weightlifting routine and was clearly annoyed when my friend and I spoke to each other rather than listen to him talk about himself. And yes, his cutting leaves much to be desired.

                            1. re: gutsofsteel

                              We had the exact experience. He showed us his mussels (sic) and talked about body building.
                              I dipped my sushi fish side down. He yelled at me at a full bar "would you eat a hotdog upside down"
                              That is the way I'm was taught in Japan. I beleive that way is acceptable?

                            2. re: PegS

                              Omakase in front of Yasuda is pretty special. I can understand some commenting that he seems to rush you but it's not hard to slow things down and dial-in the pace that works for you.

                              I like Yasuda's skills, his fish and his rice. He can be charming. At no time has he ever interrupted me or my family at the bar. My son and I are greedy omnivores, my wife has specific likes and dislikes. Yasuda has always been both solicitous and accommodating.

                              In short, Sushi Yasuda is one of the best food destinations for me in Manhattan.

                              1. re: steve h.

                                For comparison, what other sushi bars do you frequent in the city?

                                1. re: gutsofsteel

                                  I was about to ask you the same question.

                                  Since this is a post about Sushi Yasuda, I'll stick to that topic. Feel free to start another thread if you would like to discuss comparisons.

                                  1. re: steve h.

                                    Naah, not interested in rehashing that for the milionth time. Suffice it to say that I agree with the others posters on this thread who had negative things to say about Yasuda. I like having lunch there, but with the other chefs.

                                    1. re: gutsofsteel

                                      Two opinions make a market and that's a good thing.

                                      Happy holidays.

                                      1. re: steve h.

                                        When I sat in front of a different sushi chef I didn't feel like he had as good of a sense of what I like from what I told him but he was extremely friendly. I've always found Yasuda entertaining and kind but everyone has their own service preferences.

                                        1. re: silverlainy

                                          I'm planning to go to Yasuda and was hoping for some feedback. I'll be going with decidedly less deep pockets (hoping to keep it to $200 for two with tax/tip and maybe one drink each). I like the idea of the omakase but what is the etiquette on making clear your budget? Based on the remarks above, it sounds like some people really enjoy Yasuda while others find him overbearing (to say the least). This will be a special occasion for my bf's birthday, so I hope to feel comfortable to enjoy each other's company while enjoying amazing sushi. Are there other chefs that people recommend? TIA

                                          1. re: queenseats

                                            i ate there on saturday, took my gf and her mom there, my bill was $257 including tax, but not including tip. That was 3 omakase + 2 orders of the kani miso, no drinks. You can swing $100 / person

                                            1. re: Lau

                                              As a point of reference, what places in Tokyo, for instance, are most similar to Yasuda?

                                                1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                                                  There are many similar places in Tokyo. Go to the Japan board and post a request or go to Tabelog. Be specific about what part of town. There are dozens of options. Yasuda is an above average moderately priced restaurant by Tokyo standards.

                                            2. re: queenseats

                                              Just tell Yasuda (or whoever your itamae is) you'd like to keep it under $200. It's not rude at all. It should be enough food, though my husband and I are big eaters and our bill is usually around $300. We also like to sit in front of Yasuda and have spent quite a few special occasions there without feeling uncomfortable at all, but other sushi chefs are great as well, especially Tatsu-san.

                              2. On a recent visit I requested an "off-menu", "in-season" item ... and they delivered.
                                Can (deep) "passion" trump "pockets"?

                                3 Replies
                                  1. re: TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis

                                    is there really a difference since you are paying for what you eat anyway? it is not like Yasuda is all you can eat or anything. unless you go in there saying, "gimme the most expensive stuff you have".

                                    i think that the OP was simply implying that they understand that it might cost a bit for a "complete" experience.

                                    1. re: Yaxpac

                                      On re-reading my response, I realized that my suggestion could be construed as flip and possibly offensive. If so, my apologies to the OP.

                                      Expectations often craft experience, sadly.
                                      "is there really a difference since you are paying for what you eat anyway?" ...
                                      In many instances, I suspect not.
                                      And I suspect this only because, in my case, I believe it does make a difference.