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where should an uni "virgin" try uni?

Over the years I've slowly opened up to more and more foods, and am finally ready for (and endlessly intrigued by) uni. Where would you recommend an uni virgin try her first uni?

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  1. Mine was at Tocqueville when it was in the old stand - one of the most memorable appetizers of my lifetime. Their other restaurant, 15 East (more Japanese-oriented), would be my choice in your shoes.

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    15 East
    15 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

      1. Two non-Japanese ideas: Esca and El Quinto Pino.

        1 Reply
        1. re: small h

          Quinto Pino is a perfect place to try uni for a beginner. That sandwich is really special!
          JeremyEG

        2. I was a uni "virgin" until not very long ago and was very hesitant about trying it because I hate anything that's very fishy. My understanding is that the uni that comes from CA is much milder and sweeter than what comes from Maine. So, trusting Chef Humm at EMP as I do, and knowing he uses Santa Barbara sea urchin, I took the plunge. Of course, the sea urchin there is not served "straight" but is incorporated into dishes with other ingredients. For me, that was a really comfortable way to dip my gustatory toe into the uni pool.

          Currently at EMP, this fabulous amuse contains sea urchin: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

          Here's another dish with sea urchin at EMP that was served to us earlier this year: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

          Veritas has a superb dish with sea urchin on the 9-course tasting: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

          Allegretti has this pasta dish with sea urchin: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

          Now, I think I'm ready to try it straight. And that may very well happen when I have my first sushi experience next week -- at Yasuda.

          4 Replies
          1. re: RGR

            Can't wait for your Yasuda photos and commentary, since I haven't been there either.

            The uni appetizer at Marea (ricci) was my first uni dish. Highly recommended.

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            Marea
            240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

            1. re: fm1963

              I too was a uni virgin until Sunday. I had some at Degustation. It was with the sunchoke soup but because i was afraid of not liking it the chef put it on the side. I loved everything about from the texture to the sweet and briney taste which was like an oyster lobster combo. It was delicious stirred into the soup.

              1. re: fm1963

                You're so sweet, fam1963! :) Unfortunately, you'll have to wait a while longer for my Yasuda photos and commentaire. Something's come up, and we had to cancel.

              2. re: RGR

                Yasuda was the first place where I basically ate uni raw, unaccompanied by masking ingredients. And it was sublime.

              3. I have no qualms about any of the other recommendations. But some memorable uni experiences I had have been at Marea, and at Soto. At Marea you can really just dip your pinky toe in if you order their sea urchin and lardo "ricci" at the bar.

                And Soto... the man is an uni genius. I did the omakase there about 18 months ago, and there was some uni in at least half of the dishes.

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                Marea
                240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019