HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
What are you cooking today?
TELL US

Yasuda Sushi Bar with Wife (she no gusta sushi...)

porker Apr 30, 2010 04:03 AM

Yet another Yasuda enquiry...
Visiting NYC from Montreal, I would like to try some decent omakaze without mortgaging the house (again) and Yasuda sounds good.
I'd like to sit at the sushi bar and suggest a price range of $150 or so.
The wife, however, hardly eats sushi.
I'd like your opinion on the restaurant's attitude for something like this. She certainly wants to eat (and, of course quaff) but looking at Yasuda's menu on nymag.com, her pickings seem slim.
She's more of a salad/soup/tempura/gyoza/yakitori person.
Any thoughts?

  1. thew Apr 30, 2010 04:56 AM

    my thoughts - don;t drag her to yasuda. it is a sushi place, not a japanese restaurant. So either eat there by yourself while she goes elsewhere for dinner (sakegura is right across the street) or go some time you're here w/out her.

    1. g
      gutsofsteel Apr 30, 2010 05:53 AM

      Don't go to Yasuda. Try 15 East.

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

      1. a
        another_lau Apr 30, 2010 06:55 AM

        yasuda-san is a bit of a purist, and certainly isn't the most accommodating sushi chef in the world. (i've seen him told people off many times, for doing something silly like trying to order spicy tuna roll. even seen him kick people out once.) however, he's very good at what he does. if you come from out of town and fork out serious money for omakase, there's no sense in not choosing to sit at the head chef's station at the bar (for him you might need a week's advance booking). but then that would be awkward if your wife doesn't eat any sushi. chances are he would take it as a challenge and try to convert your wife. don't know how it would end up.

        so i'd say forget it. go to something like 15 east like gutsofsteel suggests. they have somewhat more variety of cooked food. and the head chef is a nice guy. (I heard the rest of the crew sucks though, so do definitely book at the head chef's station)

        1. u
          uwsister Apr 30, 2010 11:02 AM

          I like Yasuda a lot, but like other posters suggested, 15 East is much better for this particular occasion. Excellent sushi AND cooked food.

          1. p
            pork_buns Apr 30, 2010 11:15 AM

            Take her to Nobu 57 instead. Much better choices for a non-sushi-eater. I'm sure you'll get a table if you're willing to turn up and wait at the bar for 45 mins-1 hour.

            -----
            Nobu 57
            40 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019

            6 Replies
            1. re: pork_buns
              bgut1 Apr 30, 2010 02:50 PM

              +1 on the Nobu 57 recommendation.

              -----
              Nobu 57
              40 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019

              1. re: bgut1
                a
                another_lau Apr 30, 2010 03:22 PM

                nobu 57 is a good restaurant, but the sushi is totally mediocre. if you want to eat well and make the wife happy, fine. but seems to defeat the purpose of trying high end sushi.

                1. re: another_lau
                  g
                  gutsofsteel Apr 30, 2010 03:43 PM

                  Totally agree. You want a very good sushi experience AND other food that is very good at the same place for your wife to enjoy. Stick with 15 East. Reserve at the bar.

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

                  1. re: another_lau
                    bgut1 Apr 30, 2010 03:57 PM

                    I don't know if I would classify the sushi at Nobu as being "totally mediocre", but I clearly understand the distinction between that and what is served at Yasuda.

                    -----
                    Nobu
                    105 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013

                    1. re: bgut1
                      a
                      another_lau May 1, 2010 03:32 PM

                      maybe "totally medicore" was a little harsh. hope i didn't sound like such a snob~ but yeah the sushi at nobu isn't really special enough to worth the trip from montreal

                      1. re: bgut1
                        u
                        Uncle Yabai Oct 17, 2010 01:57 AM

                        How about "absolutely mediocre"? Is that a better choice of words? In the 90s, I lived in Japan and so did a friend of mine from school who now lives in NYC. I visit NYC recently and we get together for lunch. He suggests Nobu 57, close to both our offices in Midtown. "Absolutely mediocre" pretty much defines it. I give my friend, who should know better, a lot of grief. Fast forward a few months. Friend is in Tokyo for business. I point him to a couple of good sushi places, which he goes to and is absolutely blown away. Friend apologizes by getting on his knees and begging forgiveness for his blunder on Nobu 57. I forgive him, as I am great and generous in that way.

                        -----
                        Nobu 57
                        40 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019

                2. f
                  fooder May 1, 2010 02:28 PM

                  Have not been to 15 East but it's on my list. Would also like to throw in Kanoyama as a suggestion.

                  But the real question is, what's your wife going to eat? That is, if all she's going to do is order a $20 tempura while you go to town on the omakase, I'm not sure most places are happy to have you sit at the sushi bar for that. It's like how most places have a "tasting menu for the entire table" policy. If she's willing to sit through a multi-course cooked food tasting menu, then perhaps it would work at the aforementioned 15 East or Nobu.

                  Another possibility is Sushi Seki, where you can get the equivalent omakase selection at a table while your wife gets a $20 tempura entree.

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

                  Kanoyama
                  175 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                  Nobu
                  105 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: fooder
                    g
                    gutsofsteel May 1, 2010 02:33 PM

                    I do like some of Kanoyama's prepared foods, but their sushi/sashimi is really nothing special.

                    -----
                    Kanoyama
                    175 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                    1. re: fooder
                      a
                      another_lau May 1, 2010 03:15 PM

                      i think sushi seki has top rate sushi (although i find the head chef's basic sushi skill questionable - the other chefs are somewhat better, surprisingly), but i guess if he's coming from montreal, he will appreciate the kind of traditional sushi at Yasuda or 15 East more. my understanding is this kind of traditional high end sushi basically doesn't exist in montreal, whereas there are a few places that do decent modern/creative.

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

                    2. porker Jun 16, 2010 04:31 AM

                      I liked the array of responses to my question - thanks to all, the answers actually helped me in my decision making.
                      We arrived in NYC at about 3:00pm, time to freshen up and hit a few watering holes on our way to Yasuda for our 7:30 reservation.
                      Speaking of which, as I read on other threads, the reserve process can seem curt, but no sweat as I was fore-warned. I was asked what sushi Chef I wanted. Of course I said Mr. Yasuda, but was disappointed as he was out this particular night...
                      When trying to re-confirm the reservation, the restaurant called my machine at home. I had to play that message back 5 times, getting bits and pieces each time!

                      The restaurant is very non-descript. It was difficult to spot, even though we had the address. Entering at 7:30, the place was somewhat sparse (as the night went on, it filled to capacity) with only a trio finishing up at the sushi bar and two deuces.
                      We were shown to our seats at the end of the bar.
                      I went into a spiel on how we're from out of town and had wanted omakase. Here's where I was first surprised - the chef explained that they do not offer omakase, but rather a chef's choice for a set price and we can go from there. I then let him choose our sake to go with the meal.
                      To me, call it by another name, but we let him choose our pieces one by one. Perhaps for him it wasn't true omakaze, but it suited us just fine.
                      This sushi chef seemed to be head and shoulders above the others at the bar. About 15 minutes in, I asked him his name.
                      "Yasuda" he answered.
                      Blinking, not quite sure what I heard, I asked him again.
                      "Yasuda - I'm owner here"
                      "Yeah I know, but I was told you were off tonight, didn't expect you."
                      Smiling, he says "Yeah, well when you have to work, you have to work." The other guy didn't show up and he, of course had to fill in.
                      Pleasant surprise.
                      another_lau hit it on the head:
                      "chances are he would take it as a challenge and try to convert your wife."
                      and we all hit it off.

                      The sushi was sublime, making the cheap joints at home seem like cardboard with rice. The wife enjoyed your basic pieces, but did not attempt items such as roe or scallop sexual organ.
                      For me, attitude and respect go a long way in any situation. I think that when Mr. Yasuda saw for himself what kind of place we were in, he seemed to enjoy serving and teaching us. I even felt a twang of guilt at how much attention he paid to us while still serving others!
                      With enthusiasm, he explained a wide variety of topics, from how to pick up various pieces, to how the temperature of rice and fish were crucial, most other places getting it wrong, to the subleties of different species of trout, or even between the same species, but harvested from different areas.
                      Many times he'd begin with "_________ is sushi MYTH" (fill in the blank) and go on to explain.

                      The bill had come to about $190 not including tip.
                      All in all, a great experience I'd recommend to anyone.
                      Even the wife gusta!

                      Thank you Mr. Yasuda.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: porker
                        a
                        another_lau Jun 16, 2010 06:43 AM

                        congrats congrats! yes the guy can be very charming and friendly if he decides that he likes you! and for the rice, i'm yet to find any other place in the whole of north america that matches.

                        1. re: another_lau
                          s
                          sushiman Jun 16, 2010 07:57 AM

                          His rice is not what it used to be.

                          There are several diffferent styles of sushi rice. Most chef's in NYC use only white vinegar because it is the cheapest and the easiest on most palates.

                          15 East uses very expensive red vinegar. That is one of the things that makes his Ginza style sushi so special.

                          Shinbashi uses 1/3 red and two other varieties for a more subtle red vinegar flavor, but keeps the rice a little warmer than most.

                          Yasuda's rice is fine, but was out of this world when he first opened. Not sure if he still makes it every day like he used to. Maybe on the days he does make it it is still very good.

                          But the bottom line is the at IMO there are better examples out there.

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

                          Shinbashi
                          7 East 48th Street, New York, NY 10017

                          Ginza
                          251 E 35th St, New York, NY 10016

                          1. re: sushiman
                            Noodle fanatic Jun 16, 2010 11:45 PM

                            Sushiman, I really admire your expert sushi knowledge! I'd love if you wouldn't mind listing your top personal favorite sushi restaurants (or Japanese restaurants with great sushi) in Manhattan for:
                            1) under $30/pp
                            2) under $50/pp
                            3) under $100/pp
                            4) $100+/pp

                            Price per person NOT including tax/tip/drinks/food-items-that-are-not-sushi/sashimi. Thanks in advance!

                            1. re: Noodle fanatic
                              s
                              sushiman Jun 17, 2010 09:05 AM

                              I do not go to any "cheap" places. Great sushi/food and low prices are unfortunately not compatible. The best ingredients are always costly.

                              Having said that, Seki, 15 East, Shinbashi, Sushiden East in a pinch, Kyo Ya, Tori Shin. I hear that Hakata Tonton is good for motsu and stuff, have to visit soon. Hiura in Fort Lee too. Great sushi and kitchen food.

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

                              Kyo Ya
                              94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                              Sushiden
                              19 E 49th St, New York, NY 10017

                              Shinbashi
                              7 East 48th Street, New York, NY 10017

                              Hakata Tonton
                              61 Grove St, New York, NY 10014

                              1. re: sushiman
                                Noodle fanatic Jun 17, 2010 09:28 AM

                                I completely understand that. But let's say you forgot your credit cards, and only had $50 cash on you and you're craving sushi. Where would you go? I know it won't be the best or amazing, but where are you willing to eat? I suppose it could be a little embarrassing to admit, but alright I'll take the plunge... when I don't want to spend more than $50 on sushi, I either go to Yama or Kanoyama, or if I'm not feeling too lazy, Sunrise Mart to buy fish to make it myself.

                                -----
                                Sunrise Mart
                                4 Stuyvesant St, New York, NY 10003

                                Kanoyama
                                175 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                1. re: Noodle fanatic
                                  y
                                  Yaxpac Jun 18, 2010 08:08 PM

                                  if it was me and i had 50 bucks i would go to Hatsuhana. Their "sushi deluxe" for $38 is a pretty good deal.

                      Show Hidden Posts