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Jul 17, 2010 10:14 AM

I'm itchin' for urchin - best uni dishes in NYC?

I've recently become addicted to uni - or as a friend likes to say, "I'm itchin' for urchin!"

I like it all fancy (the Uni Sushi with Quail Egg & Rock Salt at Yasuda is to die for) and I like it served prosaically (a $6 Uni Handroll at Monster Sushi will do me fine).

I tried the Uni Cocktail at Soto, which was I felt was a little overrated (and yes, I realize that's uni-blasphemy), and I'm eyeing the uni pasta dish at Jean George next.

re there any other paeans to uni in NYC that you recommend?

357 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10014

Jean Georges
1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

Sushi Yasuda
204 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017

Monster Sushi
22 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    Sea urchin roe on a bed of jalapeño-wasabi jam; seaweed salt; wakame-orange scented broth
    Sea urchin risotto; toasted nori; urchin-citrus emulsion (dinner only)

    Santa Barbara sea urchin, black bread, jalapeño and yuzu (dinner only)

    Sea urchin panna cotta, chilled ocean consommé, caviar (dinner only)

    Ricci - sea urchin, lardo, sea salt ($15, dinner only)

    Maccheroni alla chitarra with sea urchin and crabmeat ($24)

    California sea urchin and angel hair carbonara, sea lettuce, lime and soy ($21)

    And, of course, at any good sushi bar.

    Surprised you didn't like Soto's uni.

    6 Replies
    1. re: hcbk0702

      Great list, hcb - any idea of approximate prices for these dishes? Would just love to know what I'm getting myself into as I know that even small uni dishes can range anywhere from $10 to $50.

      1. re: pork_buns

        I edited my post to include available prices.

        The others are prix fixe only:
        Le Bernardin - 3 course lunch @ $70, 4 course dinner @ $112
        Jean Georges - 4 course dinner @ $98
        Picholine - 3 course dinner @ $92

        Jean Georges
        1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

        Le Bernardin
        155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

        35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

        1. re: hcbk0702

          Thank you for indulging me - most kind.

          Are any of these uni-themed? That would certainly be interesting.

      2. re: hcbk0702

        ps. I certainly didn't dislike Soto's famous dish - I guess it just wasn't the religious experience I'd been told it was. Disappointment is always a risk when a dish has a lot of buzz around it. I also thought $17 was a little steep. But I did think their Baby Yellowtail with Wasabi Roe was out of this world, and well worth the price!

        1. re: hcbk0702

          Let me echo the excellent (lunch) portion of uni at Le Bernardin, since I just had it this week. hcbk0702, oh, you're killing me with the thought of the risotto! Though the 'basic' version made me so happy that I can't complain.

          Great question, pork buns. I'm writing all this down myself, too.

          ETA: Oh, another ditto for the Picholine uni. Had it just about 6 months ago, and still memorable.

          1. re: drummergirl

            I don't think the sea urchin roe dish is any more "basic" than the risotto. Just two very different preparations, and both are excellent.

        2. the uni and lardo app at marea

          the uni in the soup at degustation

          1 Reply
          1. I'd give Soto another chance, and perhaps order some of the other uni items - he really works magic with it sometimes. Go for the Steamed Lobster With Uni Mousse and Smoked(!) Uni.

            The Uni Panini at El Quinto Pino
            "Oysters Foie Gras" at Morimoto - kumamoto oysters, foie gras, uni, with a spin on teriyaki sauce. Crazy decadent.
            Uni Butter at Strip House - it's off-menu, but if you ask they'll top your steak with it. Nothing terribly creative or that you couldn't make at home - but awful good.
            Uni & Sweet Corn Risotto at Bar Masa - insanely expensive. Most assuredly overpriced. But a remember-it-for-weeks dish.

            And I'll second the Maccheroni alla Chitarra at Esca.

            El Quinto Pino
            401 W 24th St, New York, NY 10011

            402 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

            88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

            Bar Masa
            10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

            Strip House
            13 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

            1 Reply
            1. re: sgordon

              oh god, bar masa - i dread to think how much that cost (and can only imagine how good it tasted)! but i'll definitely be trying out your other suggestions. thanks, sgordon.

              1. re: daffyduck

                The spaghetti with crab, uni, and basil at Basil is phenomenal. Some of the best spaghetti you'll ever have, and the creamy uni works really well with basil, which is a combination I hadn't had before.
                The uni risotto at Masa...really good, probably not worth the ticket price of the restaurant.

                1. re: daffyduck

                  holy moly, what an amazing blog! (especially the uni entry.) is this your blog, daffy?
                  thanks much for the link regardless. :)

                  1. re: pork_buns

                    noo. that's not my blog. alwayshungryny is a major food site. my friend use to intern for them though. so hed sometimes hook me up with free food =].

                2. A fellow uni addict here!

                  Have you had sea urchin toast at Aldea? I don't remember the price, but I do remember it was quite delicious and the portion was more generous than I thought.

                  31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: uwsister

                    no, i haven't, but i will now. :) thanks, uwsister.