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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?

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Soto
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

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  1. LE BERNARDIN:
    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)

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

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

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

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

    TOCQUEVILLE:
    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

        Picholine
        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. re: thew

            2nd that soup

          2. 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.

            Also:
            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

            Esca
            402 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

            Morimoto
            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.

            2. http://www.alwayshungryny.com/top-5s/...
              there's also the one at basta pasta

              3 Replies
              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.

                  -----
                  Aldea
                  31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: uwsister

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

                  2. I found the uni panini at El Quinto to be very over-rated. All bread and mustard and too easy on the uni. What's the point!?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: luckiestduck

                      I agree with luckiestduck. I was disappointed with the lack of uni. The panini looks nothing like what was presented in NY magazine.

                      1. re: luckiestduck

                        Everything I had at El Quinto was mediocre, including the uni panini. The Korean mustard oil way overpowered the uni, but from what I could taste of it the uni wasn't very fresh anyways.

                      2. It is quite possible that the best bite of food I have ever had in my life was a piece of uni resting atop sake granita at Per Se.

                        The caviar and uni over tagiolini at Le Bernardin is another favorite.

                        -----
                        Per Se
                        10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: nmprisons

                          Bouley has a sea urchin terrine that is fabulous!

                          -----
                          Bouley
                          163 Duane St, New York, NY 10013

                          1. re: ellenost

                            Ah, yes. I have seen pictures and turned green with envy.

                        2. At Tocqueville, since the California Sea Urchin and Angel Hair Carbonara with Sea Lettuce Lime and Soy was put on the menu a few years ago, it has become something of a signature dish. I haven't tried it, but a friend who has said it's fantastic! .

                          Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ulterior...

                          http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

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

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: RGR

                            The picture is gorgeous! Definitely need to make a reservation very soon at Tocqueville!

                            1. re: ellenost

                              We haven't been there since the end of November. Way past time to go again. Always a wonderful experience. I'm sure you've read our pal steakrules' glowing review of his dinner there.

                              http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                              1. re: RGR

                                Yes, I did read steakrules wonderful review. His review plus your always high praise (and beautiful photos) have raised Tocqueville to one of my "must try" restaurants very soon!

                            2. re: RGR

                              Had it. Delicious.

                            3. I would recommend uni at Jungsik http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmoranmo...
                              Brushstroke uni is good too

                              -----
                              Jung Sik
                              2 Harrison St, New York, NY 10013

                              Brushstroke
                              30 Hudson St, New York, NY 10013

                              1. Other Uni places that came to mind are:
                                - Kyo Ya: Yuba And Uni Yoshino Style sea urchin on tofu skin in crystal clear sauce
                                http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmoranmo...

                                - Riverpark: Uni and steak tartare
                                http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmoranmo...

                                - Soto: Ika Konowata. Quite better than the Uni cocktail mentioned before in the post
                                http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmoranmo...

                                - 1 or 8: Uni on shell
                                http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmoranmo...

                                An outside New York:
                                - Kabuki in Madrid: uni sashimi
                                http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmoranmo...

                                -----
                                Soto
                                357 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10014

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

                                Riverpark
                                450 E 29th St, New York, NY 10016

                                1. One that's missing here is Basta Pasta, which has a linguini with uni in pink sauce that is very good.

                                  -----
                                  Basta Pasta
                                  37 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: plf515

                                    +1

                                  2. The oysters with foie gras, uni and teriyaki sauce at Morimoto sound like a sick joke, but they are worth trying.

                                    -----
                                    Morimoto
                                    88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                                    1. I had a terrific dish of soba with uni at 15 East a year or so ago.

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

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: meatme

                                        My last time at 15E (about a month ago), I was offered an Uni sashimi tasting: Maine, Santa Barbara, and Japan. All with slightly different preparations. It was fantastic.

                                        1. re: meatme

                                          I haven't had the uni soba at 15 East in awhile. They only make that occasionally for the omakase. I have never seen a menu there , so not sure if it is on the menu. I do know the person that used to make it at Hanamura An, was the same person doing it at 15 East. I did have great uni from Hokkaido the other night at 15 East. Also the uni pasta at Greenwich grill is very good. Kanoyama serves Oyster in the shell topped with uni and caviar which is really good, I had fresh uni from Maine in the shell tonite at kanoyama was good, Nobu used to do uni tempura with a shiso leaf that was good.

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

                                          Nobu
                                          105 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013

                                          Greenwich Grill
                                          428 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013

                                          1. re: foodwhisperer

                                            I think uni soba is on the menu at 15 East and is certainly available by request. It's also terrific.

                                        2. Don't forget the oyster pan roast with uni on toast at the John Dory. Yum.

                                          1. Just had a great uni dish at Monkey Bar—smoked fettuccine, uni, hackleback roe and pickled shallots. Truly divine. Photos here: http://smithratliff.com/2011/12/16/mo...

                                            -----
                                            Monkey Bar
                                            60 E 54th St, New York, NY 10022