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

pork_buns Jul 17, 2010 10:14 AM

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

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  1. hcbk0702 RE: pork_buns Jul 17, 2010 10:36 AM

    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
      pork_buns RE: hcbk0702 Jul 17, 2010 10:49 AM

      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
        hcbk0702 RE: pork_buns Jul 17, 2010 11:05 AM

        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
          pork_buns RE: hcbk0702 Jul 17, 2010 06:35 PM

          Thank you for indulging me - most kind.

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

      2. re: hcbk0702
        pork_buns RE: hcbk0702 Jul 17, 2010 10:52 AM

        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
          drummergirl RE: hcbk0702 Jul 17, 2010 01:35 PM

          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
            hcbk0702 RE: drummergirl Jul 17, 2010 03:14 PM

            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. thew RE: pork_buns Jul 17, 2010 10:38 AM

          the uni and lardo app at marea

          the uni in the soup at degustation

          1 Reply
          1. re: thew
            daffyduck RE: thew Jul 17, 2010 04:38 PM

            2nd that soup

          2. sgordon RE: pork_buns Jul 17, 2010 11:00 AM

            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
              pork_buns RE: sgordon Jul 18, 2010 08:34 AM

              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. daffyduck RE: pork_buns Jul 17, 2010 12:03 PM

              there's also the one at basta pasta

              3 Replies
              1. re: daffyduck
                junipersong RE: daffyduck Jul 17, 2010 02:23 PM

                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
                  pork_buns RE: daffyduck Jul 18, 2010 08:36 AM

                  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
                    daffyduck RE: pork_buns Jul 18, 2010 08:45 AM

                    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. u
                  uwsister RE: pork_buns Jul 18, 2010 12:28 AM

                  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
                    pork_buns RE: uwsister Jul 18, 2010 09:33 AM

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

                  2. l
                    luckiestduck RE: pork_buns Jul 18, 2010 06:16 AM

                    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
                      vo23 RE: luckiestduck Jun 24, 2011 12:14 PM

                      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
                        brancron RE: luckiestduck Sep 26, 2011 07:42 AM

                        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. n
                        nmprisons RE: pork_buns Jun 24, 2011 12:21 PM

                        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
                          ellenost RE: nmprisons Jun 24, 2011 12:27 PM

                          Bouley has a sea urchin terrine that is fabulous!

                          163 Duane St, New York, NY 10013

                          1. re: ellenost
                            nmprisons RE: ellenost Jun 24, 2011 12:28 PM

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

                        2. r
                          RGR RE: pork_buns Jun 24, 2011 02:00 PM

                          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...


                          1 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: RGR
                            ellenost RE: RGR Jun 24, 2011 02:01 PM

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

                            1. re: ellenost
                              RGR RE: ellenost Jun 24, 2011 02:09 PM

                              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.


                              1. re: RGR
                                ellenost RE: RGR Jun 24, 2011 02:17 PM

                                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
                              therealdoctorlew RE: RGR Dec 23, 2011 05:08 PM

                              Had it. Delicious.

                            3. j
                              jmoranmoya RE: pork_buns Sep 25, 2011 11:27 AM

                              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

                              30 Hudson St, New York, NY 10013

                              1. j
                                jmoranmoya RE: pork_buns Sep 25, 2011 12:33 PM

                                Other Uni places that came to mind are:
                                - Kyo Ya: Yuba And Uni Yoshino Style sea urchin on tofu skin in crystal clear sauce

                                - Riverpark: Uni and steak tartare

                                - Soto: Ika Konowata. Quite better than the Uni cocktail mentioned before in the post

                                - 1 or 8: Uni on shell

                                An outside New York:
                                - Kabuki in Madrid: uni sashimi

                                357 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10014

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

                                450 E 29th St, New York, NY 10016

                                1. p
                                  plf515 RE: pork_buns Sep 25, 2011 01:08 PM

                                  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
                                    AdamD RE: plf515 Dec 23, 2011 10:16 AM


                                  2. j
                                    jdc1987 RE: pork_buns Sep 25, 2011 02:30 PM

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

                                    88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                                    1. meatme RE: pork_buns Sep 25, 2011 04:04 PM

                                      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
                                        strangemd RE: meatme Sep 25, 2011 06:09 PM

                                        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
                                          foodwhisperer RE: meatme Dec 22, 2011 06:29 PM

                                          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.

                                          175 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                          105 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013

                                          Greenwich Grill
                                          428 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013

                                          1. re: foodwhisperer
                                            deesher RE: foodwhisperer Dec 23, 2011 10:27 AM

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

                                        2. c
                                          chowbie RE: pork_buns Dec 23, 2011 09:41 AM

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

                                          1. loratliff RE: pork_buns Dec 23, 2011 04:45 PM

                                            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

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