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"Omakase" at Inase, UES - review

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ozinboz Aug 11, 2010 10:37 PM

My husband and I went to Inase for a week-night meal on Tuesday. We had a really lovely meal and some of the best sushi we've EVER eaten. The cooked appetisers were delicious as well. The service was muted, courteous, attentive and considerate (all good things). The atmosphere was very soothing. We sat at the sushi bar and the sushi-chef was very nice.

An important disclaimer given I'm posting on CH - we aren't sushi experts like some posters here. We've never sampled Yasuda or East 15.This was only our second time trying omakase (the first being the omakase sushi meal at Takesushi in Midtown. But we both love sushi and will try it where we can get it.

We both ordered the $60 omakase meal.

We started with standard appetisers, miso soup, some kind of seaweed, salad in ginger-orange dressing. Each perfectly formed. If someone can identify the seaweedy thing, please let me know what it is called.

The waitress recommended the chawan-mushi (egg custard) with uni (sea urchin roe) as part of our meal. It contained perfectly done little pieces of shrimp and gingko nut. The chicken pieces were slightly overcooked. "So many different flavours," whispered Hubby. (The restaurant was REALLY quiet.) "Yeah, how'd they get it all into such a little cup?" I whispered back. The uni tasted like a clean, briny ocean breeze.

After the appetisers, we each got this beautiful platter of sashimi. The chef took pains to tell us what everything was, and that the red snapper was from Japan. There was Spanish mackeral, medium-fatty tuna, red snapper, octopus, abalone, crab, abalone and fresh-grated wasabi. Everything was really fresh, tender and tasty. The tuna was my favourite. It was extraordinarily flavourful.

This was followed by a yummy yellow-tail and turnip stew. The fish was almost buttery.

Sushi followed. We were served two pieces at a time, totaling eight pieces for each of us. (There are only 6 pieces in the photos because I got excited and forgot to take a photo of the first two.) Sushi included fatty tuna, fatty salmon, scallops, raw(!) giant shrimp, horse mackeral and salmon roe. We liked everything and thought each piece was perfectly seasoned. Biggest surprise: the giant shrimp, which was raw with plenty of wasabi. I didn't think I would like raw shrimp. But this was unctuous rather than slimy, with a subtle prawn flavour. My favourite: the tuna, the tuna, the tuna! Who knew tuna could be so tasty. The fragrant, oily fish taste just kept on going in my mouth.

We finished with matcha and red-bean mochi ice-cream, both good.

We thought the food and value was better than Takesushi, although I think they are different kinds of restaurant. Inase had fewer "interesting" options like soft shell crab and lobster tempura. A smaller, warmer and somehow more homey menu and experience, although that does *not* mean the food was less expert.

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Inase
1586 1st Ave, New York, NY 10028

Takesushi
1026 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10022

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  1. o
    ozinboz RE: ozinboz Aug 11, 2010 10:39 PM

    I forgot the photos.

     
     
     
    1. u
      UES Mayor RE: ozinboz Aug 12, 2010 04:05 AM

      From what I can see from photos I believe the seaweed to be Hijiki.

      1 Reply
      1. re: UES Mayor
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        ozinboz RE: UES Mayor Aug 12, 2010 07:59 PM

        Thank you for the information.

      2. ellenost RE: ozinboz Aug 12, 2010 06:13 AM

        I very much enjoyed your review; thanks for posting. I'm no sushi expert either (so I appreciate your review since I can follow it). My sister and I tried Inase about 2 years ago for the omakase and enjoyed it very much (except for the fish eyeball that was weird--I'm sure it must be some type of delicacy, but it was lost on us). When we had dinner, we were the only 2 diners the entire evening. The sushi chef was also very nice to us. Sound like we should make a return visit soon.

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        Inase
        1586 1st Ave, New York, NY 10028

        1 Reply
        1. re: ellenost
          g
          gutsofsteel RE: ellenost Aug 12, 2010 06:57 AM

          I really enjoy Inase, glad it's in the neighborhood. The chef and his wife are very nice people.

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          Inase
          1586 1st Ave, New York, NY 10028

        2. l
          lexismore RE: ozinboz Aug 12, 2010 07:10 AM

          Great review!

          I've been to Inase several times, and it's always been great. I've yet to find a better sushi meal that doesn't cost about twice as much (or more).

          They do seem to stay under the radar though. I hope they do enough business to stay afloat.

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          Inase
          1586 1st Ave, New York, NY 10028

          1. MVNYC RE: ozinboz Aug 12, 2010 09:08 AM

            Inase is really a great find. Their lunch special is a fantastic value, six pieces of fish that are not the standard variety. He gets really good fish and a nice variety. Excellent sushi for a decent price.

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            Inase
            1586 1st Ave, New York, NY 10028

            1. MVNYC RE: ozinboz Aug 12, 2010 12:58 PM

              You post made me hungry, so I got a lunch special there. First two pieces were Japanese red snapper and local squid. Both very good, the squid was particularly tender due to the knife work. Next two pieces were tuna and scallop. I have to say I generally do not love maguro but this was outstanding. The fat content was higher than you normally get, mouthwatering. The scallop was really nice as well. The next two pieces were sardine and ikura. I am a big fan of sardine and this did not disappoint, nor did the scallop another favourite of mine. Next up was a yellowtail roll which was good with a nice large chunk of fish in it. What I also like about Inase is you can choose your roll with the special. This came to a measly $13.95.

              The giant sweet shrimp called out to me as well and this was another big hit. It was dressed with lemon juice and soy which went really well with the sweet firm flesh of the shrimp. For dessert I got a piece of San Diego Uni. Very fresh, sweet and slightly nutty. It is currently Uni season so I would highly recommend seeking this out.

              All in all an excellent lunch.

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              Inase
              1586 1st Ave, New York, NY 10028

              1 Reply
              1. re: MVNYC
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                ozinboz RE: MVNYC Aug 12, 2010 07:59 PM

                LOL I just got back from dinner there. I guess my post made ME hungry too!
                I was in desperate need of comfort food and the nabeyaki udon hit the spot. Wish I read this before I went though, I would have ordered the Uni if I knew it was the season.

              2. f
                food professor RE: ozinboz Aug 19, 2010 08:12 PM

                great review, which prompted me to check out this place myself tonite. and what a great find!

                we had the omakase as well. while i think it's great value too, i wasn't crazy about all the items (the standard salad and soup were underwhelming). there are good things too, like the steamed egg, the fried fish bone in the end, etc. but the SUSHI! oh my...

                definitely the best sushi i've had anywhere uptown. which is perhaps not saying that much, but if you live uptown, you have to be there! i'm amazed how quiet it is on a thursday night.

                while it is not 15 east / yasuda quality, it is at least on par with azabu, or maybe even ushi wakamaru. and at an affordable price. very fresh and good quality cuts of fish. good, chewy, tasty rice. the guy knows what he's doing (we were at the sushi bar, of coz...)

                1. MVNYC RE: ozinboz Oct 15, 2010 08:18 AM

                  I went yesterday and the selection was excellent. Notable pieces included Sanma (Pacific Saury) which I love and rarely get, San Diego Uni plump, firm and mildly sweet, Iwashi, Hotate and a nice raw shrimp he called Jumbo sweet shrimp which was similar to a spot prawn.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: MVNYC
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                    mow mow RE: MVNYC Oct 15, 2010 08:43 AM

                    yeah... and the rice is always spot on. it's ridiculous how under-rated the place is. i guess one problem maybe that they always give you the "standard" americanized miso soup and salad, which do them no favor and make them look cheap. otherwise, the quality of the sushi is as high as anything (bar Yasuda and 15 east or maybe a couple others)

                    1. re: mow mow
                      MVNYC RE: mow mow Oct 15, 2010 08:57 AM

                      I am not sure what you expect out of miso soup and salad but I really find no fault with what they serve.

                      By the way I also had Maitake and Japanese tempura. Excellent.

                      1. re: MVNYC
                        m
                        mow mow RE: MVNYC Oct 15, 2010 10:37 AM

                        hm. maybe i'm picky. but for instance if you go to Yasuda, and order just a miso soup, you'll find it very different from the instant stuff they serve at inase. and for that salad with ginger dressing, most authentic sushi places don't even have them - at least they wouldn't include it in their set or omakase meals. these are americanized sushi set meal stuff. bit like wonton soup as starter and fortune cookies after the meal for chinese...

                        that said, you're right, there's no fault in that. i was just wondering why they are so under the radar.

                        their grilled fish is good too.

                        1. re: mow mow
                          MVNYC RE: mow mow Oct 15, 2010 11:22 AM

                          You are right about the salad, it really is ho hum but at least the dressing isn't sweet. At least you are getting some nutrition from the mixed greens.

                          As to the soup, the reason for the difference is that Yasuda uses akamiso (red)paste in his soup as opposed to the more common shiro miso(white). They taste very different but it is not a result of using instant soup. There are also could be different dried fish used for stock but I really do not know if that applies here.

                          1. re: MVNYC
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                            mow mow RE: MVNYC Oct 15, 2010 01:50 PM

                            yes i know yasuda has akaimiso, the red stuff. but i think they have the common white stuff too. and i'm not singling out yasuda. basically, any high end place, the miso tastes more complex, and less "canned". but i shouldn't sound like a miso buff... i'll take instant miso any day. miso is miso is good stuff. i just feel the level of the salad and soup is not match for the high end sushi they serve there.

                            BTW, another item that isn't so good is the fried chicken. i recall it was white meat (boo) and not much flavor.

                            if only they focus on the sushi and people get to recognize them for it

                      2. re: mow mow
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                        Uncle Yabai RE: mow mow Oct 17, 2010 01:22 AM

                        And miso soup in a sushi restaurant isn't an "appetizer". It is served last, if at all. And it probably wouldn't be miso soup but most likely a suimono or a fish-based soup.

                        1. re: Uncle Yabai
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                          mow mow RE: Uncle Yabai Oct 17, 2010 08:33 AM

                          yeah that's true. though at inase they did ask us if we would like the soup first or last - of coz we said last. but maybe because we're asian

                          1. re: Uncle Yabai
                            MVNYC RE: Uncle Yabai Nov 12, 2010 10:09 AM

                            I got the Omakase at Inase a few mights ago and they served the soup last. I would imagine they did that because they know my preference for Japanese fish and tastes. I am guessing they serve other non Japanese soup first because that is what they expect. Inase is not as famous so they have to cater to local tastes somewhat.

                            That said this was a terrific meal.

                            Started out with

                            Hijiki
                            Green Salad
                            Chawan Mushi with Uni --Really well done
                            Sable marinated in sake--small portion but very rich so it was perfect in the course of the meal.
                            Grilled Pacific Saury--Absolutely love this fish

                            Sashimi Platter w
                            Abalone- cut into two main pieces and other side bits.
                            Aji with yuzu
                            Tuna
                            Octopus--very tender
                            Sayori
                            something else I am forgetting

                            Then the sushi in pairs of two already garnished with tare
                            Red Snapper-one of the nest versions I have ever had
                            Pacific Saury

                            kanpachi
                            hamachi --good contrast of different but similar fish, kanpachi was stellar

                            Sardine
                            Kohada -two of my favourites

                            Otoro
                            Chu Toro

                            Spot Prawn
                            Scallop --both excellent

                            Uni -San Diego
                            Ikura -The Ikura here is always top notch, even when not in season. Bright, briny and sweet with a solid exterior. Prepared nicely

                            Roll--Negi toro

                            Then came a wonderful soup served in a teapot. I am not sure what this was called but it was served in a teapot which you then poured into tiny saucers to drink. It contained mushrooms, gingko nuts and various seafood. A very clean tasting but bold soup it was a perfect last course (except dessert red bean mochi)

                            A great meal and a steal for $80 ( I am also blanking on one other dish before the sashimi). All of the fish was fantastic, hard to pick which one I liked best but the snapper really surprised me by how good it was.

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                            Inase
                            1586 1st Ave, New York, NY 10028

                            1. re: MVNYC
                              MVNYC RE: MVNYC Nov 12, 2010 10:38 AM

                              Made a mistake with the sashimi, there was no sayori. There was a kumamoto oyster with ponzu sauce and mirugai was the other one I forgot.

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