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Chef Yasuda is leaving Sushi Yasuda

Apparently he's going back to Japan...

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

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  1. So are they going to change the name of the restaurant to "The Restaurant Formerly Known as Yasuda"?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Uncle Yabai

      any idea of when this is happening?

      1. re: Yaxpac

        I have reservations there in two weeks. What has prompted him to leave? Will he be there through the end of the year?

    2. Who cares-doesn't take brains to plate raw fish-What's important is they keep supplying the best possible ingredients.

      1. how did you find this out? they're not closing the restaurant are they??

        36 Replies
          1. re: Silverjay

            ah damn it, looks like im making a res at Yasuda asap

            1. re: Lau

              Personally, I don't care that he's leaving. I think the other chefs there are better anyway.

              1. re: gutsofsteel

                well i dont think him leaving in and of itself is the end of the world, but i wonder when the chef-owner leaves what happens to the quality of the overall restaurant (fish selection, rice quality etc etc)

                1. re: Lau

                  I think that his partner is named Josh. I think that he would probably recruit someone else.

                  1. re: sushiman

                    eating in front of him next tues...will report back on what he says

                    1. re: Lau

                      He'll have no problem talking about himself. :-)

                      1. re: wew

                        Maybe they can make it Sushi Joshuda, for continuity's sake.

              2. re: Silverjay

                Devastating setback. This is in addition to recent news that Mori in LA (who I consider second only to Yasuda) is looking to sell his place. That leaves LA with no legitimate traditional high end sushi IMO. What's your rec for "best able to take over the void left by Yasuda" in NYC? 15 East?

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

                1. re: Porthos

                  I have always preferred 15 East over Yasuda.

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

                  1. re: gutsofsteel

                    Yes, I never understood nor agreed with your, sushiman's, and shoeman's opinion of Yasuda.

                    My tastes are more in line with Silverjay and Lau. Looking forward to their input.

                    Thanks for your reply though.

                    1. re: Porthos

                      Kurumazushi and 15 East are your best bets, though I'll be interested to see how Sushi Yasuda fares in the coming months without Yasuda himself.

                      There's always Masa if you're looking for something similar to Urasawa.

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

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

                      Masa
                      10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

                      1. re: hcbk0702

                        btw I agree with hcbk0702

                        Kuruma: while i don't think they have the breadth of Yasuda's variety of fish, i actually think the general cuts of fish are slightly better at Kuruma although my issue with them is that they are literally 2x the price of Yasuda

                        15 East: I think 15 East is a great sushi place, i think yasuda is a bit better, but 15 East is still wonderful although slightly more expensive than Yasuda

                      2. re: Porthos

                        Some of the reasons why people don't like Yasuda as much is that they feel rushed (I'm sure this is not really news to many), and that the pacing of the meal to them is not in a relaxed manner. This is not just CH but also from reading a Taiwanese expat blogger who has been to most of the sushi places in NY and a few of the top kappo/sushi places in Taipei that are providing the Urasawa/Masa style of experience at a much lower cost.

                        Some folks like those who do the sushi conceriege / class / dining with Trevor Corson (who has a special relationship developed with Jewel Bako) feel the same way, with some even thinking JB's traditional nigiri surpasses the Yasuda and Ma$a experience (and perhaps part of that is also because JB seems more accomodating towards the sustainable fish movement, but that's entirely a personal matter), or the fact they can dine at JB for 3 hours and not feel rushed.

                        Either this rushing is on purpose, or the chef thinks the diner is extremely hungry.

                        I've never been to Yasuda but I have a lot of respect for the man, his profession, and what he's been doing. Perhaps his persistence, insistence on doing certain things, appears stubborn and interpreted as arrogance to those on the outside, but deep rooted within Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese culture, is this very insistence is what differentiates others, defines success, character, and approach/delivery/results, whether one agrees or not. Just sayin'.

                        1. re: K K

                          My one experience with Jewel Bako back in its prime left me starving after the meal and with a tab more than my average Yasuda tab. The fish was exellent, fresh, and the variety was impressive. The quality of the fish though and the rice was not on the level of Yasuda. Its is my understanding that Jewel Bako has fallen off since its prime 7-9 years ago. My average meals run 1.5 hours at Yasuda. It's not exactly rushing but it's not 3 hours either. I only go about once a year so I don't go enough for him to remember me or give me special treatment but he's friendly as hell every single time and I've never had scallop coral sushi anywhere else.

                          I think a lot of it has to do with certain diner's egos not being stroked but hey, I'm just sayin'.

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                          Jewel Bako
                          239 E 5th St, New York, NY 10003

                          1. re: Porthos

                            For me it's not about my ego - it's about being rushed, it's about not thinking the cutting and the rice are up to snuff, it's about being forced to talk to Yasuda about himself the whole time or risk "insulting" him....it's just not pleasant.

                            Contrast with the chef at 15 East, whom I find delightful to speak with, and always learn something from. But he doesn't need to monologue loudly at me for 90 minutes, make stupid jokes or tell me about his workout exercise regime, or shove 6 pieces of sushi in front of me every 5 minutes.

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

                            1. re: gutsofsteel

                              Well the chef at 15 East, Masato Shimizu certainly has an impressive resume...supposedly apprenticed at an old Tokyo Ginza sushi shop 助六, even worked at Jewel Bako before, and purportedly emulates the way Ono Jiro (of Sukiyabashi Jiro) does nigiri down to the way OJ does it according to his book, and also supposedly helps educate customers via some fish encylopedia (Porthos remember Howard at Kitsho in Cupertino CA did this before, if you had the chance to have him give you his volumes to look at fish). His Tamago-yaki looks like the sponge cake version (e.g. Urasawa's)and not dashimaki tamago (what's Yasuda's version like?)

                              This is not my perspective, but I'm just translating comments from a Taiwanese guy (who has even eaten at Masa) on this guy/his friend's blog just so that Yasuda fans (along with myself as a reader) get another perspective to some of the hate/dislike... do bear in mind the blogger does say Yasuda is the rice king and definitely the best rice in town.

                              "I'm very curious where Yasuda gets his pride/overconfidence from, the fact is that almost all of his fans are non Japanese, and his sushi is not traditional.
                              In fact his sushi is square-ish!"

                              "I find it funny that people on Yelp think Yasuda is the best legit sushi, and everything else in town is BS. But Masato-san himself even said that NY sushi overall is BS compared to Japan".

                              "Even though Yasuda is calimed to be the most authentic Edomae style sushi by people, but if you really look at it, other than pre-brushing nigiri with sauce/dashi shoyu/seasoning the way Yasuda constructs nigiri and his method of seasoning is strange, for example, molding uni to look like a golf ball, not traditional at all, seasoning flavors are either sour, salty, not Edo style at all"

                              "Yes, Yasuda is a great businessman first and foremost. Small and thin fish slices, unprorportioned ratios (fish to rice), but he does use up the entire fish.
                              The progression in which he serves meals is not smooth or right (does not elaborate further there)"

                              But yes, perhaps some egoes were at stake at some point.

                              1. re: K K

                                haha sushi reviewing has to be among the most pretentious of all foods reviewing. It involves alot of egos and certainly a lot of food snobbery (i just made that word up).

                                yasuda is very good, so is 15 east...if you forget all the pretentious stuff and just concentrate on how it tastes, i think you'd be very happy with the quality of the food.

                                I mean to say that sushi is better in Japan clearly is to be expected, however it doesn't mean that yasuda is not good (or 15 east). I would never expect to get the best of any type of given cuisine outside of the home country. For example while I don't think Cantoon Garden (south china garden) holds a candle to any good cantonese restaurant in HK, but that doesn't mean i don't think its still good.

                                1. re: Lau

                                  I also found it ironic that the blogger in a very self-important fashion criticizes Yasuda of being "overconfident".

                                  Also amusing was him/her making unsubstantiated claims that "almost all his fans are non Japanese". I'd like to see the spreadsheet that s/he used to calculate said demographic distribution.

                                  1. re: Porthos

                                    "Also amusing was him/her making unsubstantiated claims that "almost all his fans are non Japanese". I'd like to see the spreadsheet that s/he used to calculate said demographic distribution"

                                    i'm sure that's true. i'm also sure if you go to a french restaurant in japan most of the clientele is not french, but japanese

                                2. re: K K

                                  yep, this is true. masa's (shimizu) master trained with i believe both jiro and mizutani (the other 3 star michelin sushi restaurant in tokyo). mizutani had very nice things to say about masa's master when i ate at his restaurant 2 years ago.

                                  1. re: K K

                                    The comment that almost all his fans are non-Japanese is very true. Japanese do not eat there and the sushi chef community treats him like a pariah. Nobody likes him.

                                  2. re: gutsofsteel

                                    Wow. Clearly, you must've invited that sort of behavior. While he was friendly, and we had a few short conversations about the nigiri at hand, he never monologized at length about anything.

                                    I guess you feel lucky he's gonna be gone, and you won't have to put up with being 'forced' to talk with him.

                                    1. re: linguafood

                                      I've been requesting to be seated with a chef other than Yasuda himself for quite a while. I enjoy myself there when I'm seated in front of one of the other chefs.

                                    2. re: gutsofsteel

                                      to my knowledge, yasuda never forced anyone to talk to him. he's never interrupted a conversation i was having to insert himself. i happen to enjoy talking to him, but he never forced the issue in my experience

                                      he also did not speak about himself, but topics like mexican wrestiling, and (gasp) sushi

                                      h was also quite amenable when i saw someone ask him to slow the pace. unlike sasabune, where we asked, they smiled and said ok, and then continued the rapid pace

                                      1. re: gutsofsteel

                                        gos - I would truly love to hear your detailed criticism about his cutting and rice, especially rice, exactly what you find to be not "up to snuff" that hasn't been said by sushiman. Feel free to make comparison to other high-end sushi places you have been to outside of New York, e.g. Tokyo, Los Angeles, etc.

                                      2. re: Porthos

                                        If you didn't like Jewel Bako in it's prime you might not like 15 East. They sushi chef that worked ran JB is now at 15 East.

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

                                        Jewel Bako
                                        239 E 5th St, New York, NY 10003

                                        1. re: reatard

                                          just to chime in, I think 15 East is better than Jewel Bako was at it's prime. And Jewel Bako has gone way downhill from it's prime.

                                      3. re: K K

                                        Yasuda's pacing is deliberate, at least that is what he said. He feels that speed is important in order to appreciate the dishes before reaching satiety, which I completely agree with.

                                        1. re: peppermonkey

                                          What utter b.s. With that pacing you can't savor anything.

                                          1. re: gutsofsteel

                                            I could, and I did. In fact, we each had about 9-10 pieces when we realized we were starting to get full. That is saying a lot if you're eating 'fast', b/c you tend to overeat doing that (I know, trust me '-)).

                                            I think we each had another piece or two b/c it was just so freaking awesome, and called it a day.

                                            1. re: gutsofsteel

                                              pacing at top places in Tokyo is very common

                                              1. re: gutsofsteel

                                                I don't know how fast he was serving you. But each piece is made to be one bite. I don't know how long it takes you to savor one bite. I think he started slowing down as we were getting deeper in the meal as well. Never felt rushed at all.

                                                1. re: gutsofsteel

                                                  no - with that pacing YOU couldn't savor anything. please do not speak for others

                                              2. re: K K

                                                I've never felt rushed there. Yasuda is my favorite special ocaission sushi place, although I've never tried 15 East or Kuruma. Masa is a different style than Yasuda, more flash.

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

                                                Masa
                                                10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

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