HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese? Share your food adventure
TELL US

Yuba Restaurant – A New Generation of Chefs and Excellent Innovative Japanese in the East Village

l
Lau Apr 12, 2011 05:36 PM

**For full post and pics**: http://www.lauhound.com/2011/04/yuba-...

Yuba is a new Japanese restaurant that opened in the East Village. I’d heard a little bit about it on eater.com, but not much else, which is sort of surprising given that one of the chefs is of Masa heritage. However, one of my friends wrote a quick review on his Facebook page that was talking about how good and creamy the Kumamoto oysters were. That piqued my interest and I decided to try it out on Sunday with my gf.

The two chefs-owners are George Ruan, who spent 5 years at Masa and Jack Wei. They occupy the spot that formerly housed the now defunct Korean restaurant Sura. While the restaurant is located in the East Village, which is generally busy, it happens to occupy a street that is fairly quiet and has little foot traffic. So perhaps that’s why I haven’t heard much about it.

Normally, I’d be skeptical about two Chinese guys manning an upscale Japanese restaurant, which is not meant to be a racist comment, but rather I’m generally skeptical whenever the given ethnicity is not preparing the food as I find people often don’t know what the food is supposed to taste like and that would go for any given ethnicity. However, given the backgrounds of the chefs, I was very curious how they would do.

The restaurant is small with a dining room laid out very cleanly and simply using mostly dark wood. We decided to sit at the sushi bar as I always prefer to eat my sushi at the bar because of the short half life of sushi. George mans the sushi bar, so we were able to speak to him extensively. He’s very nice and knowledgeable about the food he’s serving; you can tell he paid his dues at Masa.

The service was good and attentive. I was surprised how empty the place was although it was Sunday night and after eating there I was even more surprised at how a restaurant of this quality is not packed as I know many Japanese restaurants serving food a couple notches below this that are always packed.

Here’s what we ate:
- Uni with Yuba: This was a signature dish and also the namesake of the restaurant. Yuba is a tofu skin, but the way it is served here is much different than you’re probably imagining as it is silky, creamy and almost milky. It was served layered with uni from Santa Barbara and topped with freshly grated wasabi and tosazu sauce, which is a type of bonito infused vinegar. The combination of the creaminess of the uni and yuba was really good as the yuba doesn’t overpower the uni. The fresh grated wasabi and the tosazu sauce really flavor it nicely without overpowering the flavor of the uni and yuba. This was a great dish. 8.5/10
- Oyster Caviar: This was five Kumamoto oysters served with sturgeon caviar. Since they were served so simply you can really taste the oyster’s flavor and creaminess and the caviar really just adds a nice bit of salt of the dish. I really liked this although I think some people might be surprised that oysters have a certain amount of seafood flavor to them as most people don’t realize this because they tend to douse them in so much sauce they don’t actually know what they taste like. 8/10
- Sweet Corn Tempura: This was corn, maitake mushrooms and shiso leaf tempura. The corn kernels and diced maitake are mixed together and put on top of the shiso leaf and then fried. This was really nice, the sweetness of the corn and the crispyness of the shiso went really well together. It was perfectly fried and wasn’t oily at all. George said that in a month or so the corn will be in season and will really be sweet. I thought this was innovative and delicious. 8.5/10
- Duck with Foie Gras: This was like a Cantonese Peking duck bun as it was served in steamed white bun (mantou) with the duck meat, some type of very thinly sliced white vegetable, foie gras and topped with hoisin sauce. The major difference between this and a regular Cantonese - Peking duck bun was that there were no spring onions or skin served and there was foie gras. The buttery foie gras complimented the dish well. The meat from the duck was nicely cooked and quite tender. I guess this was paying homage to their Chinese heritage as this is clearly not a Japanese dish, but it was good nonetheless. 8/10
- Risotto with Uni: This was uni (sea urchin) from Japan on a bed of risotto. The risotto was good, it had a good al dente texture and the savory flavor went very well with the creamy uni. The uni from Japan was a good pairing with the risotto as it’s not quite as creamy as the uni from CA and has a slightly stronger flavor and the risotto would have overpowered the uni from CA. You can get it with shaved truffles, but we decided that we didn’t want that. 8.25/10
- Salmon: This was salmon sushi from Scotland. This was a great piece of salmon; it was buttery with great flavor. The rice was good, it had a nice al dente texture, it wasn’t quite Yasuda level and I’d say they use very slightly more vinegar, but it was good quality sushi rice. I was really pleasantly surprised by this first piece because I had no idea how the sushi would be and this compared favorably to the better places in the city. 8.5/10
- Shima Aji: Shima aji is stripped jack. This was another very nice piece of fish, clean tasting, soft texture and delicious. 8/10
- Kinmedai: Kinmedai is golden eye snapper. This actually tasted similar to the shima aji for some reason, but it was another very nice piece of fish. 8/10
- Tai: Tai is red snapper. Tai is a more mild tasting fish, but this was nice too. 7.75/10
- Sayori: This was needle fish. I once caught one of these in Costa Rica by accident and if I had known they tasted good I would’ve kept it! Oh well. This was surprisingly good with a nice clean flavor. 8.25/10
- Ika: This was squid with salt and lemon zest. Ika is one of those hit or miss because if it’s not from a good quality sushi place then it’s plain and sort of rubbery. Luckily, it was very nice here, it had a tender, but firm texture and the salt and lemon zest are my favorite way to have ika. 8/10
- Mirugai: This is giant clam. Mirugai is not my favorite sushi, but I will eat it at good places. It had good texture where it was firm, but tender enough (mirugai can be borderline hard if it’s not a good piece). This was a good piece of mirugai. 7.75/10
Hotate: This was scallop served with salt. The scallop was really sweet and very tender. I thought this was an excellent scallop. 8.25/10
- King Crab with Caviar: This was pretty self-explanatory, but king crab sushi is not my favorite sushi as I feel like crab meat has a hard time standing on its own. The quality of the king crab and caviar was very good though. 7.5/10
- Uni: This was sea urchin from Santa Barbara. It was creamy and briny and I love uni from Santa Barbara, so I almost always love this if its good quality. George said that it will be better in about a month or so when it’s a little more in season, but I thought it was delicious right now. 8.25/10
- Uni: This was sea urchin from Japan. I like Japanese uni, but not as much as uni from Santa Barbara as I don’t find it quite as cream and briny. However, it was still very good. 8/10
- Deep Sea Snapper: George said this was a special fish and that we had to try this. I’ve never had it before and he said it’s reasonably difficult to get. This was probably the star of the night. It had great flavor and was sort of buttery, but had a good texture at the same time. The flavor was hard to describe, but I really liked this cut of fish. 8.5/10
- Green Tea Millie Crepe: George said that this is from a local Japanese bakery that makes this only for high end Japanese restaurants and it is not available retail. I’ve actually had this exact dessert before in NY at other good Japanese restaurants. Its paper thin layers of cake with a green tea mousse in-between them with green tea powder and whip cream on top. It’s my type of dessert as I love green tea flavor and it’s not too sweet. I thought it was delicious. 8/10

Overall, I was really impressed by Yuba. I thought the appetizers / cooked dishes were wonderfully prepared and were a bit different than the norm. I was particularly surprised at the quality of the sushi as it was up there with the better places in the city. I also liked that an upcoming young duo of chefs is manning this place as it’s nice to see someone young with a lot of potential creating great food. I highly recommend trying out Yuba.

-----
Yuba
105 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

  1. t
    tpigeon Apr 12, 2011 09:18 PM

    I really appreciate your posts. You do good work. Thanks.

    3 Replies
    1. re: tpigeon
      l
      Lau Apr 13, 2011 04:42 AM

      thanks!

      1. re: Lau
        asiansupper Apr 14, 2011 07:19 AM

        Ditto. Gonna put this one on my list.

        1. re: asiansupper
          l
          Lau Apr 14, 2011 07:22 AM

          yah check it out

    2. s
      sockster Apr 13, 2011 04:08 AM

      Lau, excellent report- How much did this dinner cost?

      8 Replies
      1. re: sockster
        l
        Lau Apr 13, 2011 04:46 AM

        well i went a little overboard b/c i liked the food and i wanted to write a full post, but it was way wau too much food for 2 people. so it ended up being like $120 / person (including tax and tip) and that included a few beers. Realistically you should be able to get out of here for much less, somewhere between $50-80 / person all in (i know that is a bit of a wide range, but it depends how sushi heavy you go and exactly what you order....you could not order any sushi in that case it probably would be on the lower end of that range). you can see the prices of their menu on their website

        its not cheap, but it was very good, so i think if you're going to spend some money this is worth it and it's not going to cost you and arm and a leg

        1. re: Lau
          v
          villainx Apr 13, 2011 05:34 AM

          Since they were of Chinese origin, they spoke fluent English? Japanese? Chinese?

          Just wondering what the interaction at the sushi bar would be like.

          1. re: villainx
            l
            Lau Apr 13, 2011 06:44 AM

            i dont know whether they speak japanese or not, but George speaks perfect english as he is from zhejiang, but I believe he came to NY when he was very young, so he's basically American. I didn't speak to the other chef so i can't be sure. I'm sure they speak chinese, but i spoke with them in english and my english is way way better than my chinese anyhow

            to answer your question though you can have a full conversation, which is much better than most top sushi bars in the city b/c even yasuda's english was just okay. The only top sushi place in the city that i've been able to have a full convo at is at 15 east

            1. re: Lau
              n
              NancyC Jun 16, 2011 05:22 PM

              Hmm. Would love to know if they speak fluent Chinese...if I do end up coming here with my parents, they would certainly be more comfortable discussing specials.

              1. re: NancyC
                l
                Lau Jun 17, 2011 11:23 AM

                not sure about the other chef who is in the kitchen

                im pretty sure he speaks chinese although he did grow up here (born there) and so its unclear how well...he has a very slight accent, but i mean very slight

                1. re: Lau
                  v
                  villainx Jun 17, 2011 12:49 PM

                  The cooked or kitchen items are great. But I think it's their sushi that makes the place special.

                  Not sure about speaking, but I know they understand cause when I was telling a joke to my mom, in Cantonese, they understood enough to suppress a smile.

                  1. re: villainx
                    l
                    Lau Jun 17, 2011 01:11 PM

                    yah i agree, the sushi was a complete surprise in a very good way

                    george said he was from zhejiang, so he probably speaks mandarin

                    1. re: Lau
                      n
                      NancyC Jun 17, 2011 04:22 PM

                      Perfect, we don't speak Cantonese anyway! My mom and I would be getting sushi, but my dad doesn't really like it (will generally only eat small amounts of salmon). I had to send him the menu because really what he usually gets any time we get sushi is a tempura bento box...I assume he'll eat their cooked fish dishes, though!

      2. Silverjay Apr 13, 2011 08:07 AM

        Actually, “tai” is “sea bream” or a type of sea bream (different than snapper family) but it is often replaced with red snapper in the U.S….Deep sea snapper you say? I’m curious what that fish is. Kinmedai, which is one of my favorite fishies, should taste almost like butter. If it tastes like shima aji, something is uh, fishy…It may be interesting perhaps to compare this place with Wasan, a newly opened nouveaux Japanese neighbor restaurant in the EV. That place was opened by two Japanese chefs who are taking a more farm to table approach. Both menus seem laden with uni, foie gras, white truffle, caviar, wagyu, toro, etc. I guess it’s the “Au Pied de Cochon” indulgence approach to Japanese cuisine- although Wasan’s seems a little more restrained...Ironically, yuba, in Japanese, is noted for its’ subtle taste, interesting texture and is connected with refined Kyoto cuisine- which is really the antithesis of indulgence.

        -----
        Wasan
        108 E 4th St, New York, NY 10003

        11 Replies
        1. re: Silverjay
          l
          Lau Apr 13, 2011 08:46 AM

          i forgot what the deep sea red snapper was called in japanese as id never heard of it and he said its sort of rare

          well the kinmedai was buttery def more so than the shima aji (should've mentioned that in the review but i kind of rushed through writing it), but the flavor was similar for some reason. it was good on an absolute basis though

          there is a certain aspect of the restaurant's menu that is somewhat decadent (use of truffles, foie gras etc), but i didn't think flavor wise that the yuba dish was particular decadent. it was actually a pretty mellow flavored dish, but it was very good

          i haven't heard much about wasan but that was on my list as well

          1. re: Lau
            K K Apr 13, 2011 03:51 PM

            Glancing at the "tai" photo, in Northern California at the nicer Japanese restaurants, this looks more like sea bream (as Silverjay noted) and would fall into the general name of "madai" 真鯛 to make it sound more high end, if a quality specimen. The thing is that name does not infer anything else (whether it is farmed madai or the prized rare wild version(s).

            The same thing happens with "mouse grouper" 老鼠斑 deep sea rare & $$$ as hell fish in high end seafood restaurants in Hong Kong, where the same named fish in North America is probably some substitute.

            Sakamoto Kazuo's book, Sushi Techo, lists madai's English name as red seabream or red seabream snapper (which is another confusing matter). Madai sometimes has more toothy texture than the softer fleshed kinmedai (alfonsino).

            Salmon from Scotland? Could be from Loch Duarte...the good stuff.

            1. re: K K
              l
              Lau Apr 13, 2011 03:56 PM

              you guys bring up a good point, i know that some people refer to "tai" in english as sea bream and others as red snapper, i wasnt actually sure there was a difference between the two until silverjay brought it up and i forgot to respond to that in my response to him.

              i actually dont know which one it was b/c he said the name in japanese and i never asked him which one it was (also b/c i didn't know to ask him)

              the salmon was really good although i didnt ask specifically where in scotland it was from (sushi is always such a pain to write about b/c i envitably forget to ask about alot of the details of where everything is from etc as i'm usually pretty hungry)

              1. re: Lau
                K K Apr 13, 2011 04:33 PM

                In Cantonese or Chinese fish markets, depending on geographical location, you'll see a sea bream looking fish, but it isn't quite the one that would qualify as madai. But yet it gets bought up and consumed for home Chinese cooking

                e.g.

                http://i03.c.aliimg.com/img/ibank/201...

                and worst yet, they call it something like 蠟魚 in Southern China, which is like "wax fish" due to its "waxy" taste. Descale and de-skin it, and it looks like most sea breams with red stripes on the side, but tastes totally different (and not meant to be eaten raw). But yet they also call this red snapper in English. And if is resting on a bed of ice, could already have a smell of its own. On the low end of the sea bream/snapper spectrum, e.g. the all you can eat Chinese buffets with "soo-shee", the "snapper" is tilapia or izumidai, also seen on some of the nicer cruise ships pan-asian sushi joints.

                Some restaurants on the west coast are substituting "tai" with New Zealand snappers, more reddish/pinkish, but carefully not to call it madai. Tasty, but not sure if worth the price of a pristine piece of madai or kinmedai...

                Sounds like Mr Ruan is executing quite nicely and could be part of the future lineup of great non Japanese chefs with professional training. If you look at the older blogs and writeups, Urasawa in LA used to have a Korean sous/assistant chef, who supposedly left for a gig at the French Laundry, and I recall hearing something about one of Masa's (former?) assistant chefs (Korean I think?) who has some serious skills himself. These are definitely exceptions.

                -----
                Masa
                10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

                1. re: K K
                  l
                  Lau Apr 13, 2011 05:18 PM

                  interesting, i didnt know that about tai, didn't know there were so many "tai" type fish. i should pay more attention to the exact types of fish b/c i know the general types but i guess im more focused on whether i like it or not

                  they are definitely doing a nice job at a yuba, i was very pleasantly surprised as i wasn't sure what to expect

                  i dont think genetically anyone has any inate ability to cook, but i do think that training under someone who really knows the cuisine is key and 99% of the time it's someone of the given ethnicity, so training under Masa Takayama would fall under that category

              2. re: K K
                Silverjay Apr 13, 2011 04:33 PM

                I don't think it would be sea bream from Japan. It's just too easy to pass Gulf of Mexico red snapper and it's accepted as a translation for tai at this point anyway. And to be honest, in my experience, tai/madai and kurodai aren't particularly highly prized as sushi and sashimi fish. They are better cooked. Now sayori, on the other hand, is often considered a good gauge for a sushi chef's skill.

                1. re: Silverjay
                  l
                  Lau Apr 13, 2011 05:19 PM

                  yah i dont get sayori all that often b/c most places don't have it, but it was very good here

              3. re: Lau
                v
                villainx Apr 27, 2011 07:44 PM

                I was at Yuba tonight and the description of the deep sea snapper was that it was really a type of perch. Most perch are fresh water, but what they had was a ocean variety. So ... either this helps or makes things more muddle. I also don't remember the Japanese name. As to the rarity, I don't eat at that many Japanese places, and especially high end Japanese places, but from the few that I've been to, yeah, the "deep sea snapper" was a first.

                By the way, the grilled miso yuba is pretty good. If you want an app recommendation.

                -----
                Yuba
                105 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                1. re: villainx
                  l
                  Lau Apr 27, 2011 08:02 PM

                  oh nice so you've been there twice? glad you liked it! haha

                  interesting re: deep sea snapper, i really liked the "deep sea snapper", it was quite a bit different than most fish

                  hmmm grilled miso yuba, sounds pretty good and def different, will have to try....ill prob go back soon that place is very good

                  1. re: Lau
                    v
                    villainx Apr 27, 2011 09:50 PM

                    You (Lau) probably know this, but the deep sea snapper is applied with a light blow torch treatment and then with a little bit of salt. I agree with you that it's not easy to describe. But very good regardless. It's oceany, fatty and bright, but also, like you said, good texture.

                    I'll say this about some of the yuba preparation, I found it was not too difficult to reference it back to some Chinese dish. The yuba pouch thing reminded me of some Chinese Buddhist tofu dish, and the grilled miso glazed yuba reminded my friends of some deep fried tofu thing. But much more delicate. The grilled miso Yuba thing was quite good (spoiler: with some hoisin dressing), as healthy and tasty of a version of something crispy (I'm thinking pork skin) as it gets.

                    And yep, this was my second time at Yuba. I'll also add this, the first time I asked for the omakase portion for sushi, toro wasn't part of it. The second time, the opening sushi salvo was toro, and it was pretty amazing.

                    If you like saba (mackerel), I'd also say ask for it. This is the season for mackerel, and for whatever reason, they don't normally include it as the oily or fishy component might be too much for some dinners. They didn't serve either times I was there, but George said it was one of his favorites, and it hadn't been part of his repertoire as most people found it too much. But I'm interested enough to go again to see, as I really dig anything saba/mackerel.

                    -----
                    Yuba
                    105 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                    1. re: villainx
                      l
                      Lau Apr 28, 2011 04:58 AM

                      yah i could see that although i think its fine as long as it's good and it sounds like it is

                      you're making me hungry, im debating eating there tonight

            2. k
              kathyyl Apr 13, 2011 08:11 AM

              Great review - I'm a big fan of Yuba though I'm always concerned about how quiet and empty it is in there! The Green Tea Mille Crepe comes from Lady M on the UES. They actually get all their desserts from Lady M save for the Butternut Squash Creme Brulee.

              -----
              Yuba
              105 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

              2 Replies
              1. re: kathyyl
                l
                Lau Apr 13, 2011 08:49 AM

                yes that is the place, i couldn't remember the name of it...i also am concerned, so hopefully more people start coming here as it's a worthy addition to the food scene

                1. re: kathyyl
                  f
                  foodlovergeneral Dec 23, 2011 02:56 AM

                  Lady M on the UES is pretty fatntastic for all sorts of deserts. Very amazing place. They supply Ushiwakamaru with their wonderful tea flavored Mille fuille. It's incredible as a separate afternoon tea place, or a very amazing alternative patisserie.

                2. TheDegustationAsian Apr 13, 2011 08:20 AM

                  Glad to hear that you enjoyed the food. I went within a few weeks of it opening and found the food to be pretty solid across the board. You mentioned you went on a Sunday and the picture made the restaurant seem pretty empty, I hope the restaurant gets enough foot traffic.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: TheDegustationAsian
                    l
                    Lau Apr 13, 2011 08:47 AM

                    well we did go kind of early (630), but you are correct in that they def need more people in the restaurant. it would be a shame if they went under b/c of lack of food traffic.

                  2. v
                    villainx Apr 13, 2011 08:24 AM

                    Looking at your pics, does the sushi dude sauce the sushi for you, or was it just a case of you brushing a piece in soy and then remembering to take a picture?

                    And was your sushi ordered, or it was up to the sushi chef?

                    Nice write up, by the way.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: villainx
                      l
                      Lau Apr 13, 2011 08:48 AM

                      the sushi chef brushed the soy sauce (or salt etc) onto the sushi. I don't think i've ever been to a good sushi restaurant where they didn't do that for you (i prefer it)

                      i let the chef make the calls on which cuts were best as i figured he'd be able to best showcase what he thought was best

                    2. s
                      Simon Apr 13, 2011 07:46 PM

                      thanks for the review...yeah, that space is a little bit cursed: theoretically a good location, yet not...

                      i share your skepticism about non-Japanese sushi chefs...so much so, that despite the good review, i imagine it'll be hard for me to summon the will to go there when Ushi Wakamaru and 15 East are relatively the same distance from my home...i do love good fresh yuba though, so i'll try to sneak in there :)

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

                      Ushiwakamaru
                      136 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Simon
                        l
                        Lau Apr 13, 2011 08:48 PM

                        you should try it, i thought it was better than the last time i went to ushi. 15 east is very good, but yuba is a bit different than 15 east in terms of what they serve (it's actually a fairly innovative menu that happened to work). actually the chef george is good friends with Mas the sushi chef at 15 east that came up in our conversation

                        btw i wouldn't worry about the non-Japanese thing, i'm only skeptical until i eat the food...in this case if i didn't look at their website and didn't know he was chinese then i wouldn't have noticed one bit as i wrote a very positive review b/c i thought the food was excellent. made zero difference and that should not stop you from going here. it's really worth trying out, i was really pleasantly surprised

                        1. re: Lau
                          v
                          villainx Apr 13, 2011 09:29 PM

                          I'd be interested in the training at Masa and perhaps other restaurants, what exactly and how long and so forth. But you (Lau) are probably one of the more active person here, so your opinion has its own weight/value.

                          And plus, I guess from the menu and your description, there are things that are really the sweet spot for what my friends and family likes, so I'm hoping to get there soon, maybe before the hype hits?

                          -----
                          Masa
                          10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

                          1. re: villainx
                            l
                            Lau Apr 14, 2011 04:07 AM

                            yah definitely good time to go (thanks for the compliment btw)

                            i actually asked him about what it was like at masa, he said at the beginning it was really hard and stressful b/c he joined like right after they opened so masa was really strict with everyone b/c he wanted to make sure everything was perfect and after a couple of years he mellowed out b/c the restaurant was functioning well and successful. he said it's much more mellow to work there now than in the beginning. he was there for 5 years and i believe he worked directly under masa. you'll be able to tell he was trained well when you go. i'd sit at the sushi bar if i were you b/c the besides the fact that it is the only way to eat good sushi in my opinion, he's a personable guy so it was nice to talk to him

                            1. re: Lau
                              v
                              villainx Apr 18, 2011 11:58 AM

                              Wonder, for those who have tried, how much is drawn from Masa? Whether interpretations, homage, or down market versions, or completely new. The uni risotto is an item on Bar Masa for example.

                              I doubt I'd ever get to Masa. And I hardly ever visit high end sushi/Japanese places. But been to enough to know that chefs and sushi chefs have their own style, like the salt and lemon on the scallop and squid pieces at Yuba. Other places uses shiso or jalapeno or tofu and so forth to accent some of the fish pieces.

                              By the way, visited Yuba over the weekend and ... it was pretty good. And definitely would return. It'd be a shame if the place didn't get enough support to succeed.

                              -----
                              Bar Masa
                              10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

                              Masa
                              10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

                              Yuba
                              105 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                              1. re: villainx
                                l
                                Lau Apr 18, 2011 03:40 PM

                                yah ive never been to masa, masa is one of two restaurants in the city (per se being the other) that i sort of have a hard time paying for out of principal b/c it does seem just so aggregious to pay that much. although im going to per se in a month and a half or so, so ill review it then

                                1. re: Lau
                                  v
                                  villainx Apr 18, 2011 05:49 PM

                                  I could throw you some advice regarding dining at Per Se, but since you are active here, you probably have (or can search) that figured out. Uh, but pay for the foie supplement.

                                  I'm eager to try Yuba again soon to really figure out their approach and learn about what they are offering. The big plus with Yuba is hard core approach with conversant English.

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

                                  Yuba
                                  105 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                                  1. re: villainx
                                    l
                                    Lau Apr 18, 2011 07:17 PM

                                    yah i was going to search for it, but closer to when i actually go

                                    what'd u try at yuba?

                                    1. re: Lau
                                      v
                                      villainx Apr 18, 2011 10:01 PM

                                      Pretty similar to your ordering, picked through the cold/hot apps and entrees and then went sushi. The uni risotto was the most impressive according to my table, and I wish it wasn't a shared item. But everything was way above average.

                                      I did focus on some more mushroom dishes, like the grilled maitake (which I liked more and more while I was eating it, as the truffle oil just blossomed) (but might be another item off Masa menu) and a yuba "pouch" thing with assorted mushroom (which was amazing) (and might be another link to more Chinese preparation, at least to me with the corn starchiness and sweetness).

                                      I think as NY goes, the sushi is definitely more clean and traditional (and really excellent) versus the experimentation of Seki/Gari/Sasabune (based on what people say, as I haven't really been). Or I guess the sushi is based more on seasonality, say with the sea bream (and others) inclusion, rather that the creative sushi or roll call of standards (tuna/yellowtail/eel/etc.). Although it's non traditional enough to have jalapeno with their hamachi in one of their specials, so they do stretch as well.

                                      -----
                                      Masa
                                      10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

                      2. i
                        IntrepidNook Apr 28, 2011 05:31 AM

                        Lau, I am so happy that you put this place on my radar. Mr. Nook and I had a beautiful meal there Saturday night. We sat at the sushi bar and chatted with the chef quite a bit (I believe it was George). We chatted about restaurants, travels, how business is going -- it was really pleasant. We had many of the same dishes as you, and really enjoyed them. We did the $60 set and added a few dishes. I think that next time we'll have more sushi -- everything that I had I truly enjoyed.

                        On Saturday night, it was about 1/2 full when we arrived at 8 pm. It was close to full when we left, but the entire time we were the only ones at the sushi bar. I can hardly wait to go back!

                        27 Replies
                        1. re: IntrepidNook
                          l
                          Lau Apr 28, 2011 07:48 AM

                          glad you enjoyed, its a very good restaurant and i hope they can get their business up b/c my gf and i were like it'd be a shame if they closed. one of the better meals ive had in NY in a while

                          1. re: Lau
                            i
                            IntrepidNook Apr 28, 2011 07:55 AM

                            I completely agree. I would love to become a regular -- I think that focussing on the sushi and maybe having a risotto may make it more financially viable for regular visits (our bill came to $240 with tax and tip, although we were/are rather glutinous!). I also mentioned to George your favorable write up -- he seemed really pleased and asked about who you were :)

                            1. re: IntrepidNook
                              l
                              Lau Apr 28, 2011 11:44 AM

                              yah i went overboard too, but i also ate way way too much....i need to go back soon!

                            2. re: Lau
                              s
                              Simon Apr 28, 2011 12:25 PM

                              it's a very deceptively difficult spot/space for business...somehow neither obvious enough to draw a crowd nor hidden enough to feel jewel-boxy...i haven't been yet, but since you like it, i hope they can make a go of it...

                              1. re: Simon
                                l
                                Lau Apr 28, 2011 12:27 PM

                                yah it is a crap space unfortunately

                                i almost feel like i have to tell people about it b/c i hate when restaurants i like go out of business

                                1. re: Lau
                                  s
                                  Simon Apr 28, 2011 12:30 PM

                                  speaking of places you like and crap spaces, how is Cocoron doing?...i haven't been there either yet but i wandered by it the other day and that space looked equally daunting: as i like the idea of soba gaining popularity, i wish they had the space that that pork-oriented coffeehouse (forgot the name) on the corner of the same block has...

                                  -----
                                  Cocoron
                                  61 Delancey St, New York, NY 10002

                                  1. re: Simon
                                    l
                                    Lau Apr 28, 2011 12:56 PM

                                    well that space surprisingly seems to get foot traffic, the place seems to be reasonably crowded when i go which is fairly often although the place is so small that it's easy to be full although im usually there on a weekend

                                    the place has a ton of yelp reviews too

                            3. re: IntrepidNook
                              k
                              kathryn Apr 28, 2011 08:13 AM

                              I don't see any sets on the menu -- was there only one option? How many pieces of nigiri are in the $60 set?

                              1. re: kathryn
                                i
                                IntrepidNook Apr 28, 2011 08:43 AM

                                The Omakase and sets are not listed on the online menu. If I recall, there are three Omakase Options:$ [don't remember the $], $60, and $100. We had the $60 Omakase and ordered several other dishes. We received probably about 6 pieces of [delicious!] nigiri. I don't remember the prices of the sushi sets, but I remember thinking the next day that we would probably go that route next time. Sorry this isn't very helpful (especially to you, who is always so very helpful!).

                                1. re: kathryn
                                  i
                                  IntrepidNook May 9, 2011 12:29 PM

                                  I returned to Yuba on Saturday for a light dinner. We opted for the 12 piece nigiri set ($55). IIRC, I the 18 piece nigiri set is $80. We also really enjoyed a layered yuba with mushrooms appetizer (I don't see it on the online menu) -- it was delicious.

                                  Out of curiosity I asked about their lunch menu and it sounds like they have a special lunch menu with sets that is not on their website with very reasonable prices.

                                  -----
                                  Yuba
                                  105 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                                  1. re: IntrepidNook
                                    s
                                    small h May 9, 2011 12:49 PM

                                    <We also really enjoyed a layered yuba with mushrooms appetizer (I don't see it on the online menu) -- it was delicious.>

                                    Is this the same thing (more or less) as the mock duck I know and love from Shanghainese restaurants?

                                    1. re: small h
                                      v
                                      villainx May 9, 2011 02:11 PM

                                      It's not like mock duck, if you mean it's meaty dense.

                                      It's more layered then braised or stewed, so for me it's still very Chinese-y vegetariany - maybe like some of the layered tofu things at dim sum, but richer and more luxurious at Yuba.

                                      -----
                                      Yuba
                                      105 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                                      1. re: villainx
                                        i
                                        IntrepidNook May 9, 2011 02:28 PM

                                        I agree. If I were to compare the effect to something familiar, I would say that it's similar to bean curd, layered, but perhaps a little more texturally robust, if that makes sense.

                                        1. re: villainx
                                          s
                                          small h May 9, 2011 03:13 PM

                                          I'm trying to imagine it. The mock duck I had recently from 456 Restaurant was layers of (what I'm pretty sure is) yuba, wrapped around braised shiitake mushroom and sliced into thick strips. Looks like this:

                                          -----
                                          456 Shanghai Cuisine
                                          69 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                                           
                                          1. re: small h
                                            l
                                            Lau May 9, 2011 05:42 PM

                                            hmmm that looks quite interesting, how was 456?

                                            yuba is generally more delicate than mock duck (kau fu) and kau fu is also generally more spongy in my experience

                                            i want to try both of these dishes now

                                            1. re: Lau
                                              s
                                              small h May 9, 2011 06:45 PM

                                              456 is my go-to delivery Chinese, although I cheat on them sometimes with Congee Village. I've never even seen the place - it could be on Mars for all I know. The menu lists both mock duck and kao fu (which I've never ordered), so these must be two different dishes. I'm very fond of the yellow fish potage, and the mushroom and vegetable buns, and the seafood noodle soup. But you may remember that I don't eat any mammals or birds, so there's probably awesome stuff on the menu that I don't know anything about.

                                              http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/...

                                      2. re: IntrepidNook
                                        k
                                        kathryn May 9, 2011 02:40 PM

                                        That sounds great! Thanks for reporting back!

                                        1. re: kathryn
                                          y
                                          Yaxpac May 16, 2011 11:41 AM

                                          Thanks for the heads up about this place Lau. I had a wonderful meal there last night. George is a very nice guy and he served some great fish. He is very knowledgeable and I enjoyed speaking to him about his favorite places in NYC (sushi and non-sushi).

                                          the yuba/uni appetizer is very very good.

                                          I wish this place luck...

                                          1. re: Yaxpac
                                            l
                                            Lau May 16, 2011 11:46 AM

                                            glad you enjoyed, ive been busy lately, which is why i havent been writing that much, but i really need to go back again

                                            i think they are really turning out some great food

                                            1. re: Lau
                                              g
                                              gkang Jun 4, 2011 07:30 AM

                                              An update:

                                              I ate there a little over a month ago, (after watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi :) ) and had a great time sitting at the bar, but along with all of you was concerned about the slow business on a Friday night. Clearly business has not been picking up enough, because I was walking by Yuba yesterday and saw a sign for 20% off before 7:30 pm...which is sad because it IS serving good food, just in an odd location. I hope Yuba survives, especially with all the support it's been getting in this thread.

                                              -----
                                              Yuba
                                              105 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                                              1. re: gkang
                                                l
                                                Lau Jun 4, 2011 08:28 AM

                                                i dont understand how this place hasn't gotten more internet buzz, definitely a bad location, but they serve good enough food that they should be getting a reputation....bleghh hope their business picks up

                                                1. re: Lau
                                                  r
                                                  Ricky Jun 4, 2011 09:35 PM

                                                  I dont think the location is bad at all. I think the food is too subtle and delicate for most people(the masses) to appreciate. Same reason why Lan nearby didnt survive. As a sushi destination, you have Jewel Bako, Kanoyama, and Hasaki nearby who more or less offer slightly better quality\value compared to Yuba's sushi sets. Maybe they need to advertise in Japanese newspapers or get a NY Times review.

                                                  -----
                                                  Hasaki
                                                  210 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

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

                                                  Kanoyama
                                                  175 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                                  Yuba
                                                  105 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                                                  1. re: Ricky
                                                    l
                                                    Lau Jun 5, 2011 02:09 PM

                                                    quality wise Yuba's sushi is definitely better than JB or Hasaki, Kanoyama maybe on the same level, but overall quality wise I think Yuba is definitely better than any of those restaurants.

                                                    s far as Lan goes, Lan was open from quite a long time, I think it was probably open close to 10 years which is pretty long in restaurant land, so i don't think that is the reason why Lan ultimately shutdown. I think the location is really bad, in theory you wouldn't think it's bad, but that street gets no foot traffic

                                                    But now that i think about it i think the greater problem may also be not enough "buzz" / word of mouth because at Yuba's price point people need to know about it, you'll get some traffic into the restaurant from the street, but generally people are going to plan to come here not just waltz in

                                                    -----
                                                    Hasaki
                                                    210 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                                                    Kanoyama
                                                    175 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                                    Yuba
                                                    105 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                                                    1. re: Lau
                                                      s
                                                      Simon Jun 5, 2011 02:24 PM

                                                      the Lan location got a lot of foot traffic...(and The Smith, across the street, is usually packed)...i had a couple meals at the bar (not sushi bar) at Lan and found the food to be very mediocre, w/ poor service...

                                                      1. re: Simon
                                                        r
                                                        Ricky Jun 20, 2011 07:00 AM

                                                        Its odd that you mentioned poor service, I've recieved nothing but great service there, also most of the FOH people plus the female sushi chef are now at 15 East.

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

                                                      2. re: Lau
                                                        s
                                                        Simon Jun 5, 2011 02:26 PM

                                                        re: Yuba, i trust you that food quality is very good...but i think the problem is more than location -- i've passed by several times and peered in the window, and it just seemed to me that vibe/setting/feng-shui wasn't very inviting...

                                                        -----
                                                        Yuba
                                                        105 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                                                        1. re: Lau
                                                          alkonost Jul 12, 2012 07:43 AM

                                                          I would agree with you 100% about Yuba serving better sushi than Kanoyama and Hasaki. I had dined at Hasaki a handful of times but preferred Kanoyama for many years where I was a regular (I was also a regular at Iso, which eventually became Kanoyama when Iso retired). But I ceased my patronage at Kanoyma when the sushi quality became inconsistent (occasionally stale or questionable quality, which is not acceptable for their price point).

                                                          I started dining at Yuba a few months ago and I love it. I'd heard that one of the founding chefs George Ruan had since left. While I hadn't discovered Yuba until the post George Ruan days, I have nothing but praise for Jack Wai. The quality of the sashimi is incredible, and the price point is extremely reasonable.

                                                          One a few occasions there seemed to be a steady stream of customers, but not enough to pack the restaurant full. Other times I've gone the restaurant only had a few patrons and it was partially empty. I'm glad that Yuba has hung on, but I'm also worried about their foot traffic. I enjoy Yuba very much, it would break my heart to see it close.

                                      3. l
                                        Lau Jun 17, 2011 11:29 AM

                                        found a village voice article on them: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/forkint...

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Lau
                                          squid kun Jun 18, 2011 10:27 AM

                                          That article's already linked, BTW, from the Chow restaurant page for Yuba (right side of this thread), along with reports from Serious Eats, a couple of bloggers, and CH posts (including a very helpful one from one Lau). Just a heads-up for anyone seeking info on NYC restaurants; you might find what you're after in the site's user-maintained database.

                                          -----
                                          Yuba
                                          105 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                                           
                                          1. re: squid kun
                                            l
                                            Lau Jun 18, 2011 12:57 PM

                                            ahh cool

                                          2. re: Lau
                                            w
                                            walter_shields Jul 4, 2011 07:34 PM

                                            Speaking of reviews, The 07/04/2011 edition of the NY Times has a review.
                                            http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/29/din...

                                            1. re: walter_shields
                                              l
                                              Lau Jul 4, 2011 09:51 PM

                                              interesting, sort of an odd review although he did say the food was good which is good

                                          3. sing me a bar Jul 4, 2011 09:48 PM

                                            Is my interpretation of the menu correct, that ONE piece of hamachi sushi is $15? And one order ( 1 piece) of maguro is $5? Because I still kind of think in California terms and consider an order two pieces, so to just order 2 maguro and 2 hamachi sushi I'd already have paid $40? That barely dents my appetite, so I guess I won't be seeing the inside of Yuba. Lau, I follow you with great respect. If you ever find a place like Tomoe used to be, where you got an incredible bargain, would you let me know? I can pay $60 or $70 for sushi, but I need to get some, maguro, hamachi, shake, hirami, Hopefully some tataki style albacore or skipjack, maybe engawa sashimi, unagi at the end. Throw in a few tall Asahis and I expect it to be steepish in price, but I don't think I could eat that way at Yuba without really coughing up some cake! I love sushi, but since moving to NY, I barely eat it, since it is so expensive. And the whole practice of ordering from a waitress, instead of the sushi chef breaks my heart. I love the dialogue and ordering in Japanese.

                                            -----
                                            Yuba
                                            105 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: sing me a bar
                                              m
                                              michelleats Jul 4, 2011 11:39 PM

                                              I can't answer your question of whether it's a one or two piece order, since I don't go until later this week -- but the hamachi sashimi is not $15. It's only $5. The "l" in "yellowtail" somehow go nudged over to join the "5".

                                              1. re: sing me a bar
                                                v
                                                villainx Jul 5, 2011 09:13 AM

                                                "And the whole practice of ordering from a waitress, instead of the sushi chef breaks my heart. I love the dialogue and ordering in Japanese."

                                                There's a lot of places that you order directly with the sushi chef in NY. Maybe not as many as would be liked. And Yuba definitely does it. Just sit at the sushi bar.

                                                Might not be the same as Cali or Japan, or even other places in NY, but it's more because the chefs are fully fluent in English. $60-$70 should be a pretty awesome sushi experience there.

                                                -----
                                                Yuba
                                                105 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                                                1. re: sing me a bar
                                                  l
                                                  Lau Jul 5, 2011 08:10 PM

                                                  Hey sing me a bar -

                                                  1) pieces: since i am from CA, i was used to the 2 piece sushi order as well. However, just like every other place in NY it is 1 piece per order

                                                  2) price vs CA: I think that CA has alot of great middle end sushi places where you can get good sushi for reasonable prices that doesn't really exist in NY. However, Yuba would be much better than any of the those and every top sushi place in LA (mori etc etc) is just as expensive as top NY sushi place

                                                  3) hamachi: you can ask them but i am quite sure it is not $15 for a single piece, that is either a typo or perhaps a small appetizer of hamachi

                                                  4) $60-70: you should be able to get all of that, i think you'd be able to eat there for that amt maybe another $10 depending on how much you are. Yuba is roughly the same price as other top sushi places in the city and their dishes are far superior to most top sushi places in the city. the amount of food i ordered in this meal was a total overkill and i actually did it for the sake of the review and b/c i really liked the food. I think you should be able to get out of there from $60-80 depending on how you order and how hungry you are

                                                  5) waitresses: i don't know a single top sushi place in the NY where you order from a waitress. Yasuda, 15 East, Kuruma, Gari, Azabu, Yuba etc every single one of them you order directly from the chef. Also if you like talkative chefs i think Yuba along with 15 East are the best for that

                                                2. Silverjay Jul 7, 2011 08:58 AM

                                                  Read through the summer food edition of Japion last night and did not see a mention, ad, nor listing for Yuba. And I ran a general google search in Japanese and this restaurant didn't come up either. I think they'd do well to tap into the local Japanese expat and business community somehow- although not being Japaenese owned and operated might be an issue. Then again, there are non-Japanese businesses advertised in those Japanese community papers.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: Silverjay
                                                    l
                                                    Lau Jul 7, 2011 10:05 AM

                                                    probably a good idea, have you eaten there yet?

                                                    1. re: Lau
                                                      Silverjay Jul 7, 2011 10:09 AM

                                                      I haven't had the pleasure. Do you know if any of the countermen are Japanese or speak Japanese fluently?

                                                      1. re: Silverjay
                                                        l
                                                        Lau Jul 7, 2011 10:35 AM

                                                        when i was there, there were only the 2 head chefs with one manning the sushi bar and one manning the kitchen, so there wasn't when i was there (there were also a couple of waiters). it sounded like George had spent a decent amt of time in Japan and he had obviously worked at Masa for a long time, but i don't know whether or not he speaks japanese, i'd probably guess not though

                                                        -----
                                                        Masa
                                                        10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

                                                  2. s
                                                    sappidus Jul 13, 2011 06:55 PM

                                                    FYI... According to an announcement from the restaurant itself on Yelp:

                                                    "George is no longer with Yuba, thank you all for all the kind words and support!"

                                                    -----
                                                    Yuba
                                                    105 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: sappidus
                                                      m
                                                      michelleats Jul 13, 2011 10:25 PM

                                                      Yes... I went on Wednesday night and saw no sign of George Ruan. Jack Wei was behind the sushi counter with two assistants. The fish we tried was fair -- nicely cut and flavorful for the most part. Rice was a great texture, though a bit more noticeably vinegary than at some other places. (Yasuda's is very, very neutral.) Will try to do a better writeup in the nearish future.

                                                      It's too bad about Chef Ruan. I have to wonder what happened. It's a very short tenure.

                                                      1. re: michelleats
                                                        l
                                                        Lau Jul 14, 2011 06:17 AM

                                                        oh man that's too bad, i want to go re-try it again in the very near future

                                                      2. re: sappidus
                                                        e
                                                        erha Jul 31, 2011 07:12 PM

                                                        The owners wanted to go more downscale in terms of the quality of the fish/menu. I'm not sure if the split was amicable or not but i believe that is why he left Yuba.

                                                        -----
                                                        Yuba
                                                        105 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                                                        1. re: erha
                                                          l
                                                          Lau Aug 1, 2011 08:34 AM

                                                          hmmm looks like i really need to go in to see if the quality has gone down. i really hope it hasn't b/c this restaurant is sort of a really sad story of people turning out some really high quality food, but just not having the publicity / foot traffic

                                                          1. re: Lau
                                                            y
                                                            Yaxpac Aug 11, 2011 01:25 PM

                                                            I just heard that Masa is opening a new place in either SOHO or Tribeca and that Chef Ruan will be the head sushi chef there.

                                                            -----
                                                            Masa
                                                            10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

                                                            1. re: Yaxpac
                                                              l
                                                              Lau Aug 11, 2011 09:04 PM

                                                              really? interesting

                                                      3. m
                                                        michelleats Jul 17, 2011 10:59 PM

                                                        Lau, thanks for getting me there. I really enjoyed the yuba appetizers, in particular.

                                                        A few fuzzy pics to accompany this review, here: http://www.girleatscity.com/2011/07/y...

                                                        Yuba is spare and elegant, with pretty, natural wood tables, leather banquettes lining the walls, a high tray ceiling and industrial chic globe lights. There's something about the space and the vibe that reminds me of Naoe in Miami Beach: Both are classy, but low key and not at all stuffy or uptight. This is the kind of sushi bar where you wouldn't feel ashamed to order a piece of nigiri before your sashimi or worry about insulting the chef by using too much soy sauce on a pristine cut of fish.

                                                        My dining companion and I started with three appetizers. The first, uni with yuba / sea urchin and tofu skin in tosazu sauce, included the most silky, delicate, fresh yuba imaginable. The yuba was more like fresh silken tofu than like yuba or tofu "skin" as one usually encounters of it. Only the barely detectable strands indicating where each layer began and ended distinguished this yuba from silken tofu. In the bowl, soft, creamy sea urchin and yuba each tried to out-creamy the other. (Yuba emerged victorious.

                                                        )

                                                        Since we are well past uni season, this uni was not fresh, but a good, frozen product from Santa Barbara, the same quality as you would find at other higher end sushi establishments in the city this time of year, including Yasuda and 15 East. The uni was enjoyable, but not as sweet and delicious as it can be in season. (9/10)

                                                        I didn't try my companion's sweet corn tempura, fried on top of a shiso leaf, but I thought the idea was a good one and the dish was attractively presented: the fried shiso leaf was translucent like stained glass. My dining companion thought the kernels were unpleasantly hard after frying, though, and a bit too oily. (Not Rated)

                                                        Another stellar appetizer was the braised, layered yuba with a medley of mushrooms, which featured yuba that had been layered and pressed together -- the same sort of yuba that's used in many Asian mock meats. This time, the texture of the yuba was chewy-tender and substantial, which played well with the also-chewy-tender mushrooms. There was a wee bit of sweetness in the dish, but it wasn't cloying or overwhelming. (10/10)

                                                        After our appetizers, we moved on to have several pieces of nigiri. In general, the shari in each piece of nigiri had a very good, chewy texture and it was neither too loosely nor too tightly packed. For my tastes, though, it was a little bit too vinegary. Every sushi itamae has his own recipe for sushi rice and each uses a slightly different proportion of salt, sugar and vinegar, different proportions of different types of vinegar, etc... I personally prefer my rice to be more neutral-tasting, so that the fish is the most noticeable flavor. I usually like to eat my nigiri sideways so the fish and rice hit my tongue at the same time (a practice that irked Chef Yasuda to no end, by the way: he wanted diners to eat his nigiri with the rice side down). Yuba's nigiri was best with the fish side down.

                                                        I was impressed with our first piece of akamutsu / deep sea snapper nigiri. The neta was very tender, with a bit of bite, fresh and flavorful. It was perfectly seasoned with a light brush of what I think was seasoned soy sauce. Before serving, Chef Wei seared the fish with a small torch, a treatment that deepened and highlighted the flavors. (9/10)

                                                        The kanpachi nigiri used fairly high quality fish, but it was not as buttery or intensely flavorful as kanpachi can be. My piece was nicely cut and smooth, throughout. (7/10)

                                                        My piece of tai had a nice, firm texture, but did not stand out for flavor. In truth, I don't usually love this fish, but ordered it because I was attempting to choose lower mercury fish. Yuba's offering was probably about as it ever gets for me. The light brush of seasoned soy sauce actually brought out some more of the flavors than I usually taste. (7/10)

                                                        Hamachi was, like the kanpachi, a fairly good quality piece of fish and it was nicely cut. The texture was rich and nicely melty, but the flavor did not "pop" in my mouth as a truly great piece would. (6/10)

                                                        The piece of kinmedai / golden eye snapper came with a sliver of silver skin still attached. Like the akamutsu, it was slightly seared before serving, which really highlighted the deliciously rich flavors of the skin. It is a bit past the season for kinmedai and I know many people like to eat it in the winter when it is most fatty. This was not a bad cut for the season. (8/10)

                                                        Anago was nicely prepared and very flavorful, even without the sauce. Yasuda's preparation has nothing on Yuba's. My only "complaint" is that the piece was very, very large. I was not able to eat it all in one bite. (10/10)

                                                        It's always difficult to judge based on just one meal, but if I had to generalize, I'd say that kitchen offerings are a bit stronger than sushi offerings at this point. There are some good pieces of nigiri, but nothing I tried blew me away like the yuba appetizers did. Still, I rather suspect that Yuba will make it into my permanent rotation in the same way that Soto has. I go to Soto for the best uni preparations in town (but not really for sushi). Yuba stands a good chance of becoming my go-to source for all things yuba (but probably not sushi) -- no surprise, really, considering the name.

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

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

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

                                                        Yuba
                                                        105 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: michelleats
                                                          l
                                                          Lau Jul 18, 2011 07:45 AM

                                                          hey glad you enjoyed, i've been trying to go back but for some reason i keep get sidelined. I'm glad the food quality was still good even though george left

                                                          interesting assessment comparing it to soto (soto's uni is very good generally) although last time i went i'd probably give the nod to yuba over soto for sushi, but any which way glad you enjoyed and ill have to try that braised yuba dish as i didn't try it last time

                                                          1. re: Lau
                                                            m
                                                            michelleats Jul 18, 2011 12:18 PM

                                                            I haven't had the sushi at Soto in a while, actually -- really since I figured out the restaurant does other things so much better. So it's hard for me to compare Soto and Yuba's sushi.

                                                            Did Chef Ruan specialize in the sushi side of things more, though, or did Chef Wei also take care of that half of the operation?

                                                            I should try some of their pressed sushi and salmon offerings, which Chef Wei and his assistants seemed to be very proud of. I don't usually love salmon in sushi, but it is low mercury... There was also a layered eel and foie gras dish (I think) that Chef Wei was telling us about. Evidently it's a new invention of theirs. If we hadn't been so stuffed at that point, we would've ordered it. So much to try, so little time!

                                                            I do appreciate your review so much, Lau. Thanks for bringing more attention to a place that really deserves it. They're good. I would go out of my way to go again.

                                                            -----
                                                            Yuba
                                                            105 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                                                            1. re: michelleats
                                                              l
                                                              Lau Jul 18, 2011 01:28 PM

                                                              yah i like soto's sushi, but its in my 2nd tier, but i totally agree with you about the stuff they do well there especially the uni. i should write a fully review on it.

                                                              chef ruan was at the sushi bar and chef wei was in the kitchen, so i think ruan very likely was specializing in the sushi side of things.

                                                              i love pressed sushi, so i should probably go try it. i love all japanese eel dishes as well, so i must try that too.

                                                              yah i think this place is totally worthy of a place in NY's food scene, so i hope business picks up for them. would be a shame if things don't work out, pretty rare that i find a great restaurant in NY that doesn't have much traffic (find plenty of restaurants with lots of traffic that i don't think necessarily deserve it, but these guys are very deserving)

                                                        2. s
                                                          Simon Aug 6, 2011 03:25 PM

                                                          Last night (Friday) i was going to a bday party on the same block and i glanced in the window: at 9:30pm there were literally zero customers...it looked like a lonely Edward Hopper painting...

                                                          12 Replies
                                                          1. re: Simon
                                                            alkonost Jul 12, 2012 08:38 AM

                                                            Yuba is still around :) Though it still seems to struggle with the foot traffic problem. It's my favorite neighborhood sushi bar, my only regret is not finding it sooner! As far as dishes go I tend to stick to the sushi items and haven't tried many of the kitchen items. But I have tried the layered yuba pouch braised with mushrooms- it was my first time trying yuba tofu skin. The flavors of the mushrooms and broth were delightfully earthy with a little sweetness. While I enjoyed the taste, I wasn't crazy about the texture of the yuba- but that was just my personal preference and it wasn't due to any fault of the dish so I'd gladly recommend it to anyone- especially mushroom affectionados!

                                                            I'd also like to praise their uni, ika with truffle and yuzu foam appetizer. The clean, rich uni is nicely complimented by the drizzle of truffle bits in oil (just a touch) that adds an umami element to the creamy uni. I have a hard time trying their other appetizers because all I want to order is this particular one. But I did manage to break away and order live scallop 3 ways, this was very interesting and delicious: one preparation was the scallop roe (a beautiful pink coral color) steamed on the shell in a clear broth with crisp oceanic flavors (I could drink that broth all day long), another is a spicy scallop salad made with the chewier mantle and crisp Julienne bits of cool cucumber, and finally the creamy adductor muscle (the round, silken part most are used to consuming) sashimi sliced and arranged like flower petals top the other half of the shell on lemon and a shiso leaf. This was the best raw scallop I've ever had in my life. I was also amazed with how well it absorbed the fragrance of the shiso and lemon just by sitting atop, and the harmony of the flavors were delightful and subtle- I went without any soy sauce for those pieces, it didn't need it. Each was very different in texture and flavor, and I loved all 3 preparations and I recommend it to any adventurous eaters.

                                                            Also worth of praise is the kampachi tartare with truffle, when I ate this my toes curled. The kampachi was so fatty and rich it was almost like eating butter- or truffle butter for that matter. Jack seems to like adding truffle to the different seafood varieties and I have to say that it really works. The tartare was set on a small crispy matchstick sweet potato basket to provide a nice crunchy texture.

                                                            I think Jack is doing a great job with Yuba.

                                                            1. re: alkonost
                                                              l
                                                              Lau Jul 12, 2012 09:35 AM

                                                              thanks for the update!

                                                              the scallop dish sounds great! i may have to go again soon just to try that

                                                              1. re: Lau
                                                                alkonost Jul 12, 2012 09:58 AM

                                                                Hi Lau :)

                                                                It was great, I love how Jack used the different parts of the scallop that most people would just discard. It's amazing how many flavors and textures you can get out of a single scallop. The mantle was nice and chewy-crunchy like a clam, and the roe was a little livery- kind of like ankimo but not as rich and a bit stronger.

                                                                Just a word of caution about the scallop dish. For the roe/broth preparation there was a piece of scallop innard intended to flavor the broth and not to be eaten (it is very small) and I accidentally ate it- or tried to... The roe (I'm assuming it was the roe) is bright pink and safe to eat, you can't miss it.

                                                                I had attempted to order this before, but Jack doesn't always have it. I respect that, it seems as though if it's not fresh he's not going to offer it.

                                                                1. re: alkonost
                                                                  l
                                                                  Lau Jul 12, 2012 10:02 AM

                                                                  yah that makes alot of sense, maybe ill call ahead of time to make sure they have it

                                                                  1. re: Lau
                                                                    alkonost Jul 18, 2012 08:07 PM

                                                                    Yuba was really busy tonight! I was so happy to see the place full! I sat at the sushi bar, there were couple of ladies sitting next to me were swooning over their meal. Yuba had fresh Aji flown in from Japan on special tonight prepared 3 ways (tartare, sashimi and the fried fish bones). I read the Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya review on another thread and saw the same dish mentioned. I was very tempted to visit blue ribbon, but went to Yuba instead and I was thrilled to see the Aji on special since I was thinking about it. Maybe Jack is a mind-reader.

                                                                    Lau, have you had a chance to return to Yuba lately?

                                                                    1. re: alkonost
                                                                      l
                                                                      Lau Jul 19, 2012 09:40 AM

                                                                      that sounds great, although i think yuba is better than blue ribbon sushi izakaya (which i go to sometimes b/c its pretty close to where i live)

                                                                      i went fairly recently about a month ago or so, but it was after you posted on it...ill go back soon

                                                                      1. re: Lau
                                                                        f
                                                                        foodwhisperer Jul 19, 2012 03:26 PM

                                                                        The chefs at Blue Ribbon Izakaya, do a great job with the aji dish. They have been around NYC for awhile , and have worked at Hatsuhana, Nobu and Ushiwakamaru. My only issue at BR is they do not use fresh wasabi, because the executive chef, thinks that is too upscale for Izakaya, which is nuts to me.

                                                                        1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                                          alkonost Jul 19, 2012 05:51 PM

                                                                          Still, it's good to know we can get the fried fish aji at both places- provided the season is right, of course. I really loved seeing the uncooked fish-head on my plate before they deep-fried the bones. It was almost as if they were boasting "look how fresh this fish is!!!" the fish head's pretty, clear, glassy eyes were looking up at me. After they fried it I ate the eyes too :)

                                                                          1. re: alkonost
                                                                            l
                                                                            Lau Jul 20, 2012 10:12 AM

                                                                            yah this sounds great, i need to go try this

                                                                            1. re: alkonost
                                                                              f
                                                                              foodwhisperer Jul 20, 2012 09:54 PM

                                                                              Eye eaters , are my favorite people

                                                                              1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                                                m
                                                                                michelleats Jul 23, 2012 09:33 PM

                                                                                Depends on whose eyes, but generally, I can agree with this. :)

                                                                                Alkonost, thanks for some great reports and for sticking your neck out for a restaurant you like.

                                                                                1. re: michelleats
                                                                                  alkonost Jul 27, 2012 11:03 AM

                                                                                  If eyes weren't meant to be eaten, they wouldn't be so delicious :) What's not to like? I'm happy to report on the delicious morsels to be had. I realize sometimes it takes a while for a good restaurant to catch on. It makes me sad to see excellent establishments shut down, so if I love a particular place I try to be vocal about it. Restaurants in the EV come and go so quickly these days.

                                                            2. h
                                                              hungrycomposer Jul 31, 2012 12:58 PM

                                                              I went last night. Everything was delicious - my only complaint is that the menu was unreadable. I love saba (mackerel) and had been meaning to try their pressed sushi. It was my favorite dish of the evening. The ratio of rice to fish seemed a little high, but that might be traditional with that presentation. I used the "scoutmob" app that gave me $20 off. I am a little leery of how good those are for the restaurant, but it finally got me in the door and I'll be back (to get an order of pressed saba to go if nothing else). The service was very nice and attentive and the room is small and pleasant. I wanted a light summer meal, not the omakase, and this place is still very good even if you're not shooting the works.

                                                              1. alkonost Aug 30, 2012 05:14 AM

                                                                I went to Yuba last night for a belated birthday omakase! Everything was flawless, and lucky me the japanese aji was still in season so I enjoyed their "Japanese Aji 3 ways" (sashimi, nigiri, tartare, deep fried bones). I snagged a few pics, but I didn't get snapshots of everything unfortunately (too much sake!). The omakase (I purchased their $50 omakase, they have more elaborate ones availabe) consisted of trigger fish, red snapper (exceptional), kampachi, striped jack, toro, smelt (amazing!), a type of pickled mackerel whose name escapes me, king salmon belly, scallop (always a fave of mine!), amaebi with caviar followed by the deep-fried amaebi head, uni, and sea trout. I apologize if I left anything out, I was sake-drunk halfway through the meal (you know how birthdays go). Hospitality and service was wonderful, as usual.

                                                                 
                                                                 
                                                                 
                                                                 
                                                                 
                                                                 
                                                                 
                                                                 
                                                                13 Replies
                                                                1. re: alkonost
                                                                  l
                                                                  Lau Aug 30, 2012 06:23 AM

                                                                  looks great! glad its still going strong

                                                                  ill make my way over there now that im back from asia

                                                                  1. re: Lau
                                                                    f
                                                                    foodlovergeneral Aug 31, 2012 09:40 AM

                                                                    Do Sushi Chef's have to be Japanese? Lau brought up the issue at the beginning of this string. I have posted a discussion and would love to hear from people on it:

                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/866063

                                                                    1. re: Lau
                                                                      alkonost Sep 4, 2012 05:17 AM

                                                                      Welcome back, hope your trip (whether it was business or vacation) was a good one! I can't edit my post, but wanted to mention that the pickled mackerel in the omakase whose name escaped me was "Kohada", which is actually a type of herring- my mistake!

                                                                      1. re: Lau
                                                                        alkonost Oct 1, 2012 08:33 PM

                                                                        My heart is breaking, I'm moving to Dallas in 2 weeks and wish I could put Yuba on the back of a truck and ship the whole restaurant & staff with me. I had dinner there on Saturday night, the fish was so exquisite that I dreamed of eating mackerel in my sleep. Since I'm a regular there I'm debating whether or not I should tell them I'm moving, whenever I think about it I get that sinking feeling of sadness in my chest. I'm hoping to have one last dinner there before I'm packed up and headed for the Lone Star State, with a little bit of luck (and time management) I can make it happen!

                                                                        1. re: alkonost
                                                                          l
                                                                          Lau Oct 2, 2012 07:59 PM

                                                                          ah too bad!

                                                                          1. re: Lau
                                                                            alkonost Oct 8, 2012 09:28 PM

                                                                            Yeah it stinks... If I can find a restaurant half as good as Yuba where I'm moving to I'll be a lucky Yankee. I received a lot of recommendations from the Dallas forum but regrettably I haven't had time to venture out to those locations yet.

                                                                            I just got back from Dallas (been shuttling back and forth) and there were a couple sushi restaurants local to the hotel I was staying at in DFW, due to traffic and general fatigue we didn't want to travel far for a meal. I dined there before in the past and they weren't bad last time, but the quality certainly slipped during this recent trip. They were just "OK"- reasonably fresh sushi but not of good quality, I really hope that's not the norm for Dallas-Ft. Worth.

                                                                            1. re: alkonost
                                                                              l
                                                                              Lau Oct 9, 2012 06:02 AM

                                                                              yah i havent spent much time in dallas, so not that familiar with the food scene there. I'm usually only for there business really so when ive been there its been in and out pretty quickly

                                                                              1. re: Lau
                                                                                alkonost Oct 10, 2012 07:33 PM

                                                                                Unfortunately I haven't had and extended stay there either and even though I'd love to do restaurant hopping I never seem to have time to do it (that and there's horrible highway construction all over the place).

                                                                                I went to Yuba for lunch today and let them know I'm relocating and that I'll miss their restaurant very much. I tried the uni with scrambled egg and caviar appetizer while I was there, it was a really warm and comforting treat- it made me forget all about the stress of moving. What upsets me a little bit is that I didn't get the chance to bring my mom to Yuba. She's the one who got me hooked on Japanese cuisine when I was a little kid, and whenever she'd visit me in NY I always spoil her rotten by taking her out for sushi. She wasn't able to make her annual visit this spring.

                                                                                1. re: alkonost
                                                                                  f
                                                                                  foodwhisperer Oct 10, 2012 07:58 PM

                                                                                  Nice review. I'll have to try Yuba again. I was there when they first opened, and wrote about it, and was a little disappointed. I will go in with an open mind and hope to really enjoy it this time. Dallas has the best Tex Mex food and excellent BBQ.
                                                                                  Also a good place to buy Luchese cowboy boots.

                                                                                  1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                                                    alkonost Oct 10, 2012 09:51 PM

                                                                                    I'm sorry your first experience there fell short, and I hope your next visit is a better one :) I haven't had many of their cooked dishes though I agree with your post on another thread that their corn tempura can be a bit oily. Even though the kitchen menu looks great I haven't sampled many of those dishes since I stick to sashimi a la carte or the omakase. I've always found the fish quality to be excellent and consistent.

                                                                                    When reading what you wrote about your visit to Yuba, I noticed you weren't sure about the fish freshness so you opted for a spicy salmon roll. I'm not sure if they did this when they first opened, but they have a list of daily special appetizers and fish that are in season and very fresh. I use that daily special menu as my "cheat sheet" for homing in on the best they have to offer without going all out on an omakase, but so far the quality of their a la carte fishes for sushi/sashimi has also been superb (I hardly use any soy or wasabi because it doesn't need it). If you sit at the sushi bar and ask the chefs what's good that day they'll tell you. Today it was uni and pike.

                                                                                    I'm attaching pics of my lunch :) App was the uni with caviar and egg: cool, fresh uni draped over a warm scrabled egg with chopped uni. The egg scramble had a little bit of broth in it, which was slightly sweet so the flavor of the eggs was tamago-like but with a soft, runny scrambled egg texture. My a la carte sashimi selection was kanpachi, anago, pike, uni, saba, aji and ikura (not shown). All stellar favorites of mine, though the pike was a new one for me and I enjoyed it. I'm partial to the saba sashimi that jack prepares by scoring the skin and torching it.

                                                                                     
                                                                                     
                                                                                    1. re: alkonost
                                                                                      l
                                                                                      Lau Oct 11, 2012 06:02 AM

                                                                                      ah looks great

                                                                                      btw the fish has always been good quality at yuba

                                                                                      1. re: alkonost
                                                                                        f
                                                                                        foodwhisperer Oct 11, 2012 06:28 AM

                                                                                        Thanks for the review, and also reminding me of my original review. I never did give the sushi and sashimi a fair chance. I will certainly revisit Yuba, and report back.

                                                                                        1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                                                          alkonost Oct 11, 2012 10:39 PM

                                                                                          I look forward to reading your report :)

                                                                                          I'm flying back to Dallas for the weekend so I suspect sushi/sashimi withdrawal symptoms will strike a few hours after touchdown. Oh the humanity!

                                                                      2. h
                                                                        hungrycomposer Oct 21, 2012 08:22 PM

                                                                        Yuba has started a lunch special menu on weekdays. The food is not as unique as their other menu items, but they do offer really superior sushi at a low price. I missed Nori Sushi for just this reason, but Yuba's sushi is better than Nori's. The prices are low enough that you can supplement your meal with an additional dish or two (not that you need more food, the servings are generous and they serve miso soup with their delicious yuba in it).

                                                                        Show Hidden Posts