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Sushi Azabu - The Best Deal for Quality Sushi in Manhattan

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**For full post and pics**: http://www.lauhound.com/2011/08/sushi...

I previously reviewed Sushi Azabu (http://www.lauhound.com/2010/12/sushi...) back in December 2010, so I’m going to skip a lot of details about the restaurant as you can read my previous review.

This review is all about their “Koi Course”, which consists of a small appetizer, 10 pieces of nigiri sushi and a miso soup for $35 per person (http://www.greenwichgrill.com/pdf/sus...). Recently, I’ve been going here quite a bit to take advantage of the fact that Sushi Azabu is one of the better places for sushi in the city and this deal allows to have top quality sushi for a reasonable price (at least reasonable in sushi land).

The course is slightly different each time, but here’s what we got last time:

- Hijiki seaweed: This was a small salad made up of shredded hijiki seaweed and a few pieces of diced carrots in a sauce made of soy sauce and sugar. It was prepared nicely and the slightly sweet sauce complimented the hijiki seaweed perfectly. 8/10
- Blue Fin Tuna: This was a great piece of tuna. The meat had great texture with the right amount of fat and was very tender. The flavor was very nice and clean. 8.25/10
- Kanpachi: This was very nice as well, clean tasting with great texture. 8/10
- Blue Fin Tuna: I completely forgot to ask the chef where everything was from, but this was from somewhere different than the first piece, but it was excellent and tasted similar to the first piece. 8.25/10
- Japanese Red Snapper: Another clean tasting piece, it was mild as snapper always is, but it tasted very good. 8/10
- Fluke: Fluke is another fairly mild flavor fish that is more about the texture in my mind than the flavor. This was a nice piece with good texture. 8/10
- Salmon: This was a really nice piece of salmon with a clean salmon flavor that was rich, but still had good texture. 8.25/10
- King salmon: This was more mild flavored than the other piece of salmon, but was marbled beautifully so it was a little more melt in your mouth. It was very good as well. 8.25/10
- Grilled salmon: This was great; it was a piece of salmon that they quickly blow torched. I really liked the slightly smoky charred flavor that the blow torch gives it (this was so good that I later got a second piece). 8.5/10
- Cooked shrimp (Ebi): Ebi is not my favorite sushi as it’s fairly bland, but the version here was good. 7.25/10
- Scallop: This was a nice scallop, the meat was sweet and the salt compliments it nicely. 8/10
- Miso soup: I forgot to take a picture of this, but it was good miso soup. It wasn’t overly salty and had a much better flavor than the packaged kind you get at a lot of Japanese restaurants in NY. 7.75/10

Overall, the meal was great. I did order another 2 pieces of sushi after this, but it’s a great way to taste some of NY’s top tier sushi without completely destroying your wallet.

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Sushi Azabu
428 Greenwich St (basement), New York, NY 10013

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  1. Wow, that's a decent deal. I remember your review from last year but it always slips my mind to consider Azabu- I think because of the downtown location. Need to keep it on my radar...Set is a little heavy on the salmon/ tuna thing though. No nigiri substitutions, which is understandable for a set deal. But I eat hijiki salad and miso soup nearly every day these days, so hope I can substitute those guys at least if I make it there!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Silverjay

      well the appetizer switches, i dont think they've ever served me the same appetizer, but the miso soup is always there at the end of the meal

      it is a really great deal though

      btw when you go, try the seared wagyu beef sushi, it is very good. i got three pieces after i tried it b/c it was so good

      1. re: Silverjay

        "I eat hijiki salad and miso soup nearly every day these days"

        You should know about this, if you don't already:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hijiki#P...

          1. re: Humbucker

            Yeah, I know. That's an old one... It's a batch we make once a year, boiled to hell and back, and divied out in very small portions for lunch.

        1. That's a great price and i like the sultry setting for a date.
          But i was very underwhelmed by two meals there that i had about 2 and a half years ago. Was unimpressed by the food and the service (and the omakase for 2, albeit with a lot of drinks was over 300 dollars at that time). For 35 bucks i suppose i could give it another shot though.

          12 Replies
          1. re: Simon

            im not enamored with the service there either, the sushi chefs themselves are fine and nice, but the waiters sort of trip over themselves. i think they tried to get too high tech with the headphone dealio and they almost have too many servers, so i think alot gets lost in translation when they're trying to communicate with each other. i mean the service isn't awful, but its definitely not on par with most good Japanese restaurants where the service is top notch.

            as far as the food, you should give it a try i'd only rank yasuda, kuruma and 15 east above it (sushi of gari is so different than i almost don't even count them even though i like the place; i'm sure masa is up there too, but i haven't eaten there). Also, i don't like their omakase (which has cooked food etc) that much, i much prefer Koi Course which i mention above or a strictly sushi omakase if i feel like spending some more money

            btw try their seared wagyu beef sushi if ure ordering separate sushi, its ridiculously good. the raw wagyu beef appetizer is also excellent

            1. re: Lau

              My two meals at Ushi Wakamaru last month were particularly wonderful, far better than anything i had at Azabu when i went in the past. But i'll give Azabu another shot one night, i prob wont get the Koi course, as i don't care for salmon sushi or cooked ebi.

              1. re: Lau

                hey Lau,

                i gave Azabu another shot...albeit at the bar of Greenwich Grill upstairs...

                i value your reviews, esp on the many wonderful Chinese places you've steered me to...but i think Greenwich/Azabu is an awful place...

                This was my third try there...the first was a solo try at the sushi bar and i was unimpressed but only tried a few things...i did find the rice quite awful, but figured i'd try again...the second meal was a second date a couple years ago: as a date space Azabu is wonderful: stone floors, cozy, etc...and the date was fun (and i ended up dating the girl for a year)...but the sushi rice was mealy and gross and the cost incredibly high for the average quality of the fish...

                Which brings us to now...i figured i'd give it one last shot and try Greenwich Grill in tandem...i sat at the bar, solo upstairs...

                Simply wretched restaurant...like a Kyoto tourist joint trying to pretentiously impress Westerners...the whole headset thing is just inane (no clue who takes your order and who they are talking to, upstairs or downstairs)...

                Given my bad meals in the past, i figured i'd lower the risk and just have a light supper...i had:

                -- the House Salad w/ Beets and Avocado...this was disgusting...a bunch of package-cut romaine lettuce sprinkled w/ parmesian which tasted like Kraft (i'm fairly certain it was), w/ 3 or 3 or 4 small pieces of beets, and no avocado at all (i searched) and slices of lime w/ peel (???)...so, the chef thought that it'd be a good idea in a dim restaurant for people to bite down on a big slice of lime w/ peel attached?...a really vile dish...like bad cafeteria food...

                -- 4 pieces of sushi...the rice was mealy, hard, and awful w/ no vinegar at all (reminded me of the vile sushi i ate in Paris)...each piece of nigiri had a swath of wasabi so deep that it was like a big bug shining through underneath each slice of fish: and sure enough, each piece had a thimble-full of fake/industrial-quality wasabi on it that blotted out anything else...simply gross...the four pieces incuded: Tai -- slimey, eh, Chutoro - stringy and tough and a waste of money and more like maguro, Aji - mediocre, and Botan Ebi - mediocre...

                It's too bad...i like the lighting and the noirish location...but the food and service here are just vile...i'll never return...three strikes and it's out...

                -----
                Greenwich Grill
                428 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013

                1. re: Simon

                  i should also add, re: service: i ate about 3 bites of my awful salad, and then placed it on the side, clearly disgusted by it and leaving it 95% uneaten...not once did anyone bother to ask why i left it uneaten, or inquire about anything...they simply have no clue how to run a restaurant here...

                  1. re: Simon

                    ive never eaten at greenwich grill, so i have no opinion on it

                    re: azabu that is really weird, sorry you didnt like it, but i do think it is one of the better sushi places in the city, dont know what happened

                    1. re: Lau

                      i was probably overly harsh in my report, because i'd written it while still in an annoyed state having just paid 60 bucks for a salad i didn't eat, four pieces of nigiri, and a glass of white wine...i think i should prob give myself a cooling-off period before i review meals i don't like :)

                      1. re: Lau

                        Wow Lau, hmmm that rhymes. You had what sounds like an excellent meal at Azabu at an amazing price. I have been there and to Greenwich Grill probably 25 times each. First Azabu, the thing I like about it most is the secretness of it. It's like the restrooms at Kyo ya behind the secret wall. There is no sign outside, the name Greenwich Grill doesnt tip you off that there is anything japanese going on inside. Tirado-San is an excellent chef and a friend of Shimizu-san ( Massa at 15 East). He has excellent quality fish at Azabu. The 2 best things I have had at Azabu are the shirako, which is served warm, and the ankimo which also is served warm.I have found that the sushi is excellent when Tirado-San is my chef. The other chef is no where as skilled. It is a small quiet bar, with a few tables , very conducive atmosphere to enjoy sushi. The service is top notch.
                        Greenwich Grill, is excellent , although I liked it better when they first opened and they had all Japanese staff. The pastas are terrific. The pasta with thai crab sauce is wonderful. They used to make foie gras that was delicious but discontinued it. The grilled fish is simple but perfect. They allow nigiri sushi to be ordered from Azabu as appetizers upstairs. Greenwich Grill I think is certainly as good as Basta Pasta. I believe the group that owns this restaurant has 5 "italian" restaurants in Japan, i know one waiter left Greenwch Grill to go work at their place in Nagoya.
                        Tribeca Cafe closed, it just didn't have what it takes. However, and this is a huge however, the new restaurant that opened, is trying to keep it a secret that they are part of the same group They are trying to make it on their own as an Italian restaurant with no relation to Greenwich Grill and Azabu. The place is called
                        Ristorante Aglio. They are not packed as of yet. Once they get a real review , it willl be tough to get in. The food is way better than Basta pasta and the Greenwich Grill. I have been there several times and this is a gem. You would walk right by it , as there is barely a sign. It is right before Luzzo pizza on Church St near White. The chef is Japanese, but was a chef in a 2 star Michelin restaurant in Tuscany for several years, and also worked in their restaurants in Japan, I was told by staff. The waiter speaks fluent Italian and is from Milan. I like when the Italian language is spoken and the food is understood, when I eat Italian food. The food here is not Wafi, like Greenwich Grill with its uni pasta, thai pasta etc. ,,this place is Italian.
                        At Aglio tonite, I had for starters perfectly grilled octopus and potatoes with arugula, then had some seared foie gras with grilled sweet potato slices, for pastas we had I believe it was a rigatoni in a delicious bolognese sauce, and the batarga pasta with sardine or anchovy, was amazing. One of my party was from Northern Italy and loved the food. They especially enjoyed the sides of perfectly fried cauliflower with cheese in it. Other sides we had this time were sauteed spinach and rosemary roasted potatoes perfectly cooked. For mains we had grilled Tasmanian sea trout, the skin crisp as can be and the fish rare and delicious. The fish here is high quality as it is shared by Azabu and Greenwich Grill. Last time i had the kanpachi crudo which is excellent. We also had 2 good size lamb chops,whcih were very good.
                        Dessert was a chocolate cake that was terrific. This is one of the best italian restaurants around. The pasta can be a little too al dente for some tastes, but they will adjust to taste. I strongly recommend this restaurant. The swordfish is beyond any I have had anywhere. The prices are reasonable.
                        Greenwich Grill has the best deal in Tribeca for lunch. $12 for a 3 course lunch. Amazing.
                        I have never gotten out of Sushi Azabu for less than $125 per person.

                      2. re: Simon

                        Haven't been back to Greenwich Grill for over a year, but my conclusion back then was that if you crave wafu pasta/food, go to Basta Pasta instead. Also, there was a cheap alternative: TriBeCafe* nearby (owned by the same company as GG) had $8 mentaiko pastas and a nicer space. GG's menu is hit or miss in general, and salads are definitely not their strong suit. Things that are good (but overpriced) on their menu: fish carpaccio, some sort of wafu pasta, lobster, jidori chicken.

                        *Note: TriBeCafe isn't serving wafu pastas anymore, and have changed their restaurant concept entirely to something spanish. I'm still mourning the loss of Tokyo Bar, TriBeCafe's previous concept/restaurant in the same space with splashy manga walls and katsu curries. As a lower Manhattan restaurant, I can't wait to see a place like Tokyo Bar return to our neighborhood!

                        About Tokyo Bar turning into TriBeCafe in February 2010: http://www.tribecafe.net/press/pressr...

                        About TriBeCafe's menu change from Japanese Italian to Spanish Winter 2011: http://newyork.nearsay.com/nyc/soho-t...

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

                        Greenwich Grill
                        428 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013

                        TriBeCafe
                        277 Church St, New York, NY 10013

                        1. re: Noodle fanatic

                          What's WAFU food? Western-Asian Fusion?

                          1. re: plf515

                            Indeed. Wafu translates to Asian-style.

                            1. re: Noodle fanatic

                              Wafu means specifically "Japanese style".

                              1. re: Silverjay

                                Oops, Silverjay is right! Wafu (和風) is Japanese style. Sorry I got my characters mixed up.

                2. Very little variety, heavy on the salmon....ebi? This is not "top tier" by any stretch of the imagination. To what are you comparing this? I understand it's inexpensive (and I can see why), but it really doesn't sound like "top tier" to me.

                  How does it compare to Masa, Shinbashi, Kurumazushi....? If those are "top tier" then this surely is not.

                  -----
                  Kurumazushi
                  7 E 47th St, New York, NY 10017

                  Shinbashi
                  7 East 48th Street, New York, NY 10017

                  Masa
                  10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: gutsofsteel

                    by top tier i mean about the quality of the actual meat (although i agree with you that ebi is not a top tier sushi dish anywhere). so just so you're clear if you took a single piece of sushi (tuna, salmon whatever) and compared it to another piece of sushi at XYZ sushi restaurant that's how i compare sushi, variety has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the meat.

                    as i said in my other response sushi azabu is among the best sushi places in the city although ts in my 2nd tier, so i would put it below yasuda (i know u hate yasuda b/c u hate chef yasuda etc etc, no need to rehash), kuruma and 15 east. i haven't eaten at masa or shinbashi (which i believe is your favorite sushi place)

                    have you eaten at sushi azabu?

                    1. re: Lau

                      No, and based on your description I am utterly uninterested in doing so. Almost no variety, inexpensive fish, ebi....not worth my time. I'd much rather eat somewhere with excellent quality and variety and beautiful presentation and skilled chefs and perfect rice and marination etc etc. Putting a "good quality" piece of fish in front of me is fine and dandy but does not come anywhere close to meeting my standards for a meal.

                      If there is Shinbashi, 15 East, Kuruma, Masa, Ushiwakamaru...why on earth would I go to Azabu? Because it's only $35 and they have "good quality" tuna and salmon? That's "top tier?"

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

                      Shinbashi
                      7 East 48th Street, New York, NY 10017

                      Masa
                      10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

                      1. re: gutsofsteel

                        i dont think you get it, this is specifically for the koi course deal

                        if you want to spend more money then just get sushi omakase, it's quite simple, if you get the sushi omakase this is one of the best places in the city (this review is not for the sushi omakase). Btw, this place is way better than ushi. ushi is not in the same league

                        i'm not sure why u seem to be so against the place as u are making some rather strong statements given you've never been there

                        1. re: gutsofsteel

                          Gutsofsteel: Azabu is in the same class of the kuruma, 15 East etc, try it then talk. I spent $400 there for two people, now does it sound better

                      2. re: gutsofsteel

                        Overall, I don't think Shinbashi compares well to the other two.

                        -----
                        Shinbashi
                        7 East 48th Street, New York, NY 10017

                        1. re: hcbk0702

                          I have only been to Shinbashi once, but based on that one meal (and the reports of others whom I trust), it is quite good. Masa in in a category by itself in NYC, but I do think Shinbashi compares favorably to Kurumazushi - and certainly much more pleasant.

                          -----
                          Kurumazushi
                          7 E 47th St, New York, NY 10017

                          Shinbashi
                          7 East 48th Street, New York, NY 10017

                          Masa
                          10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

                          1. re: hcbk0702

                            Japion recommends the hot pot at Shinbashi. None of the Japanese blog and message board commentary I've read hails the quality of the sushi. But they say it's a good place to take American friends and co-workers. There was a profile of the sushi chef in New York Seikatsu awhile back.

                            1. re: Silverjay

                              Try it for yourself and see. Based on my one meal there...it was quite good.

                              1. re: Silverjay

                                Try it for yourself. I thought it was very good indeed.

                            2. re: gutsofsteel

                              Seems to me, if you look at the prices on the menu, the $35 "deal" is a composition of their low-end fish. I imagine if each element of the "Koi Course" were ordered individually, you would probably spend more or less $10 extra dollars. I'm not sure that this makes it such a great deal, especially considering all of the salmon, basic tuna, etc. that you get.

                              1. re: Nancy S.

                                here's the menu a la carte: http://www.greenwichgrill.com/pdf/sus...

                                lets just do the math:
                                Hijiki: $3
                                Akami: $5
                                Kanpachi: $5
                                Akami: $5
                                Red snapper: $6
                                Fluke: $6
                                Salmon: $3
                                Salmon: $3
                                Salmon: $3
                                Hotate (scallop): $5
                                Ebi: $3 (i'm assuming since they don't list it on their menu

                                )

                                We'll assume the miso soup is free, so that's $47 vs $35. so you save $12 or a 25% discount. I think thats a reasonable savings

                            3. $35 for this set IS a good bargain, the fact that it appears you were served single pieces one at a time, is already a plus from a west coast perspective. In Northern California if you get charged $35 for "chef's special choice nigiri" or along those lines, the nigiri typically comes all at once on a plate and definitely not pre-sauced like what you had.

                              Wondering if the salmon they used is the higher end farmed kind like Loch Duarte (Scotland) where (depending on the farm) the fish are given supposedly organic feed and are supposedly eco friendly/ raised via sustainable practices. But either way it results in a higher quality tasting salmon.

                              Bluefin.... if the farmed kind (very likely) maybe from the waters around Indian Ocean or Spain (or you got pieces of both).

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: K K

                                it is served piece by piece and each piece is individually sauces / salted as they give it to you, the same as if you ordered omakase and then had them serve you. I think its a good deal. I mean the omakase is better b/c of the variety and types of fish / seafood you get, but this is a great deal and a way for someone who wants to try one of NY's better sushi restaurants w/o breaking the bank getting the normal omakase.

                                i normally ask them where everything is from, but i completely forgot to last time.

                              2. Lau, do you know if sushi can only be ordered if you dine at Sushi Azabu's section of the restaurant? I read that Sushi Azabu is part of Greenwich Grill but it's kind of tiny. If I dine at Greenwich Grill (and order food from Greenwich Grill), is it possible for me to order some sushi as part of my meal from Sushi Azabu?

                                -----
                                Greenwich Grill
                                428 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013

                                Sushi Azabu
                                428 Greenwich St (basement), New York, NY 10013

                                13 Replies
                                1. re: bearmi

                                  When I tried this, they only let me order nigiri a la carte from Greenwich Grill and some cooked dishes. None of the set menus were served up there.

                                  -----
                                  Greenwich Grill
                                  428 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013

                                  1. re: kathryn

                                    kathryn just answered your question, ive never eaten at greenwich grill so i dont know (greenwich grill is ground level and sushi azabu is in the basement)

                                    1. re: kathryn

                                      Thank you! Nigiri might be enough for me. I will prob order most entrees from the Greenwich Grill with my friends and get a few sushi items to share.

                                      -----
                                      Greenwich Grill
                                      428 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013

                                      1. re: bearmi

                                        have u actually eaten at greenwich grill? im pretty curious about it

                                        1. re: Lau

                                          It's similar to Basta Pasta but the food seems overall lighter. But I went a few years ago when they first opened. They dont even have a carbonara which is like a staple of almost every Japanese style Italian place.

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

                                          1. re: Ricky

                                            hmmm interesting. ive been meaning to try out both, maybe ill try both out and then write comparing reviews on them

                                          2. re: Lau

                                            Sorry.. I have never been.. but I plan to go next month for my B-day with friends :) I am trying to order some Sushi along as well so I can check out the food from both restaurants at the same time :) I will let you guys know what I think.

                                            1. re: bearmi

                                              look forward to hearing about it

                                              1. re: Lau

                                                Sorry Lau.. I have been soooo busy lately that I haven't been here for months! Anyway, I went around Labor Day weekend and ordered the Chinese Chicken Salad, which was pretty good (a lot of napa cabbage in there, which I don't like that much but they made it very tasty) and that salad was gigantic. My friends ordered other appetizers which were really tiny (can't remember what they had but I think it might have been the fish carpadcio). For entree, I ordered some type of Lamb chop and it was good too. I also ordered some Arancini (fried rice balls) to share with my friends. They were a little too rich for me but overall tasty. I can't remember the exact flavors they were (there were several that came with the order and each had its own flavor. If I remember correctly, one of them had squid ink in it) but I remember the outside was really nice and crunch and the rice inside tasted like risotto. Overall we thought the food was good but I think my dinner tasted better than my friends so I don't know if they enjoyed it as much as I did. Also, one of my friends ordered the $48 Pre Fix Dinner but the portion size was a little small. By the way, during my visit, I wanted to order sushi from downstairs but our waitress informed us that we weren't able to because the sushi restaurant was in full capacity or something like that. So I guess I will have to wait for next time to try their sushi.

                                                1. re: bearmi

                                                  ah nice, ill check it out

                                                  u should check out azabu, its a fun and good place

                                                  1. re: Lau

                                                    Yeah next time I will make reservation just to eat there in the sushi restaurant!

                                                    1. re: bearmi

                                                      yah u should, sushi is always better at the bar...too short of a half life to eat at a table

                                        2. re: kathryn

                                          Kathryn is correct, only nigiri sushi upstairs. But they always have a tartare or carpaccio of fish that is excellent with sushi quality fish. Azabu's fish is excellent quality, if you do not believe me ask Massa at 15 East what he thinks of it. It is certainly as good or better than Sushi Wakamura

                                      2. Lau:
                                        I know where you are going with this. My go to place when I do not want to drop the coin for an omakase is Hatsuhana on 48th. The pick ten is similar in that it includes a roll instead of soup. They usually provide an "amuse." The selection of fish is not as exotic, just super high quality for a reasonable price.

                                        If you want soup or salad, try the Prixe Fix for $27.50-not a lot of sushi, but a very nice meal including dessert if that is important to you. Add a couple a la carte selections and you can still get out for under $40 without drinks or tip.
                                        http://www.hatsuhana.com/wp-content/t...

                                        -----
                                        Hatsuhana
                                        17 E 48th St, New York, NY 10017

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: AdamD

                                          i havent been to hatsuhana in a long time, ill try that out

                                          the thing with Sushi Azabu is that if i sit at the sushi bar and get the sushi only omakase its only a slight notch below my top places (yasuda, kuruma and 15 east) and its better than places like ushiwakamaru, so i think azabu is one of the top sushi places, this review is rather just about the "Koi Course" as you understand

                                          -----
                                          Sushi Azabu
                                          428 Greenwich St (basement), New York, NY 10013

                                          1. re: Lau

                                            Omakase is a whole other conversation IMHO.
                                            We are talking "set menus" as they are often referred to in Japan.

                                            There is a reason Hatsuhana is still around-very good maguro, hamachi, sake..etc....not the special stuff, just the basics done well.

                                            -----
                                            Hatsuhana
                                            17 E 48th St, New York, NY 10017

                                        2. My question is, if Sushi Yasuda is better than Azabu, then how is this the best deal? Sushi Yasuda's Matsu set gives you 12 pieces + 1/2 roll for $36. Azabu is 10 pieces (+ soup and tiny appetizer) for $35. Seems like Yasuda is better quality AND the better deal.

                                          btw, i went to sushi azabu based on your rec. the koi course is a good deal - esp bc they threw in an extra piece on the house (my choice - i chose uni) - not sure if this is standard procedure or not. the quality of the fish was very good. but there were at least 3 pieces where he used a heavy hand on the wasabi - it made my eyes smart, and i'm no wasabi wimp. this was my 1 serious complaint, and it caught me by surprise - this never happened to me at yasuda. the other weird thing was that the chef preparing my sushi wasn't in front of me. so i had a nice conversation with the guy in front of me (in the middle) but i couldn't talk to the guy making my sushi, and his pacing was a bit off at times b/c of that.

                                          I agree with others that the wait staff needs some work - I saw at least 4 miscues just while I was there. but it's not a big deal to me. probably really annoying to the chefs.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: thadj

                                            well until right now i'd never heard of the yasuda matsu set, so it's possible that is a better deal, i'll give it a try at some point

                                            re: service, i agree with you that it's a bit disjointed, they have too many servers and they are all trying to communicate through the mics they are wearing and they sometimes mess up

                                            re: wasabi, that hasn't happened to me, so i can't really comment

                                            re: sushi chef not being in front of you, that is weird and hasn't happened to me before so can't really comment on that eiether

                                            1. re: thadj

                                              You guys all get these deals. Why is it that all the good sushi places, Azabu, Wakamura, 15 East, kanoyama etc etc I always spend hundreds. I expect to spend hundreds. A good piece of tuna I expect to spend $15 for. I always get Omakase at Azabu by the way. and then add a few of the special dishes like the shirako. Don't let the deal part of Azabu fool you , the quality is there. The fish from Japan is more expensive than the ala carte menu posted here.

                                              1. re: thadj

                                                re: wasabi at Azabu, that was my same experience my last (and final) time there: a huge amount fake/industrial wasabi smeared on each piece, simply awful...(see above)...

                                                1. re: Simon

                                                  interesting, I haven't eaten at Azabu in about 5 months. The wait staff used to be superb. I did notice alot of fake wasabi when the 2nd chef made my sushi. I never noticed when Tirado-san prepared my sushi. Also one time the 2nd chef had a bad cold and served my food. Same thing happened to me at Ushiwakamaru. Usually I ask for fresh wasabi, but i guess that's just for the sashimi there.

                                              2. Sushi Azabu does not disappoint. I have not been here in a while. The service was excellent. The people eating at the bar were excellent, as they were Japanese and enjoying every dish. The giant Pacific oyster was cut into bite size pieces and was a great way to start. The Batarga served with the sashimi course went really well with my junmai ginjo sake. The sushi was excellent and up there with 15 East, et al. Two types of uni, one from Hokkaido and one from Maine, both delicious. The sushi sayori was my favorite piece of sushi, it looked beautiful and was divine. The hot ankimo was fantastic. This is the only place i have ever had hot ankimo , it is something everyone should try. Sometimes they also have hot shirako which is even better. The anago rivaled 15 East, and that is saying something. Every piece of fish was fresh, the rice was perfect. I ordered the $100 omakase, which is the best they have. I did not count the pieces. The chef Tirado -san , gave me the perfect amount of fish. He asked if i wanted more. I like that. I don't like a set number. Some people need more than others. What was bizarre is that they charged me $3 for a scoop of Green Tea Ice cream. My bill came to $180 before tip. That included sake, beers for the chefs and the ice cream. So as far as inexpensive , good sushi. That is not happening, nor do I expect it. The fact that Azabu is like a "secret" sushi bar I also like. There is no sign outside to indicate that there is a sushi restaurant here. They also have the Japanese style toilet which is great. Sushi Azabu is excellent. For those that did not rate it so high, go back and try it again. Oh, and I did not get any fake wasabi, it was fresh wasabi

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                                                Sushi Azabu
                                                428 Greenwich St (basement), New York, NY 10013

                                                4 Replies
                                                  1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                    this is odd, as we both love 15 East, yet all three of my meals at Azabu were very bad...and the massive amounts of fake wasabi have been mentioned by others...do they have one chef who uses fake wasabi and slimey poor quality fish, and another who uses the good stuff?...3 times is enough for me, and while i love the hidden location, i'll never return...

                                                    1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                      Wow, I totally agree with you. I've been to 15 East twice (I know, not that much but I live in CA) and both times were not as good as the 3 times I've been to Azabu. Not only that, the bill at Azabu was much more than 15 East....so I'm quite confused with the deals at Azabu people are mentioning here...
                                                      Now, I'm not saying 15 east wasn't delicious, because it was but I fell in love with Azabu and the rice was perfect.
                                                      My boyfriend lived in Tokyo and has gone to both 15 east & azabu many times and agrees Azabu is superior. Although, I will say I really like Shimizu-san and the people at 15 east more.
                                                      Sigh, wish there was better sushi where I live.

                                                    2. Maybe its a inconsistency thing. That could be why the opinions here are all over the place.

                                                      I went there once with a friend that certainly knows the difference. We sat with Terado and for me the meal was mediocore. Nothing special. And the sushi bar is for me is very uncomfortable. Chef is as nice as possible, though. I think that he is a little young and his skill will improve over time.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: sushiman

                                                        Sushiman, I agree with you regarding inconsistency. I frequent most of the good sushi places. They all consider me a regular, so often I do get "better" pieces of sushi. But I have had a few not good meals at Azabu and not been back there since August. I will go back December or January to try their buri, and they usually make the warm ankimo and cod shirako season. They prepare it deliciously and consistently delicious.
                                                        On another note, I am not sure how old Terado-san is, and Masa aka Shimizu-san is around 31. Regardless of age, once you have the traditional training and the innate skills you can be an excellent sushi chef and be in your 20's without a problem. When Masa got his Michelin star at Jewel Bako he was only in is 20's , but that was after 7 years of training and additional "head chef" experience in other Japanese restaurant. So Terado's age, i don't think is a factor. I will find out if he is a fully "japanese trained" sushi chef. I do know some sushi chefs ( i won't name names) as they are friends of mine, that even though they have trained, they lack that little extra that you can't be taught or settle for non-perfection.. or are at mercy of the owner and do not buy top top quality fish ( regardless of whom the fish distributor is, even the best has different grades of fish).
                                                        All that being said, 15 East is still my favorite. But for guts I go to Ichimura-san,, and for ankimo and shirako I go to Azabu, and for Blue Fin eye socket I go to Kanoyama