HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >

Discussion

Kuruma Zushi vs. Shinbashi vs. ?

  • t
  • Tkn Oct 8, 2011 08:55 PM
  • 11
  • Share

Hello, I am an LA chowhound visiting NY for 2 nights. I am looking for the best, most traditional, sushi available in NY. I like straight nigiri sushi with maybe some shiokara or other chinmi thrown in. Creativity and presentation is not too important to me. But I do like attention to detail and expert knife skills.

I've read up as much as I can on this subject and I think I've narrowed it down to Kuruma Zushi and Shinbashi. Both appear to have been around since the 70's and are probably masters of their art by now. Any opinions on these two places? Any other sushi bars I should consider?

Assume price is not an issue, although I am not interested in eating kobe beef, foi gras, and gold flakes (a la Masa's understudy Urasawa here in LA). Just straight up, no nonsense, sushi.

Thanks for any help!

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

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

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. I completely understand what you're looking for. It's not an easy choice, but I would go with Shinbashi. Reserve in the center of the bar with Mr. Nakashima.

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      Thanks, we made reservations with Mr. Nakashima at the bar.

    2. Sorry I missed this thread. Would have recommended Yasuda or Kuruma. How was Shinbashi?

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

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

      8 Replies
      1. re: Porthos

        It was sadly uninspiring. I don't think the chef put in too much effort that night. I know he has a lot of fans on this board, and unfortunately, I only have the one meal to judge him on.

        We showed up to an empty sushi bar and were seated at the very end on the side. The only other customers in the house--and it's a pretty big place--were some Japanese gentlemen sitting at a table on the far side of the room. The chef was at that table hobnobbing for probably a full 10-15 minutes. The hostess, sensing our anxiety, came over and made idle conversation with us about how she always wanted to see Disneyland and whatnot (I had mentioned that we were from California).

        So finally the chef walks back behind the bar and came over to greet us. Greet might be the wrong word here. He simply leaned his body forward and stared at us, as if he was going to bow but then thought better of it. There were no "welcome," no "thanks for waiting" or anything like that. Just a mere acknowledgement that we were there. You would think that we'd be miffed by now and have a bad taste in our mouth because of it. But no, we just shrugged it off. LA sushi chefs are notorious for this kind of bad attitude, and this isn't our first rodeo.

        The food, like I said, was uninspiring. The Tai sashimi was bland and unseasoned. It was served with a side dish of ponzu and a big pile of negi. You are expected to assemble them yourself. The oysters were served unadorned save for a healthy dose of lemon juice. The raw clams were served in the exact same way. I'm all for simplicity, but this was bit ridiculous. I would give his uni a 6.5 out 10--just barely above supermarket quality. I think the West Coast have it better in this department. His cooked fish was way too salty. It was like the kind of fish families make at home to consume with large quantities of rice. The rest of the meal was rather forgettable. Not awful by any means, but not great either. I guess you have to be a regular to get the good stuff here. ;-)

        Toward the end of our meal, though, the chef warmed up to us a lot. He started to tell us about his history of becoming a sushi chef and how his dad was a famous sushi chef back in Japan. He made us an ume shiso maki and a kanpyo maki which were pretty good. Then he rummaged through his box of business cards and referred us to his friend Shu Ikeda's yakitori Tori Shin over on 1st street. And that place turned out to be the highlight of our entire trip in NY.

        So I guess our visit to Shinbashi wasn't all bad!

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

         
         
        1. re: Tkn

          Unfortunately it's the 2-3 Yasuda detractors that recommend Shinbashi most highly...which is why I'm sorry I didn't catch this post when you posted.

          Now that Yasuda has retired, try Kuruma the next time you're in town. I have yet to try 15 East but it also comes highly recommended from trusted sources. I think they're more what you're looking for. Prices at Kuruma can quickly escalate to Urasawa level without any gold flakes though. Better sashimi I have not had anywhere.

          1. re: Porthos

            porthos, i second that. i've dined at Nakashima's station at Shinbashi and find it completely underwhelming too. some have said that you need to establish a relationship with the chef and then you'll get the good stuff after multiple visits. maybe. you know, perhaps if you go to same mcdonald's to order big macs, after many visits, they'll give you something wonderful too.... i was never able to find out.

            really don't mean to be cynical - to each their own. i can see yasuda is not everybody's cup of tea. but personally i find it really hard to ever think of shinbashi as the same league as places like 15 east (assuming you sit at the head chef's counter in both places). to me it's not even close to the same level as ushiwakamaru, or maybe even azabu or inase (a relatively low key place on UES).

            -----
            Inase
            1586 1st Ave, New York, NY 10028

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

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

            Ushiwakamaru
            136 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

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

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

            1. re: mow mow

              Azabu is awful...slimey sushi w/ mealy rice and fake wasabi (as reported by many posters but not served to others)...i tell everyone to avoid this place at all costs...

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

            2. re: Porthos

              It does seem that almost every 'hound who went to Shinbashi based on the recommendation of two posters came away disappointed. I'm also sorry that more 'hounds did not chime in before you went.

              1. re: Porthos

                BTW Porthos - I finally had a chance to return to Yasuda, which was my first visit after Yasuda-san's departure (I know, it was way due) and IMO it's still excellent as ever. Now I just gotta go back to Mori (my #2 fave in the U.S.) to see if they haven't changed, and all will be right again in my sushi world.

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

                1. re: uwsister

                  I'll second this - Yasuda post-Yasuda did not drop off at all in quality.

                  1. re: lexismore

                    Made it back to Yasuda last week, first time since he left, and it was as good as when he was present. To the original poster's request, though late last year, very much on par with Sushi Zo in LA.