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Umi Sushi 31st west: 生鱼片的价钱好。GREAT PLACE FOR SASHIMI SUSHI ALA CART AND ALL YOUR JAPANESE FAVORITES PREPARED IN AN AUTHENTIC FASHION.NICE PRICE AND NICE SPACIOUS COMFORTABLE SEATNG

jonkyo Dec 29, 2011 10:25 PM

At 118 E 31st Street is Umi Sushi, one of the many Fuzhou owned and operated sushi and Japanese restaurants in NYC area.

This began as an afternoon trip to Sapporo Noodle Shop that is at 152 49th street, next to a long established Sushi and Japan owned Japanese Restaurant. At 2:30 pm, Sapporo was out of Ramen. Amazing. Still had customers. I had a beer and headed south.

A historical note before going into Umi Sushi:

About 20 years ago and by the late 1980s, where Sapporo is located was a strip of more than several Japanese owned establishments, including a hidden Karioki Bar catering 99% to Japanese business travelers. That was when the Japanese were buying Rockefeller Center, and most Japanese restaurants in Manhattan were owned by Japanese. On that strip of 49th street today there only remains Sapporo Noodle Shop and Iroha Japanese Restaurant next door. I recommend both, especially happy hour at Sapporo for 2.50 draft mugs of beer, and the raw fish next door.

Since about 15 or more years ago when sushi became more popularized people from Fuzhou began to study the art of making sushi and some even lived and learned in Japan, and today, many a Japanese Restaurant in the NYC area are owned and staffed by Fuzhou people, who all know the fare quite well, and from ambiance to menu titles offers a Japanese experience above and beyond these trendy so called Asian Fusion venues.

Umi Sushi:

Lunch box specials are on offer for 8.50 and sushi lunch specials served with miso and salad range from 11.95 to 16.95 for the combo sushi sashimi.

34 rolls are on offer with titles such as Mississippi with crawfish, Sleeping Beauty with Black pepper salmon and avocado topped with spicy salmon and crunch, and more.

Being a lover of 生鱼片 or what the Japanese refer to a sashimi, this is the best place I have been for prices and portions of ala cart sashimi (and sushi too). The selection is good. I have eaten at many of these Fuzhou Japanese Restaurants that are actually all over NYC, and here I was particularly pleased with the order o scallop,which with two piece offered six slices of thick scallop. The squid ordering two piece gave me four long slices of squid rolled up with a green leaf (mint?) and nice red plum content inside.

I ordered quite a bit from the sashimi ala cart, had several 12 oz. beers and three small size sake warmed, several orders of uni were included in my order and the bill was under $50.00. That beats another place I have been near Oro (soho) that I have been to several times during happy hour prices. I must say that one time I went to the 'next to Oro sushi place‘ they had tuna belly and that was so amazing delicious. Call these places to find out if tuna belly is in the house. Not to dis that place, it will go unnamed.

Umi Sushi, along with a nice selection of Kitchen Apps has the following that Japaese food lovers are familiar with: Naruto selections, Regualr rolls over 20 types at 4.95 and up, noodles the typical soba and yaki soba Tempura Udon / Soba , Nabemono, Donburi at most at 10.00 and the eel goes for 13.00. Tempura and Teriyaki.

I recommend Umi Sushi simply for the reason that I saw many happy people dining and satisfied there, as was I sitting over time, and ordering over time ala cart sashimi.

The staff is entirely made up of friendly people who know the food, and the space is good. No dissatisfaction I have come across in this and other locatios in the states sometimes with too thin or small slices of the sashimi.

They do a lot of take out delivery with several delivery staff specifically there awaiting delivery orders, and that may be typical for the location, though may also clue one into their product quality.

The menu is extensive, and the dining space ample for a non-crowded dining experience. They have an extended back area that is comfortable if you and your party do not want to sit in the front area where there is a quite long sushi bar and several seatings/tables for two.

Western wine is on the menu along with Sake and Japan and Domestic beer.

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Umi Sushi
118 E 31st St, New York, NY 10016

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  1. jonkyo RE: Uncle Yabai Dec 29, 2011 11:04 PM

    I just like writing reviews, and displaying my particular take on places.

    If I were going to go for sushi tomorrow, it would be up quite high on my list especially due to price and portions of the cuts of raw fish. Other places would not make it on the list because the cuts are so tiny, or to thin, and it is affordable.

    11 Replies
    1. re: jonkyo
      u
      Uncle Yabai RE: jonkyo Dec 29, 2011 11:13 PM

      Fair enough. I don't think I'd eat sushi at a place owned by Fuzhou people. A Chinese restaurant owned by Fuzhou people, certainly. A Japanese one? I'll pass.

      1. re: Uncle Yabai
        Silverjay RE: Uncle Yabai Dec 29, 2011 11:28 PM

        Have to agree. I don't see the cultural connection. And I don't know how you can come away from studying authentic sushi in Japan and consider crazy rolls to be acceptable. Also, it's worth noting that Sake Bar Hagi, one of the most popular izakaya in the city, is right next to Iroha and Sapporo. It's underground. Finally, there are still hidden karaoke and hostess joints on the east side of town. In a bad economy, the healing powers of belting out some enka and carousing with young ladies lives on.

        1. re: Silverjay
          jonkyo RE: Silverjay Dec 29, 2011 11:42 PM

          I was quite a critic of these nouveau rolls and all the seemingly innovative styles of sushi in years past with the boom of Japanese sushi restaurants in the 90s, and stirring clear only desiring the classic fare of sushi known in decades past, though these days I don't mind loading up on saki and beer and raw cuts of fish and cephalopods at these places owned by others. Not here but in other lcoations some nice experineces at Korean and Hong Kong owned Japanese restaurants I have had.

          I typically eat raw fish the same as I did in Southern regions of Taiwan where often it is just a shop for that with no decor or anything but a table and chairs.

          Of course if one wants a truly authenitic experinece one is more apt to go to Iroha or perhaps another. I was not too fond of the trendy Japanese restaurants in southern China and found the more decorative Japanese owned or Taiwan owned places in Taiwan not lacking in much at all.

          There is nothing too unorthodox by having a nice meal in these Japanese restaurants owned by non-japanese. Thus said, I refuse to eat at Katz, due to the fact that I never see any Jewish people there, and I have not been back to the South African place since the non south african owners being the proprietors seems not to entice me enough and would rather go up to 116 street for a less fine dining experience but having the food prepared and brought to the table by people from the continent of Africa. None the less, I recall the atmosphere of the South African place being nice, and the food is selection or menu selection good.

          I was crucified for clearifying a fact here on Chowhound that Lanzhou Hand Pulled noodle shops really are not lanzhou style noodle dishes, and the shops were simply making the point that the noodles were pulled by hand by using the characters of 兰州 Lanzhou. Someone thought I was being too fastidious about the origins of the chefs. I think I made my point quite clear, and it had nothing to do with the origin of chefs as it was more concerned with the name and the cusine continuity thing.

          I made th point of authetic experience of owner servers and food all sharing continuity. Thats quite nice.

          Thus stated, markets for cuisine change, and differing manifestations evolve.

          Hagi, have been there years ago, and did not know it was still there. That was in 1989. I think it has changed some since then.

          1. re: jonkyo
            Silverjay RE: jonkyo Dec 30, 2011 12:07 AM

            Yabai and I both live(d) in Japan. The bar is probably set higher for us than China and Taiwan are capable of.

            1. re: Silverjay
              Silverjay RE: Silverjay Dec 30, 2011 12:17 AM

              ...but I'm definitely interested on your take in the regional Chinese cuisine scene in NYC. Been enjoying that.

              1. re: Silverjay
                jonkyo RE: Silverjay Dec 30, 2011 12:34 AM

                Appreciate the compliment.

                Continuity with cuisine and kitchen staff and owner is much appreciated in my experience, and something I look for, certainly.

                I have been using these forays into all these Fujianese owned restaurants here in the city to feast, and have not been up to Iroha recently. My housemate's boyfriend worked there some years back.

                Had some raw fish from Asahi with some friends recently at 48th street. It is owned by the same person or persons who owns the Vietnamese restaurant right next door.

                We actually had the Asahi sushi and sashimi at the Vietnamese place, after I eagerly pursued aquiring something from the next door menu.

            2. re: jonkyo
              K K RE: jonkyo Dec 31, 2011 03:32 PM

              "I typically eat raw fish the same as I did in Southern regions of Taiwan where often it is just a shop for that with no decor or anything but a table and chairs. "

              Yeah on Taiwanese food TV shows, sashimi is pronounced "sa see mee" and subtitled in Chinese as 沙西米 exactly as it sounds in Mandarin which is quite cute.
              I too have had night market sashimi once in Taipei (Keelung) and while the fishies aren't exactly cream of the crop (just regular tuna, salmon, local white fish, raw sweet prawns with colored brains/roe), they are fresh and extremely delicious. After fall, people make a bee line to around Pintung county when bluefins from northern Japan swim downward, passing that area, where there are bluefin tuna festivals (and feasts).

              I think the bigger differences between cheap sushi made by trained Fuzhou Chinese in NY vs Hokkien speaking Taiwanese in Taiwan is primarily the source and quality (and variety) of seafood, plus the proximity of Japan to Taiwan for easy access, cheaper importation of Japanese fish (when needed), in addition to skill and training.
              Cheap tuna or salmon in TW is probably a lot tastier than the cheap tuna + salmon here, even with similar quality cheap soy sauce and paste wasabi.

              1. re: K K
                jonkyo RE: K K Dec 31, 2011 03:49 PM

                Taiwan being a colony of Japan for 50 years did enculturate to some extent the people of Taiwan and this aspect of sashimi you describe may be testimony to that. Much the same way you can get an excellent hand made crafted tatami mats from a local old mans.

                I did not know about the blue fin tuna. Interesting. I would agree with your analysis on Hokkien / Fuzhou NY. I have been to the morning and late afternoon markets regularly for food purchases, 菜市场, and have actually seen boxes of fish frozen from delivery flown in from as far as Washington State.

                I have been to many times to Budai harbor and fish market (布袋漁港; 布袋鱼肠). That place is amazing, with a deserted beach with schools of fish jumping across the water as you swim. Get there by looking for the row of trees along the upper beach, as you miander through the mile or more of fish ponds and oyster ponds from the main highway. Budai is located west of Tainan along the coast in Chayi County.

                The market of Budai is amazing and have had excellent tuna belly there:

                http://blog.udn.com/kocj/4456128

                I have had some of the best raw fish in Korea at what the Koreans call a Chamchi Bar, tuna bar. All parts of the tuna are served over a two or three hour period, with breaks between parts that include soups and small salads.

                The article below states "all you can eat", but the bar I used to go to was not of this catagory, for it was a serious tuna bar, serving the multi-course of selections of differing part of the tuna separately so you can appreciate the differing tastes in particular separated sessions.

                "Tuna restaurants have counter and table seating. Sitting at the bar will put you face to face with the chef. If you are in a group of two I suggest sitting at the bar to watch the swift strokes of the knife and the care taken in preparing the food." http://www.busanbites.com/%EC%B0%B8%E...

                1. re: K K
                  jonkyo RE: K K Dec 31, 2011 04:47 PM

                  I have to make a correction.

                  "have actually seen boxes of fish frozen from delivery flown in"

                  That is wrong, what I meant was fresh fish flown into nearby airport and sent to the market the same day. The boxes had delivery information and some came from West Coast America.

                  That is accurate. I meant to indicate refrigerated delivery by plane.

                  1. re: K K
                    Silverjay RE: K K Dec 31, 2011 10:00 PM

                    I've seen several expose documentaries in Japan on illegal poaching and "maguro laundering" by Taiwanese and Chinese companies. It's kind of ongoing issue here affecting priced occassionally.

                    1. re: Silverjay
                      K K RE: Silverjay Dec 31, 2011 10:52 PM

                      Given the crazy demand for bluefin in Taiwan (including a very particular part of the belly that would translate to "se-toro", "triangle oil" (三角油) as the most prized limited edition part

                      e.g. http://www.wretch.cc/blog/wolaramirez... (turn down the volume to avoid the lounge hop crap music

                      )

                      as well as demand by the noveau riche in China & Hong Kong, the laundering would not surprise me in the least. I have seen a TW cable show where the host went to this bluefin tuna themed specialist restaurant and their deep freeze storage had about a year's supply of the stuff (whole fish), I'm sure a million bucks worth right there.

                      Now if only Gordon Ramsay did an episode on that after the shark fin one in TW (which was quite well done).

          2. janethepain RE: jonkyo Dec 30, 2011 07:20 AM

            This is my neighborhood sushi spot, as I think the freshness and quality is much better than the godawful stuff in the EV and good for the price. For a normal weeknight dinner, I (unfortunately) don't have the $$$ to plunk down for serious sushi.

            That said, Umi is a good neighborhood/casual/bang for the buck spot. Not a place I'd ever bring serious" sushi connoisseurs, but a pretty good value.

            31 Replies
            1. re: janethepain
              jonkyo RE: janethepain Dec 30, 2011 10:53 AM

              It is disappointing when sashimi / sushi places do not have 纳豆 or notto prepared with raw egg (纳豆和生蛋).

              There are always limitations that come with any such proprietary manifestations, whether it be Japanese cuisine or any other for that matter, and thus stated it does not disqualify venues owned by people of non-origin but is one factor in what one will experience.

              I do prefer places like Umi Sushi over the Asia Fusion cuisine spots, and perhaps due to this feverish trend to popularize sushi I have been very dissappointed in other regions of the states with what passes for Japanese cuisine.

              1. re: jonkyo
                a
                AubWah RE: jonkyo Dec 30, 2011 12:26 PM

                I'm not a Sushi Snob, have never been to Japan, and really like a good spicy tuna roll, eel avocado roll, and 3 roll lunch specials. I will try this place on your recommendation

                1. re: jonkyo
                  Silverjay RE: jonkyo Dec 30, 2011 03:20 PM

                  It is actually natto. Notto sounds like a place name in Japanese. Anyway, usually only low end sushi places serve natto. It's a stomach stuffer item at the end of a (cheap) meal. This Umi restaurant actually sounds like it is a fushiony take on Japanese food. Also sounds ironic to comment on feverish trend of popularizing sushi and then trumpeting a Chinese run establishment. By most accounts, it is other Asian ethnicities that have jumped in and tried to capitalize on the popularity. This is why they offer so many rolls as it takes no real skill to make them but they can call it Japanese.

                  1. re: Silverjay
                    a
                    AubWah RE: Silverjay Dec 30, 2011 03:27 PM

                    spicy tuna rolls sure can taste good though. i dont care if its made by a former violent member of the fukk dragons

                    1. re: AubWah
                      Silverjay RE: AubWah Dec 30, 2011 03:30 PM

                      Yeah and anyway, they've got to rid of old tuna somehow, right?

                      1. re: Silverjay
                        a
                        AubWah RE: Silverjay Dec 30, 2011 03:43 PM

                        when a place is known for spicy tuna rolls, and makes most of their money from spicy tuna rolls, i don't think the tuna is "old". maybe to you its "old", but to me it tastes just fine

                        1. re: AubWah
                          Silverjay RE: AubWah Dec 30, 2011 03:48 PM

                          Aww. Don't be getting all sensitive on us now. We all have pet favorite indulgances.

                      2. re: AubWah
                        Polecat RE: AubWah Dec 30, 2011 03:58 PM

                        Just whatever became of those good old fukk dragons anyway?

                        1. re: Polecat
                          a
                          AubWah RE: Polecat Dec 30, 2011 04:06 PM

                          they are all on eldridge street

                      3. re: Silverjay
                        jonkyo RE: Silverjay Dec 30, 2011 06:16 PM

                        'notto' was a typo. The romanization is the way it sounds.

                        1. re: Silverjay
                          f
                          foodwhisperer RE: Silverjay Dec 30, 2011 06:21 PM

                          I didn't realize only low end Japanese restaurants had natto. I think I have had it in good places. Personally I don;t like the consistency, I call it "snotto". But high end places have something similar in that they are fermented. Such as tofio ( originally an okinawan strong fermented soybean dish) and watta ( fermented fish guts) or konowata is from sea cucumber,. or various shiokara ( awabi no shiokara is a common one, or ika no shiokara( , All good with sake, and have strong taste, All of these are fermented for several weeks usually. I once had fermented squid liver, it was black in color and very strong taste. Once you get into that stuff, you get addicted.
                          I do agree with the comments about tuna used for rolls. They have to do something with the left over tuna.

                          1. re: foodwhisperer
                            Silverjay RE: foodwhisperer Dec 30, 2011 06:40 PM

                            Low end sushi places, not regular restaurants. Natto is usually consumed at home though. I had fermented fugu ovaries in Kanazawa a couple years ago. Definitely not an addiction forming dish. But yeah, some of those stinky fermented things are quite tasty with sake or shochu.

                            1. re: Silverjay
                              jonkyo RE: Silverjay Dec 31, 2011 03:13 PM

                              I actually had natto at Kikuchi in London, perhaps one of the best Japanese restaurants in all the UK. The owner is from Japan, and is often behind the sushi bar himself doing up orders.

                              There is this Korean Restaurant on in this small alley way street, but have never been, as that would be pointless to have made the trip on the underground and forego a visit to Kikuchi.

                              Some nice spanish bar restaurant almost across the street for beer and live Spanish singer at a casio piano. Awesome delightful dancing as you digest your raw fish.

                              http://londoneater.com/wp-content/upl...

                              http://www.fluidnetwork.co.uk/gfx/ven...

                              http://www.london-eating.co.uk/4925.htm

                              quote: "Kikuchi Restaurant is one of the finest Japanese restaurants in London or anywhere else in the World including Japan"

                              "Hanway Street is the kind of place you go for a quiet nervous breakdown, to contract a notifiable disease or, as it turns out, for very good sushi.....You go to Kikuchi for spankingly good fish and sweet waitresses who know their spoken English is close to unintelligible and will do everything to make you feel at home. You also go for a bill which, while hardly small, feels reasonable. And if you are me, you go as an act of revenge on all the bad restaurants."

                              "I speak Japanese fluently and have had Japanese food all over the World including many years in Japan and I can say that people who want fine dining at an authentic Japanese Restaurant in London must go to Kikuchi Restaurant. "commet at http://www.london-eating.co.uk/4925.htm

                              Jay Rayner

                              The Observer, Saturday 17 January 2009 Article history Kikuchi

                              14 Hanway Street, London, W1

                              020 7637 7720

                              http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                              1. re: jonkyo
                                Silverjay RE: jonkyo Dec 31, 2011 06:10 PM

                                Just ate last Tuesday at Sushi Nakagawa in Takamatsu City- http://r.tabelog.com/kagawa/A3701/A37.... Sorry, no natto, Chinese staff, or English journalists. You're stuck with the real deal. 残念!

                                1. re: Silverjay
                                  jonkyo RE: Silverjay Dec 31, 2011 07:06 PM

                                  Looks great。Here is your natto roll, made in China:
                                  http://www.atxia.com/uploads/allimg/2...

                                  1. re: Silverjay
                                    jonkyo RE: Silverjay Dec 31, 2011 07:12 PM

                                    another natto roll:
                                    http://image.5yi.com/iease/public/pic...

                                    1. re: jonkyo
                                      Silverjay RE: jonkyo Jan 1, 2012 01:37 AM

                                      Having eaten my way throughout Japan, the premise of Japanese food in China and England does NOT appeal to me , nor I believe, the average intrepid traveling gourmand. Taiwan, I might give it a try. Korea, definitely.

                                      Get thyself to Japan or one of our city's fine Japanese restaurants that specializes rather than offer the airport food court encapsulization of the cuisine. You're a little behind the curve, although clearly enthusiastic, on the topic it seems.

                                      1. re: Silverjay
                                        u
                                        Uncle Yabai RE: Silverjay Jan 1, 2012 02:15 AM

                                        Just don't get Tonkatsu in Korea. It is abominable. That Tuna Bar idea sounds interesting though. I've eaten at the Seoul fish market and it was pretty good, in its own Korean way.

                                        1. re: Uncle Yabai
                                          Silverjay RE: Uncle Yabai Jan 1, 2012 07:21 AM

                                          Both my Chinese and Korean friends have told me bluntly- don't eat the Japanese food in their country.

                                          1. re: Silverjay
                                            a
                                            AdamD RE: Silverjay Jan 1, 2012 03:11 PM

                                            I have had Japanese food in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. Surprisingly, the food was very good. Not 100% "authentic" but satisfying after spending time inland and eating only Chinese dishes. Some of the Chinese teppanyaki places are pretty good. Although none are really comparable to a Japanese run establishment in NYC or Japan. And you can get a natto roll at many restaurants, they just dont serve it the way you might have it at a minshku-with mustard, mountain yam and negi-for breakfast.

                                          2. re: Uncle Yabai
                                            f
                                            foodwhisperer RE: Uncle Yabai Jan 7, 2012 08:38 PM

                                            Uncle Yabai, i like your screename

                                          3. re: Silverjay
                                            jonkyo RE: Silverjay Jan 1, 2012 07:19 PM

                                            Have had excellent dining experiences in way past, quintessentially Japanese or near, here in NYC two decades ago, before the flood of Sushi places and the watering down and fusion fads. That was dining with others I knew who were Japanese nationals and classmates.

                                            And I too were quite critical of those new rolls and funky names, in restaurants such as Samba Sushi. So, I totally appreciate and understand what you are talking about, and agree.

                                            I don't do natto rolls by the way, I just thought that photo was very applicable to this topic.

                                            Korea, I recommend, I have had something in the Chamchi Bar, tuna bar, but even since I hd my Chamchi (korean for tuna) experinece seems these places in Korea have become watered down and the theme popularized to become all you can eat raw tuna. Dissappointing.

                                            The experience I remember was one of sitting and being fed a multi-course meal at the bar, consisting of differing parts of the tuna, with small soups and salads between the sessions. Does not exist in Taiwan, England nor NYC, but find it in Korea. Your point is well taken, and has been applied by myself regarding other cuisines I have become familiar with in differing parts of the world.

                                            Here is one Tuna Bar in Korea: http://blog.naver.com/PostView.nhn?bl...

                                            1. re: jonkyo
                                              Silverjay RE: jonkyo Jan 1, 2012 10:02 PM

                                              There are tuna specialty restaurants in Japan that do "course" dining.

                                    2. re: Silverjay
                                      r
                                      RawTunaFan RE: Silverjay Jan 1, 2012 08:54 AM

                                      If I'm not mistaken, I believe I've had natto at Jewel Bakko. Not sure if that's considered low end.

                                    3. re: foodwhisperer
                                      jonkyo RE: foodwhisperer Dec 30, 2011 06:43 PM

                                      I rarely eat or order rolls unless someone I am dining with requests to share a roll.

                                      Sake actually enhances the flavors of much when eating at Japanese establishments.

                                      If natto is on hand, and they have egg, it is usually no problem for the kitchen to do it up as requested in places mostly Japanese or Taiwan staffed. They are familiar with the with it.

                                      1. re: jonkyo
                                        Silverjay RE: jonkyo Dec 30, 2011 06:49 PM

                                        I'm in Japan now and every morning my wife and in-laws mix up a gooey batch of natto, egg, negi, and mustard and top it on hot rice. I can't be in the same room. But anyway, for most Japanese natto is a morning food.

                                        1. re: Silverjay
                                          jonkyo RE: Silverjay Dec 30, 2011 06:57 PM

                                          I have snacked on it without rice any time of day, basically, in a soup of raw egg, and if on hand negi included. That practice has been done in Taiwan and the states.

                                          A nice snack, less filling than other snack items. I like to eat it in between sessions of orders of raw fish and sake when dining out.

                                          1. re: jonkyo
                                            Silverjay RE: jonkyo Dec 30, 2011 07:36 PM

                                            Can't stand the stuff myself. It's not really available at seafood restaurants here. That would be awkward in the context of Japanese dining.

                                            1. re: Silverjay
                                              u
                                              Uncle Yabai RE: Silverjay Dec 30, 2011 07:40 PM

                                              There is a ryotei in Akasaka called "Taihei" run by these two very proper kimono-clad ladies of a certain age. Extremely expensive and exclusive at night, but for lunch they have a cheap yakizakana teishoku that is outstanding. They always ask if you want natto as a topping for your rice. Their natto is pretty good, actually, and I eat it with gusto.

                                              1. re: Silverjay
                                                jonkyo RE: Silverjay Dec 31, 2011 03:16 PM

                                                Kind of like Cheerios at a New York Pizza shop I suppose.

                                            2. re: Silverjay
                                              E Eto RE: Silverjay Dec 30, 2011 08:33 PM

                                              The natto breakfast thing is more associated with Kanto and northern Japan. Most people in western Japan probably don't have natto as frequently and that stat goes even lower in the Kansai area. Come to think of it, I don't really see natto on menus here in Hiroshima. Maybe ika-natto at an izakaya, but that's about it.

                                  2. b
                                    Bkeats RE: jonkyo Jan 3, 2012 11:41 AM

                                    As I read this thread, I was reminded of a conversation with one of my neighbors a while back. I ran into him and his wife as they were coming back from dinner. Their son had married a Japanese woman and they had three beautiful mixed race grand-children. They had spent a decent amount of time in Japan and had come to know Japanese home cooking quite well through the daughter in law. The Dr & Mrs were walking back home from a then brand new Japanese restaurant that had opened in the neighbourhood. Doc stops to tell me of the wonderful dinner they had just had. He ends his review by saying that the restaurant was owned and operated by Japanese. “A Japanese restaurant run by Japanese people. Imaging that.” He says to me as his simple observation of how rare that seems to be in NYC.

                                    12 Replies
                                    1. re: Bkeats
                                      jonkyo RE: Bkeats Jan 3, 2012 01:16 PM

                                      It is true due to the explosion of popularity of Japanese food or more correctly, sushi that took place in the 1990s.

                                      I had some really great sashimi at a Korean owned Japanese restaurant, and it became appearent to me that it was not staffed by Japanese when the cook in front of me was not aware of the Japanese beverage Ichiko (http://www.iichiko.co.jp/en/faq/faq.html).

                                      With the flood of Japanese restuarants in more then the past decade, of course as with anything, the quality becomes watered down or the standards become different, because it no long a specialized arena of food done exclusively by one people. I think the same has happened with bagals.

                                      That is not to say that you can't get a real satisfying dinner at these other than Japan owned sushi places. One on Montague in Brooklyn was superb when years ago I would eat there. Umi Sushi is a good place too.

                                      Just found this: http://dyske.com/paper/786 but I do not know how accurate this statement is, have not read it yet.

                                      1. re: jonkyo
                                        b
                                        Bkeats RE: jonkyo Jan 9, 2012 11:59 AM

                                        Superb sushi on Montague? Which one? I've pretty much eaten at every japanese place on Montague going back many years and at best, I would say they were edible. The sole exception in BK Hts was Tanpopo which closed down many years ago. The owner was a lovely Japanese women. I don't have a problem with non-japanese running japanese restaurants. It just that almost all of them are mediocre. They all have the same menu of gyoxa/shumai/tempura/teriyaki/udon/sushi/sashimi/crazy rolls. Its no different phenomenon than the same menu that appears at chi-american restos all over the country. You can walk into the typical spot and order without even looking at the menu. Japanese food is so much more than that and if you haven't been nore broadly exposed to it and only know the cuisine from standard cookbook recipes, the food will not be exciting. Passable is the best I hope for.

                                        1. re: Bkeats
                                          jonkyo RE: Bkeats Jan 9, 2012 03:53 PM

                                          this one: http://s3-media1.ak.yelpcdn.com/bphot...

                                          Been there long time, think it was the first one there, during seminal sushi wave of the mid 1990s.

                                          Since erly 2000s been hitting Manhattan, especially one of the first Monster Sushi on Hudson way back then.

                                      2. re: Bkeats
                                        jonkyo RE: Bkeats Jan 3, 2012 01:47 PM

                                        "I’m Vietnamese and I can also definitely tell if it’s a Chinese or Japanese owned restaurant. But you forgot the most important clue. The prepareres usually speak to each other in Japanese or Chinese. I think Chinese/Korean people are only following the American Business model. Today it’s Japanese, tomorrow It’s Indian (very Hot right now). But you have to give all us true gourmets credit that we can spot them and you know what? I still eat at taco bell even though it ain’t Mexican.

                                        I should also delved more into “are the Chinese trying to pose as Japanese?” question. Because I don’t think they are. As I wrote before they have opened a lot of Mexican takeout/restaurants and they clearly are not trying to pose as Mexicans. It’s just that Japanese food is in vogue and it’s simple supply and demand." counterpoint from the article: How to Tell a Real Japanese Restaurant

                                        by Dyske Suematsu

                                        http://dyske.com/paper/786

                                        "I really love your website but I don’t agree with your whole “Chinese people love red and most of THEM are cheap and exploitative and “the printing characteristics can tell you who is culturally behind It”. The tone of your piece sounds like “Chinese/Korean people are tacky and vulgar” and “Japanese have style and wouldn’t be so crass” and that’s why I take umbrage.“

                                        1. re: jonkyo
                                          Cheeryvisage RE: jonkyo Jan 3, 2012 01:56 PM

                                          Hm... this reminds me, I was once at a fairly well-regarded sushi restaurant in the city. A diner near me sheepishly told the waitress that the sushi prices were a lot more expensive than what he expected. The waitress answered, "Oh! But we're not a Chinese or Korean-run sushi restaurant!" The waitress is a very nice lady, but her response still made me :/

                                          1. re: Cheeryvisage
                                            jonkyo RE: Cheeryvisage Jan 3, 2012 02:10 PM

                                            Sushi and sashimi at places like Wegman's, Safeway and other large super/mega marts.

                                            They do that in Japan too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87PZ4f...

                                            In Korea there are cheap sushi places, but then there are really good ones.

                                            Thus said, are there any Jewish delis or restaurants owned by Gentiles?

                                            How about halah food markets owned by pork eatering Christians?

                                            Generally speaking, there are some things in the food world that just don't make sense, but seems sushi, invented by one guy in Japan has made its way to become a popularized food.

                                            Advantages of going to a Japanese owned sushi and sashimi place is certain, just as Mexican owned mexican restaurants are perhaps better than Chipole. I used to go to this really good Mexican place, that had stomach and tongue meat as choices for filling top the tocos. An older woman, the owner, was always cooking in the kitchen. No frills and some of the bes Mex I had, catering mostly to Mexican customers.

                                            1. re: jonkyo
                                              f
                                              foodwhisperer RE: jonkyo Jan 7, 2012 08:42 PM

                                              The sushi/kaiseki chef from Bouley Upstairs ( Mikami-San)who used to be executive chef at Hatsuhana, Now is in charge of all the sushi Wegman's Supermarkets offers.

                                              1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                jonkyo RE: foodwhisperer Jan 8, 2012 04:55 PM

                                                I imagine the market demands talent these days, depending on location.

                                                Is that the entire chain of Wegman's?

                                                1. re: jonkyo
                                                  f
                                                  foodwhisperer RE: jonkyo Jan 8, 2012 05:13 PM

                                                  yes the entire chain, headquartered in Rochester,NY

                                                  1. re: foodwhisperer
                                                    jonkyo RE: foodwhisperer Jan 8, 2012 05:20 PM

                                                    Here is a PDF of there entire menu.

                                                    http://www.wegmans.com/pdf/menus/sush...

                                                    They have put some money into marketing too:
                                                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtTyzW...

                                              2. re: jonkyo
                                                missmasala RE: jonkyo Jan 9, 2012 04:52 PM

                                                David's Brisket House in Brooklyn is now owned and operated by Muslims, I believe. And it's very good. Not saying that the generalizations you're making aren't often true, but here in the US of A you just can't make any assumptions.

                                                1. re: missmasala
                                                  jonkyo RE: missmasala Jan 9, 2012 05:21 PM

                                                  I will go there at the end of Ramadan, this year, thanks.

                                        2. Monica RE: jonkyo Jan 3, 2012 01:31 PM

                                          I was born and raised in Busan, Korea which has the biggest fish market in Korea. My family also lived close to the ocean so I grew up eating ultra fresh seafood. We'd go to the seafood market and pick the fishes(usually anago-sea eel) we want which are still alive and super fresh from that morning. The ladies there would kill them right then and skin the fish. They cut it very thinnly and they dry the fish as much as possible to take out all the liquid. They'd serve it with spicy red pepper sauce and to this date, I salivate thinking about it. Whenever I visit Korea, that's the first place I go. I'd also get live octopus and other delicacies you don't normally see here. Seriously, it's so so good...
                                          Of course, we were talking about sushi which is a whole different animal in my opinion, I'd start with a good japanese restaurant owned by Japanese.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Monica
                                            jonkyo RE: Monica Jan 3, 2012 01:41 PM

                                            Korea is my favored place for squid, ojingo. On the streets of Seoul they cook it up, and do not smear aweful barabcue sauce on it like they do in China. A long stick with one big piece of whole squid fresh before grilled, is so good, with a beer sitting at a table outside of 7/11.

                                            The tents at night in Seoul and some other placesafter the bars close are great places to get some tasty sea derived food. Pojangmacha I think they are called: http://www.flickr.com/photos/poketo/4...

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