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Sushi Bar Yasuda

Someone on another board mentioned that Sushi Bar Yasuda has just opened in Minami-Aoyama in Tokyo. Naomichi Yasuda is still a partner in Sushi Yasuda in NYC, but he wanted to open a little sushi bar in Tokyo, and now he has!

I checked out the website http://www.sushibaryasuda.com/ and have made a reservation for one in February. The prices are roughly the same as a set at Daiwa or Sushi Dai, for example, and I imagine one could have a very nice omakase here.

Has anyone been yet, or is anyone planning to go? I can't imagine anyone outside of NYC knows much about Yasuda, but from all that I've heard, Sushi Bar Yasuda will likely be one of those good mid-priced options for sushi.

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  1. I went to Sushi Bar Yasuda tonight. I'd go back. I had 14 pieces for less than Y7000. I can't remember everything I had, but I do remember

    iwashi
    kohada
    saba (twice--one lightly seared, one completely raw)
    ika
    uni
    ikura
    shrimp roe (it was aquamarine in colour!)
    anago
    unagi
    miragai
    shrimp (maybe tiger shrimp?)
    hotaru ika

    The pieces are smaller than what most sushi places make, but it was perfect for me because I can't eat that much regular-sized sushi. When I arrived, Yasuda-san and I talked about my likes and dislikes (re: sushi), and I gave him an idea of how many pieces I could probably eat, and he took it from there.

    Yasuda-san is great to talk with, and he's very interested in sharing information about the ingredients and also about himself. He was in NYC for 27 (or 28?) years and was the co-owner/chef of Yasuda for the last 12. Being back in Japan has been quite a change for him, but a good one, I think.

    If you're looking for well-prepared, reasonably-priced sushi, I'd recommend Sushi Bar Yasuda. It's near Gaienmae Station (about a 10-minute walk unless you're like me and you get lost. Then it becomes a 30-minute walk) and despite my problems with directions, it's quite easy to find from the station (part of my problem was that I was walking on the wrong side of the street, and after I missed the first crosswalk, the next one was well-beyond the restaurant). At this time, you must make a reservation, and they're only open in the evenings. They haven't done any advertising (they just opened a couple of months ago), so it's rather slow for them (only two or three reservations a night). That also means it's easy to get a reservation.

    I have pictures and will link to them eventually.

    4 Replies
    1. re: prasantrin

      That is a 10 minute walk from where I used to live. Nazukashii!

      1. re: Uncle Yabai

        Hmm, I didn't realize there were many foreigners in Aoyama Cemetary. How many mats was your crypt?

        1. re: Silverjay

          What do you mean? There is a nice "foreigners section", which at one point was going to be removed to make room for more locals, but in the ensuing kerfuffle Governor Ishihara backtracked and instead of wiping it out had it cleaned up and restored, together with a nice conmemorative plaque. Very nice and quiet there, except during hanami season. The food stands, however, aren't that great, not even the takoyaki guy at the main crossing.

          1. re: Uncle Yabai

            At 9800yens for 24 pieces, sushi bar Yasuda is not a sushi that will be on the 'top good sushi' or 'top ranked' on a guide, it falls more in the category of : enjoy 70% for the chef chat and only 30% sushi !!
            In my opinion, given the price list, for younger generation that won't spend, it can work.. but the flavor is far, some pieces where too salty(salt+tare), some were dubious(fish after taste), some where a bit too western(Alaska salmon roe=too strong!)... Still, there were some good pieces, such as squid with salt lemon that give some sweetness, or toro that was ok..

    2. How was your meal? We have been going to Sushi Yasuda in NYC for more than 10 years. Since Yasuda san left it has gotten SOOOO much better. The new head chef Mitsuru is much more talented--not to mention much more pleasant than Yasuda. I am so anxious to hear about your experience!

      16 Replies
      1. re: kaijuqueen

        Actually it is a story of what can really go wrong with a restaurant ! The concept is wrong, the choice of neta(fish) is wrong, and the nikiri(sauce) with additional salt is very wrong.. 
        There are more sushi-yasan in Azabu-Aoyama than in Ginza, it seems a trend to have small counter (appartments) without restaurant sign - Yasuda-san does he know this trend ? In fact, I went alone, you have to book to eat there, and i had a pleasant chat with him, ... 
        I didn't really understand his concept, so i told him that this kind of menu would be great for an open sushi for early 20-30's.. then the 'tea' stop felling.. 
        Yasuda-san will have to begin to work with the fishing market in a differently way than now. He told me he chose not to have always the same broker and won't to have a preference. But here in Japan, it is different, fisherman-brokers eat at the sushi-yasan they sell to, working in close relationship have its importance. But Yasuda-san did enjoy  new sea food... I hope he will have a strong heart to experiment new things going on here..      

        1. re: Ninisix

          Yasuda-san is now playing in the big leagues, and he's falling short. In the NY board, he's considered some kind of demi-god, but he's pretty pedestrian by the standards of the home base Tokyo. Oh well.

          1. re: Uncle Yabai

            15 East is also glorified in NY and I don't think that guy is all THAT great either. But for price/quality, both shops are adequate. As it is, Tokyo pedestrian is New York superlative for a lot of things.

            1. re: Silverjay

              I couldn't be happier that yasuda is now a small fish in a big pond. he could not be a nastier more misogynistic man...even in Ny the quality of his preparation went down, he got lazy and arrogant. I cannot tell you enough how much we enjoy the restaurant without him. Mitsuru is fantastic.
              SO much of the sushi in NY is over rated.
              But I am also a big fan of Hideo at Ushi Wakamaru...

              1. re: kaijuqueen

                Ushi Wakamaru should be about half the price for what they serve...To be honest, I can hardly bring myself to eat at any of the Japanese restaurants in New York. The price/quality ratio sucks.

                1. re: kaijuqueen

                  Yasuda is a nice guy and had many regulars in nyc who enjoyed chatting with him, eating his sushi, and the fact that he kept very high standards over a long period of time, despite many pressures from his partners, the department of health, etc. Since he left, the counter service in nyc has remained more or less the same (I had one excellent meal by nyc standards with his successor, one okay, one not that great) but sushi offered for table service has become embarrassingly bad.

                  I agree at his current prices and quality he's running no more than a little neighborhood place in Tokyo, and as Ninisix mentions his style is very different from what is common there now, but he might have other motivations in moving back to Tokyo than becoming a top-tier sushi chef there... I don't know this for a fact but if I read the Japanese pension law correctly then I can guess what they are.

                  1. re: kaijuqueen

                    i dont think the quality at Sushi Yasuda in NY has changed one bit one way or the other since he left. I've eaten there probably 5-6 times since he left and it's tasted exactly the same (in fact I just ate there twice in the last month).

                    I do like Mitsuru and usually sit in front of him, he's way more low key than Yasuda and he's a nice guy.

                    Not to shoot you down, but as far as Ushi Wakamaru goes, they more times I've gone the less I really understand the hype around that place. It seems to have a reputation for being good price to value and it is true that it is a bit cheaper, but I find the quality to be materially lower than other top places in the city. Not that its bad by any means, but just not as good.

                    1. re: Lau

                      Not shooting me down at all--in fact I agree that ushi is inferior to yasuda. But have you reaerved a seat in front of Hideo-San? Also it helps to buy him a large mug of Kirin :)

                      1. re: kaijuqueen

                        I have although only once a while ago, so I honestly don't remember specifically how that exact meal was.

                        I've probably been there 4-5 times in total over a long period of time (I've got a friend who likes it and drags me along every once in a while). I could give it another go and specifically sit in front of him

                        1. re: Lau

                          give it a try :) but sit in front of him for sure--and definitely send him a big beer! we are heading to tokyo for our eating extravaganza in a few days--so hopefully i will have a lot to report. Any last minute advice or recommendations? we are still looking for more soba recommendations??

                          1. re: kaijuqueen

                            For soba and tempura, you have soba Kyorakutei in Iidabashi(one Michelin star), or soba Narutomi between Ginza and Tsukiji that was recommended by one of our fellow Chow's RobbS.. and if you want just a bite, you can stop by at the Japanese eat standing Ginza Shimada, it is worth it for a drink, soba topped with karasumi(dried mullet roe), and roast bamboo shoots..

                            1. re: Ninisix

                              Thank you so much! this is fabulous! we are super excited....can't wait to report back to you all!

                              1. re: kaijuqueen

                                where are you staying? i was just in Tokyo (food is unbelievable), I can give you some recs of places i liked alot

                                1. re: Lau

                                  We are staying in ginza but we are planning to be everywhere....it's a hardcore eating, drinking, shopping trip :)

                                  1. re: kaijuqueen

                                    ok i stayed in shinjuku last time, so ate more that way although i ate all over the city. ill write something when i get back to my apt later

                                    silverjay is the man in tokyo btw (we ate a bunch together there)

                                    1. re: Lau

                                      Sounds great :) thanks so much! We are so excited. This is a big bday trip for me so we plan to make it over the top. We have a whole bunch of amazing sushi meals booked... But we would love any recommendations, reviews or guidance that you have!