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Mar 22, 2012 02:37 AM

Shimizu or Kanoyama - 50 to 80USD per person possible?


I'll be in new york for a few days in July with a friend, was looking around for sushi/sashimi places. Read that shimizu is affordable for omakase. Checked their website and it says sushi platter chef's choice is 45/pax and upwards. Sashimi platter chef's choice is 50/pax and upwards. Also saw a review (on yelp) saying they went omakase platter and it was 60USD per person.

That looks comfortable to me but then happened to see a few mentions on chow comparing it to yasuda and seems those are 150 to 200USD? Confused. Is it because some people order a lot of extras?

Me and my friend are gals and we like fresh sushi/sashimi but not fancy. I eat in Singapore regularly at places were lots of Japanese people would eat (regularly and not special occasion - I think they're considered mid priced) but not the top end. I would think we could be comfortable with 10 to 15 pieces. If we like it, we would go back. Is that possible at about 70USD or less per head?

I assume that doesn't include tax.

For either shimizu or kanoyama, how do you find the ala carte? Both have chirashi bowl options. Kanoyama has some very affordable sashimi or sushi seasonal ala carte options that are around 39 to 50USD I believe. Do you think it's better/safer to do that and just skip the omakase?

Appreciate your input.

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  1. For Shimizu, it's possible to eat at $70 per person. Just tell the chef that your maximum is $70. Sit in front of Shimizu-san on the window-side if you like eating in front of a calm, serene chef, sit in front of the other chef if prefer your chef to be (extremely) outgoing and sociable.

    But to be honest, I actually like Sushiden's sushi better (I've encountered mushy fish at Shimizu and the chef's knife cuts can be sloppy, though their pieces are slightly bigger and more filling). The Sushiden branch I go to is the 6th Avenue one (only a few blocks away from Shimizu) and at around the same price point. I normally don't do omakase at these mid-priced sushi places, but Lau has written a review on Sushiden's omakase here:

    I go to Sushiden twice a month and mostly order their $35 Kiri sushi platter (photos: ). Their $36 chirashi is great and an incredible value as well (photos: ).

    I have not been to Kanoyama.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Cheeryvisage

      Thanks cheeryvisage, I will look up more about sushiden, it sounds good. Do you think it's not worth to go omakase and I should just skip that idea and order their mixed ala carte sushi or sashimi platters/ chirashi (I love chirashi anyway). And add whatever ala carte sushi we really like.

      Also if 15 East is so popular, how would chirashi/mixed sushi or sashimi platters and general ala carte compare between 15 east, sushiden or kanoyama?

      1. re: quarian

        Maybe it's a personal value thing, I prefer doing omakase at the best sushi places like 15 East. My theory is, if you're going to go for omakase, might as well go all the way at the best restaurants.

        A la carte is more expensive than the sets if you do the math. So, I'd order one of their top-range sets (the selection for the $35 Kiri is pretty decent) and get a few more additional pieces if necessary. If you get their $36 chirashi, it's quite filling and will probably satisfy you if you have an average appetite.

        Note: The prices of certain items on Sushiden's online menu are no longer up-to-date. For example, the Kiri is now $35.

        1. re: Cheeryvisage

          Thanks! I must say that pic of the chirashi you shared on flickr looks really good and huge portion compared to chirashi I eat here. Definitely saving that for my list :). Any idea how their grilled unagi is as my friend loves that.

          1. re: quarian

            I enjoy their unagi. Though I like unagi with less sauce in general so I ask them to brush less sauce on them if I get the una-ju. The amount of sauce they apply on their unagi nigiri is perfect in my opinion.

            ETA: Just noticed you asked about grilled unagi. I'm not sure. I have not gotten it before.

          2. re: Cheeryvisage

            Note that at some (probably most) of the top end places, omakase (chef's choice, not necessarily a prix fixe set) is priced a la carte. Those that come to mind include Kurumazushi, Yasuda, Kanoyama.

            I think if you do the Matsu set from Yasuda and add a couple of special pieces you could eat very happily (most people anyway, I'm too much of a glutton) for your price range.

      2. I prefer Kanoyama of the two, personally, but with the caveat that Kanoyama's better if you're willing to go closer to the $70 range than the $50. You could do a regular set and "accent" it with a few pieces from their seasonal specials, which tend to go for a bit more than normal a la carte. You could get a Sashimi Deluxe ($30 - 3 pieces each of 6 fish) or the prix fixe Omakase set ($40) which would probably include some of the more esoteric fish to make it a little more fun - right now they've got Hotaru Ika (baby firefly squid), Hokkaido Uni, some incredible Big Eye Toro, a couple of great wild snappers, giant octopus, etc, though no way to know beforehand what'll be in the OMK. My usual order is to go with a basic set and then add a few alc pieces that grab my attention. You could easily get a regular set of 10 - 15, then fit in two or three extras to make the journey a little more exotic on your budget.

        All that said, it depends a lot on if your price is supposed to be all-inclusive - drinks, tax/tip, miso soup to start, etc. $50 before = about $38, subtract a glass of sake you're down to $30 menu price, minus a bowl of soup $25....

        1. >> I assume that doesn't include tax.

          That's right. None of the prices include the 8.875% tax or the tip (usually 20% on the pre-tax amount).

          5 Replies
          1. re: Cheeryvisage

            Thanks both of you, I didn't know how much the tax was and I hadn't included tip. Thanks for the info also that tip is usually 20% on pre-tax amount! Is it usual to just write total (inclusive of tip) on the bottom of the credit card slip before signing or is it only cash?

            1. re: quarian

              When you receive the bill, it will have the meal price, tax, and total cost. When you pay by credit card, the server will scan your card then return with a credit card slip. On the slip, it'll have the total cost, blank line for tip, and blank line for the final all-inclusive cost. You write-in whatever tip you want to pay, add it to the total cost, then write down the final all-inclusive cost. The restaurant will charge your card using the final cost you wrote in.

              The tax and tip increases your final meal cost by a very significant amount (nearly 30%). So, it's good to be aware of it when planning your budget! :)

              1. re: Cheeryvisage

                This is why I love eating in Europe and in Asia...i don't have to worry about doing math after a nice meal...who wants to...and i do math for living..O_O

                1. re: Monica

                  Haha, thanks ladies. It's true though, here it's 10% standard and totaled up for you. Almost all places have it. Just wondering, if I was in the hotel and ordered up a glass of wine to my room, how do you reckon the tip then? Is it still based on the price of the wine? Or let's say it was just an extra towel? Or a full meal?

                  1. re: quarian

                    Here's a USA Today article on hotel tipping:

                    Note while the article gives a range (15% to 20% for certain tips), in New York City, 20% is more of the standard.

          2. Here's what I would do: Go to Kanoyama and get the sashimi platter for two. I believe it's $62, and you get a very nice amount of quality fish. From there you get each get one piece of anago, $9 each (the anago is great, and it's an exceptionally large piece), one piece of kinmedai, $12 each, and one piece of Big Eye toro, $11 each. You're out of there for $63 a person, and your happy. You're going to have had a great amount of variety, and some really high end fish to top it off.

            5 Replies
            1. re: tongue_to_tail

              Thanks, i think this is the way to go. Get a sushi or sashimi platter and add as we go along. I'm not sure yet whether sushiden, shimizu or kanoyama but I gather this strategy is possible at any. I'm actually only going in July.. also I have no idea where all these places are so I have to see where they are in relation to my hotel. Also, it's possible my friend may not want a full sushi/sashimi meal. For eg she likes grilled unagi. She is pescatarian though. I appreciate an agedashi tofu or chawanmushi starter sometimes.

              1. re: quarian

                Hey - I'm glad you found my useful. Just one note for your thoughts: I work a block away from Sushiden and go there for lunch with a similar amount of frequency as Cheeryvisage does. I do not believe you will be nearly as satisfied with the food there as you will be at Kanoyama. I simply do not believe the quality of the fish is as high, and if both of them were a block from my office I would go to Kanoyama every time. That is not to denigrate the fish at Sushiden. I've enjoyed every meal I've had there, and will continue to patronize them for lunch. Yet, if you are to choose between these two (and I apologize for not being able to speak to Shimizu), your choice, barring that influenced by inconvenience, must be Kanoyama.

                1. re: tongue_to_tail

                  Everyone is just so passionate about food, love it. I've been reading through lots of threads as well (hence the confusion ;) everyone seems to have their own favourites but as I'm not shelling out top dollar, I think I should be ok since I'm not expecting top-end. Just want fresh, good value, less important if it's not groundbreaking.).

                  I wanted to ask about kanoyama's daily specials menu, at the bottom it says (sushi/sashimi) and then lists things for eg. like hotate $7. Does this mean you select sushi or sashimi when ordering, and they give you 1 pc? I'm not a huge eater but if I like the place, even over a few days, I could totally eat japanese more than once.

                  Also, wondering if I'm doing this ala carte mixed platter style and supplement with a few extra pieces depending on how much more stomach space I have, does this mean I ask for a table seating and it's bad form to ask for bar seating? Alternatively, if a restaurant has no space left except at the bar, am I then expected to order big/expensive and go omakase?

                  I gather different restaurants have different attitudes so I guess if need be, my queries are more about these mid-priced experiences and the names mentioned so far (sushiden, shimizu, kanoyama..).

                  1. re: quarian

                    Same menu at the bar or table at Kanoyama. That said, they can get VERY busy during dinner hours, so it's good to have a rezzie.

                    1. re: quarian

                      They have two bars, one in the newer room is for reserved customers doing omakase only . The other bar in the main dining room is for the entire menu.

              2. I cannot comment on shimizu but agree that it is possible, but only with some strategy, at kanoyama (which i really like and go to pretty often when im getting sushi). Kanoyama is affordable for "regular" stuff but the specials, as others have noted, are pretty steep (at least by my budget). tongue-to-tail outlines my usual strategy for getting out of kanoyama without breaking the bank: one of the set platters supplemented with a couple of special pieces (i've also liked some of the special appetizers - i think their ankimo is stellar, the friend ice fish with matcha salt is really good, and, as t-t-t- notes, the anago is awesome and a HUGE piece, which takes some of the hurt out of the idea of paying 10 bucks for a bite of food, it really is more like 3/4 bites).

                To expand your question slightly, I couldnt help but think about aburiya kinnosuke when i read your question. Any discussion of affordable japanese food brings it to mind, but especially when you talk about places japanese folks go, unpretentious, not really celebratory food. Its not quite the steal for lunch as it is for dinner, its not sushi focused (but there is some pretty good sashimi) but id definitely take a look at the menu and read up on the awesome limited-quantity lunch specials they offer.

                1 Reply
                1. re: tex.s.toast

                  Thanks tex! As you can see in my reply to above, I've come around and think your suggested strategy will work best for me. Mixed platter and add pieces as they catch my eye if I have room. Not a huge eater.

                  I have looked up aburiya kinnosuke but it sounds more like yakitori mainly. While I do enjoy that I think I'm more interested in sushi/sashimi in new york. Also my friend is mostly vegetarian unless it's sustainable seafood, sushi and sashimi being a rare exception she makes. Not even sure where I'm staying yet, but I'm just pretty excited to go back to NY after..8 or 9 years so figure I can psyche myself up by planning ahead. It is after all..4 months away (only!! lol) I probably try to find a decent Italian restaurant as well.