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Jun 13, 2012 10:25 PM

New Blue Ribbon Izakaya and Sushi

The space is quite nice, located on second floor of the Thompson LES hotel.
I was never a fan of the old Blue Ribbon sushi, but I think they upped their quality of sushi.
The sushi and sashimi are excellently prepared. All 4 sushi chefs, are Japanese, and seem very smiled. They are friendly and have a good assortment of fish. Of particular note, was the Kindai chu toro, which melted in your mouth and was delicious. The Aji was amazing, expertly cut into small pieces that were laid along side the head and skeleton. The bones and head were later fried and were delicious. The omakase is only $75, a bargain I think. I will try that next time.
The hamachi tataki tartare with a quail egg on top was quite good. The little dish of jelly fish I had went well with my sake.
Now, on to the cooked things.
The Kushi Yaki Skewers were great. The Mountain yam with Macadamia Nuts tasted great with a little spiciness to it. The sea scallop in miso butter skewer was fantastic.
The bone marrow with sea salt, shaved bonito and teriyaki sauce was quite good.
The Beef Tongue with black truffle, shitake and teriyaki was amazing. It had the feel of filet mignon. It was tender and just so good. That is the best beef tongue I have had in a Japanese restaurant. Far better than the beef tongue that Kyo Ya served.
The Sweetbread Tempura was done very well. I chose to eat it with sea salt instead of the ponzu they offered.
There are several different rice dishes to choose from. I chose the squid ink rice with squid strips in it and served with uni on top. This was a very tasty dish, prepared well. I was in the mood for squid ink rice, after talking about Venice food on another post.
I had no room for dessert.
The waiters and waitresses were very knowledgable of all the dishes. They gave service with a smile.
My only complaint was there was a big delay after the first course and then many dishes came at the same time. The restaurant was busy and I am sure that the way the food was served isn't the usual.
I will surely be back there, as there are so many dishes I didn't get a chance to try. I was really happy about the sushi being top notch. I attached some pictures. I rushed the shots , so I hope they are appetizing, I ate a couple of dishes before I remembered to photograph them . I was so hungry.

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  1. Thanks for the exciting review. I believe beef tongue was one of the courses in the incredible kaiseki meal my girlfriend and I had at Kyo Ya a few years ago, so if this place is on a higher level, it has to be incredible.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Pan

      The beef tongue was on a higher level than Kyo Ya, but Kyo Ya is better overall. Kyo Ya kaiseki is more traditional kaiseki and more "Japanese". However,Blue Ribbon doesn't claim to be Japanese Kaiseki, so it is just a good place to eat some well prepared, interesting dishes. Also, Kyo Ya would never bring so many dishes at once, the food is perfectly times at Kyo Ya. Blue Ribbon seemed to have a problem with timing.
      Another issue I had, was the sake wood boxes were brand new. They had a strong aroma of freshly made and treated wood. It took away from the taste of the sake. I have never experienced that before , so i'm not sure how to fix that problem.

    2. That looks like a very good meal to me. I wouldn't mind having that squid ink / uni dish.

      What's their stronger suit: the sushi or izakaya offerings?

      1 Reply
      1. re: michelleats

        I think they are strong all around. Next time I go, I will try the sushi omakase. Based on the aji I had, and watching the sushi chefs, I think they will do a good job with omakase. The tongue was amazing, the squid ink was too. The skewers were too. So all around good. I have to try the desserts too. They need to do something about the smelly brand new sake boxes though.

      2. Not sure how folks feel about the NY Daily News. But Stan Sagner reviewed it a few days ago, as well:

        1. I was just there and I asked about the omakase, but it is only sushi/sashimi, and I wanted to try the new stuff so I didn't get it.

          I really loved the skewers- especially the scallops. Everything was pretty solid- I got a lot of my favorites from the old sushi menu plus tried a few new things.

          Another standout dish was the bone marrow fried rice.

          The only disappointing thing was the chicken wings, which I had heard really good reviews of, but when we got them the texture on the outside was a little chalky. I was ok with it, but some people in my party really didn't like them.

          The only other thing is when I went, at 7pm on a Thursday, the place was really empty. I was a little surprised, given how new the place is.

          1 Reply
          1. re: InfoMofo

            I too, loved the scallop skewers and the bone marrow. I do want to try the omakase, because the sashimi I did try was very good. Did you enjoy your sashimi? the sushi chefs seemed to know what they were doing and the fish quality seemed top notch. I hope they get some good reviews from NY times or NY magazine, just to keep the business healthy. I 'd hate to lose a good restaurant. The good news, is we can get in now without a problem.

          2. I've been here a number of times now (it's right around the corner from where I work). The aji two ways is really incredible: horse mackerel sashimi is one of my favorite things, and it is certainly great here, but more, I love that they take away the raw head/spine/tail, to return a couple of minutes later with the entire thing deep fried to a delicious crisp. I asked the waiter which parts of it were good to eat, and he was kinda cagey in his answer, so I just dug in. Turns out *every* last bit of it is good eatin', including the entire head and tail. Johnny, the night manager, told me that the chef had tried to do this with a bunch of different fish, and aji was the only one it worked with.

            The spicy cucumber is excellent: cooling and firey at once. Also wonderful are the hearts of palm, rich and full of umami goodness.

            Tried the ribeye, which was very good, but had a lot of inedible fat on it; it comes with onion tempura, and who could argue with that?

            The real star for me is their NY strip: I've never had it so meltingly tender, perfectly seasoned with just enough salt. I crave it too often for my wallet's well-being.

            Blue Ribbon, Mission Chinese; we're getting some really excellent restaurant within a block of my job, and it makes me very happy!

            ETA: I had a few of the skewers as well, the standout for me being the beef tenderloin; the short rib skewer was too chewy. Another great app is the baked clams with miso butter: as a kid I used to love getting baked clams in our local diner; these took me back to that, with the advantage of being much, much better.