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Jun 20, 2012 10:01 PM

Zagat's top 12 sushi restaurants in NYC 2012

What is this guy smoking'???? He put Sasabune as #1. The sushi chef, who likes to be seen as the sushi Nazi,, uses overly warm rice. He claims it brings out the flavor of the fish. It is a sin to serve sushi like that. The rice falls apart in your hand. He says, his sushi is meant to eat with chopsticks. Give me a break! 15 East , which I think is the best sushi in NYC, didn't make the list. But Tomoe made the list at #12. Here's the link

your comments are welcome

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  1. I agree that 15 East is the best sushi in New York. Better than Yasuda or Kuruma (which I think is way, way overrated). Sushi Den also serves decent Edomae sushi. Soto, which is better known for its uni dishes, actually has pretty good sushi in my opinion, except its neta lacks variety.

    10 Replies
    1. re: kosmose7

      I like Sushi Den also. At Soto, I like the small plates better than his sushi.
      Here's Zagat's list ( with my comment), for those that don't like clicking links :
      #1- Sasbune ( uses very warm rice)
      2-Soto ( for me the small dishes better than sushi )
      3-Yasuda ( good for eel)
      4-Donguri- ( i never tried)
      5-Sushi Sen-nin ( never heard of it)
      6-Sushi Gari ( good for modern style)
      7-Masa ( never been able to get in)
      8-Sugiyama ( kaiseki not known for sushi)
      9-Sushi Seki ( sushi gari modern twin)
      10-Jewel Bako ( great service, good sushi)
      11-Nobu ( credit for the invention of jalapeƱo yellowtail)
      12-Tomoe ( i guess some think bigger is better, sushi is far below top tier)
      MISSED: 15 East, Sushi Azabu, Kanouyama, Sushi Den, Brushstroke Sushi, Hatsuhana etc)

      1. re: foodwhisperer

        Donguri doesnt even have sushi. Its a soba\obansai ryori.

        1. re: Ricky

          To be fair, the list is actually "Top 12 Sushi and Japanese Restaurants in New York" and was, I'm pretty sure, just organized by Zagat "food" ratings and not the critic's view.

          1. re: Ricky

            They do have sashimi though, and the fish is some of the best I've had in New York in a very long time.

          2. re: foodwhisperer

            "5-Sushi Sen-nin ( never heard of it)"

            When I lived in the Murray Hill area I used to go to Sushi Sen-nin all the time, and it was great. Since I've moved uptown (5 years ago), I haven't been back. The sushi/sashimi was excellent, but I doubt it would be #5 on any list.

            1. re: ellenost

              I've been twice in the last two years and won't be going back. I found the fish to be generally warm and mushy, for lack of a better word. Maybe better at the sushi bar -- can't say. Was stunned at the Zagat rating vs the equality of the food.

          3. re: kosmose7

            Based on several visits to each, I can't even begin to fathom the idea that 15 East has better sushi than Kuruma. Kuruma is about four times the cost, as it should be. And I like 15 East.

            1. re: Wilfrid

              Karuma is not 4 times as expensive as 15 East. 15 East can be more expensive than Karuma depending on what you get. There is nothing that Karuma has that can compare to certain parts of the tuna 15 East serves. True Karuma charges a lot and is a rip off. I actually don't think Karuma rates the top 5 sushi places. You say you went to 15 East and still think karuma is better. Did you sit at a table?

              1. re: foodwhisperer

                I think he's talking about Kuruma. Karuma is perhaps not as good at 15 East, but I've never been to 15 East or Karuma. I've been to Kuruma, which I found excellent, far better than anything I've had in New York, but it was breathtakingly expensive for what was in the end a straight-up traditional, but very good sushi meal. Nothing there fried my brains, but then again nothing in NY sushi-wise has fried my brains. For that, one has to go to Japan.

                1. re: Uncle Yabai

                  I'm pretty sure the discussion is about Kurumazushi. 15 East has better sushi because the rice is superior. And after all, sushi is about rice.

                  Even when Kuruma does not boast a strong seasonal selection, Kuruma probably has the highest quality of fish in NYC (comparable to Masa) when it comes to staples, hence his sashimi is superior. His tuna collar otoro is ethereal.

                  Obviously Zagat is not to be trusted in any capacity, but let's not forget that Michelin was also pretty bad with their stars for sushi restaurants as well. The best, most recent, and most thorough discussion of the best sushi in NYC is probably here:

          4. I NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVER agree w/ Zagat's "Top" anything. Ever.

            3 Replies
            1. re: LeahBaila

              We never base ANY food decision on Zagat's.

              1. re: Spiritchaser

                Ditto. Like Yelp, it can warn you of the really bad places, but the "wisdom of crowds" in most cases doesn't work at all.

              2. re: LeahBaila

                Yep, I've gotten several horrible recommendations from Zagat and Yelp that I believe the reviews were either solicited or written by people without much knowledge about the food they were tasting.

                Also, I really hate "top" lists from any site, largely because there are so many restaurants in NYC that the numbers alone make it unrealistic to pick a top 10. It means many worthy restaurants would be bumped from that list, and not for a lack of merit.

              3. The list is not one man's opinion. The Zagat lists are always the top scoring restaurants in that category as VOTED on by the people who fill out Zagat surveys. I mean, check out the Top Chinese restaurants as voted on by the general public. Xian is on there four times (I suspect they may have encouraged their fans to vote early and often).


                3 Replies
                1. re: kathryn

                  I saw the list and Mr. K's is one of the best Chinese restaurants? I can not believe it. OMG...

                  1. re: kathryn

                    Yeah, I think for chains they need to do aggregate ratings. A bit silly to have the same restaurant listed four times...

                  2. As arturusthorne pointed out above, this list is NOT the top Sushi restos in NY, according to Zagat - it's the top Sushi AND Japanese restos. Big difference. Should they warrant separate lists? Of course they should. But given what it is... Surprising absence of Kyo Ya, Kajitsu, and 15 East, which (along with Soto) would probably be my top four, in one order or another. Yasuda, Gari, Nobu (though I haven't been in some time), Morimoto, Kanoyama and Sugiyama would - again in no particular order - probably round out my top ten. I've been less than enthused by Bako the last few times I've been. It was fine, but didn't really feel up to the prices overall.

                    Haven't done Brushstroke yet, but I suspect it would rank pretty high...

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: sgordon

                      I just found the list amazing, whether it was actually Zagat survey or one critic's view. I happened to have an amazing meal at 15 east tonite.

                      1. re: sgordon

                        Have you been to Kajitsu post Nishihara san? I'm not impressed so far, but to be fair the new chef is probably still unfamiliar with local produce, or working with non japanese ingredients like keffir lime like Nishihara did. Like I would say 95% of my last meal there composed of typical Japanese vegetables most likely from Suzuki farms or Kuramoto farms when our local farmers markets are selling fava beans, snap peas, micro greens.

                        1. re: Ricky

                          Theoretically, the aggregate ratings would have been mostly from before Nishihara left. I doubt they reset the rating to zero in April and started from scratch. They've never done that when chef shuffles have occurred at other restaurants - part of why their top places tend to hang on much longer than they're relevant, stay nearly the same year after year after year. They're still factoring in ratings from the prehistoric era along with new ones.

                      2. That is the worst list ever.

                        No 15 East, no Ushiwakamaru, no Shinbashi, and no Brushstroke. Even Sushiden East is better than some of these places.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: sushiman

                          I like Sushiden, it is way better than some on the list. They left the New Blue Ribbon off,,which seems like it is really good. But I have to go back and try more than a few pieces of fish and get the omakase.