Finally went to 15 East (review)… Sushi Yasuda is next.
I finally got to try 15 East, last Friday evening. In short, it was, for me, a new level of sushi existence. It's one thing to read about the value and importance of good quality sushi, but to actually experience a superior sushi, and to have that experience linger on in food memory, was totally worth it. I went alone so that I could focus on the food and enjoy the party in my mouth.
Sushi omakase (table seating) + some a la carte; they came all together, so I ate them in this order (• = favorite):
1. ••• Akame (lean tuna) - This was the favorite of mine. Diners apparently covet the fatty tunas, but this lowly piece of lean tuna opened up, for me, a whole new space of taste and flavor.
2. • Barracuda - Full of foreign and wonderful flavor.
3. • Littleneck clam - A study in textural perfection.
4. • Amber jack - If a piece of sushi could represent happiness.
5. Yellowtail - Tastes like pineapples.
6. Atlantic salmon - This was nice and simple, really, overshadowed by everything else.
7. Scallop - Oh, the softness, and the yuzu.
8. Anago - Never ate eel that was like this. Rustic, creamy like mashed potatoes.
9. Uni kyuushuu - Butter of the sea. (I can understand its popularity, but I might prefer a less unctuous uni.)
10. Nidako (octopus, poached) - Falls apart in your mouth, yet stays teethy as you chew. Flavor is subtle.
11. Chuutoro (medium tuna) - Velvet. Reminiscient of strawberries!
12. ••• Botan ebi (prawn) - It is like sex. Completely unexpected. Unforgettable. That is all.
13. Unagi - Interesting, very different from typical restaurant unagi.
14. Tai (red snapper) - Creamiest red snapper I've ever had.
15. Sushi tartare & shiso leaf - Salmon cornets, anyone?
I also tried the a) Degustation of eleven seaweeds, b) Cherry wood smoked duck breast, c) Rice-pudding tempura. While a) was educational, b) was just okay and c) while nice and interesting, was not what I like for dessert. The waiter had recommended risotto, seared scallops, and soft-shell crab, but personally I felt that those were safe and/or comfort-food type dishes. Odds & ends: mustard marinated baby eggplant, and a matcha iced tea. Subtotal $150, total $180.
I was a little disappointed that my waiter didn't tell me about the specials. The two chawanmushis sounded great, if only I was told about that. Generally the staff was nice, but was clearly showing signs of load as the night wore on.
This easily falls amongst the highlights thus far in my summer of eating around NYC. Highly recommend it and I will probably wax on about it with friends and family.
I have Sushi Yasuda for lunch this Friday. I'm going to go over the menu in advance, because the reservationist says I must finish within 90 minutes. Otherwise, lookin forward to another round of sushi.
Glad you had such a great experience. Next time you might consider sitting at the bar, and requesting (when you make reservations) to have Shimizu-san as your chef. The omakase experience becomes more personal, more interactive, and you're not inundated with a flood of pieces at once.
I think you'll also enjoy Yasuda, though 15E wins for me. But sit at the bar!
I agree with strangemd, id you enjoyed the sushi that much and ate at a table, eating at the sushi bar with Shimizu-san will take you to an even higher level. I would skip Yasuda and do the 15 East sushi bar first, then go to yasuda..
P.S. did #12 botan ebi last a long time??? lol j/k