Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Nov 30, 2012 05:32 AM

TANOSHI-New sushi bar on UES @ 74/York

Had the pleasure of trying this 3 mos. old establishment last night. Did not dissappoint! Sushi/sashimi done the way it's supposed to. We had omakase and were served an assortment of the finest tasting morsels all glistening w a very light seasoned dressing complimenting each piece. The place is very small, perhaps 10 tops! You eat at sushi bar and no reservations-you sign up at door so if it's full you gotta wait. They used to allow BYOB but sign on door said law was changed so no more BYOB but if you conceal your bottle, they allow you to consume. Anyone know what the law really is? I'm sure this place will become like Sassabune in same neighborhood so try it while you don't have so much of a wait! Price was $340 (not including tip) for 3 of us BUT we ate like huge pigs!!!!! Well worth it in my opinion. A definite keeper!!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Is the "loosey sushi" described on the website like Sasabune's?

    1. Where is Chef Toshio from?

      1. It just got a review over on Serious Eats:

        The stuff looks and sounds great and the prices are certainly more than reasonable, but the review is packed with so much hyperbole it borders on being absurd. Comparisons to Sukiyabashi Jiro and Masa and a mention of Per Se? It's entirely possible that it's justified but I'd rather hear it from some of the more experienced CHers.

        Because the cheaper price is not a huge factor for me and the hipster-friendly 10-seat reservation "system" is more of a turnoff, the only thing I care about is how well the food actually stacks up to the best in the city (Masa, Kuruma, 15 East, Yasuda, Neta, Ichimura, Kanoyama, etc.). Can anyone weigh in on that?

        By the way, also from the review: "...sablefish was made famous by Iron Chef Morimoto..."
        Just curious, did Nobu's sablefish (black cod) pre-date Morimoto's time there or was it in fact Morimoto's recipe?

        9 Replies
        1. re: fooder

          I read the review. It looks likes a lot of metaphors for simple sushi to make it sound better than it is. The author calls one fish Kohara when in fact it is kohada. it was not a typo. The shari falls apart, probably because it is too hot, like Sasbune. Not a good thing. He compares it to Jiro, where he has never been. which is absurd. I will wait for more reviews before I try this place.

          1. re: foodwhisperer

            I'm a fan of Kenji at SE and he's usually pretty spot on with his coverage of places that I've been to. He's also part Japanese and I know he's been to Japan. He'll usually mess up a fact or two on Japanese stuff though- whether it is a typo or not. There's no fact checking at SE like NYT. I'm pretty sure fooder is right that Nobu popularized the miso cod dish here- although this has been a standard dish in Japan for years.

            Anyway, this type of hyperbole-blog style of writing is popular these days. He doesn't compare the sushi to Jiro, just the approach as he saw it in the film on Jiro.

            Well I for one don't mind warm rice that breaks apart. It's good for some items. "Tanoshi" means "fun" or "enjoy" which made me think that this wasn't a legit sushi place- like it might be for crazy rolls or Chinese or something. But now I"m intrigued that this might be a "holy grail" place as Kenji described. Looking forward to check it out.

            1. re: Silverjay

              Silverjay, I await your report back. If you give it the thumbs up.. i'm in. I would love your opinion on Kura restaurant.

              1. re: foodwhisperer

                Yeah i have a friend who lives near Tanoshi and will try to enlist him to put my name on that damn sign up sheet...Kura is considerably easier for me to get to so may end up there first. Different thread but thanks for the heads up on it.

              2. re: Silverjay

                I think Kenji tends to overrate the hell out of new Japanese places, like Neta for example.

                1. re: Shirang

                  Yeah that's true. There's some places he touts that I'm not into. He's not the holy grail himself. But he talks specifically about food, not restaurants... and he takes good photos. I'm interested in this place for the price-quality-authenticity factor and not expecting to be blown away for $50pp in NYC.

                  1. re: Shirang

                    One thing I did notice in his comments was his defense when the question of the quality of the sushi was raised. According to him, quality sushi is "first and foremost the rice, followed by the freshness of the fish... ...then the quality of the condiments and balance of flavors, and way way way below that, the "fanciness" of the restaurant, followed by the variety and exoticness of the fish."

                    Nowhere in that description is the quality of the fish itself. There is a huge difference in quality of fish that goes beyond freshness. It's why you see those tuna traders at Tsukiji spending time with the tiny samples from the cut tail (just from Youtube clips, I've not seen this live).

                    Freshness is definitely important, and it's because of freshness that I loved Chiyoda in midtown for lunch back when they were doing a brisk business before they turned into that abomination called Mai House or whatever. But the fish itself was not of a high-end quality.

              3. re: fooder

                I've eaten at Tanoshi a couple of times. I don't intend to return. Not because it's bad, just because it's not even close to the best the city has to offer.

                I'll say this - I think it's a good place to take someone who's never experienced a proper omakase for a few reasons -

                First, it's much less expensive (easy to get out for $50pp). Second, you can't chicken out. You can't decide to sit at the table and order california rolls. You have to sit at the sushi bar. You have to order omakase. Lastly, the overall attitude of the place is, "You don't know what real sushi is, and we're going to teach you."

                The owner stands there talking about how great everything is while you eat, and how this is what real sushi is, and most people don't know that. He's friendly and well-intentioned, but he assumes you have a certain level of ignorance about what you're eating.

                For me, the sushi does not even come close to Yasuda, 15 East, Ichimura, etc. Obviously those are all more expensive.

                If price and/or location are the issue, I always have a far better experience at Inase.

                Tanoshi is in no way miserable, nor expensive, so I'd certainly encourage people to try it for themselves to see. But I would seriously lower expectations.

                1. re: lexismore

                  I agree with this 100%. The sushi is very good here and good for the price. Is it the holy grail? No but for cost to value ratio it does come through. However Inase's fish is just as good and they seem to get the same seasonal items. I like both styles of rice but prefer it packed a little tighter.

                  The caveat here is that I have been a regular at Inase for a while and he knows my individual tastes better.

              4. I'm heading to Tanoshi tonight based on this thread. I'm looking forward to it for sure.

                Any must haves that I should order on top of the regular omakase?

                One thing additional thing to note -- they do take reservations. I was able to call at 1:30 to make same day reservations.

                1. I actually liked Tanoshi a lot, in my single visit. I almost went in wanting to dislike it, given all the hype, but in contradistinction to several people's fears, the rice is really quite good -- seasoned almost precisely to my taste, and not at all too hot.

                  What can I remember? Some nice mackerels of different stripes, kinmedai, albacore, nakaochi, miso-cured gindara, a truly awesome piece of iwashi... I don't remember ever having sunazuri (yellowtail belly, also in the SE writeup) before, and, torched lightly, it was as good as you'd think. Less wonderful pieces included some kohada (lovely braided presentation but lacking in flavor), magurozuke (oddly chewy), and ikura (tasted almost the same as a random low-rent joint). I turned down a spicy tuna hand roll and ended up with a chu-toro one instead. Won't argue that!

                  I mean, of course the place isn't Yasuda or 15 East or Ichimura -- you can't offer a price point like Tanoshi's and expect pure magic. But with the huge caveat that I have not been to Inase, I'd pick Tanoshi over anything else on the UES for a revisit. It's a great deal, especially if, like me and apparently SE's Kenji, you're obsessed about places nailing the rice.

                  (N.B.: While I love dropping by Seki for ultra-late-night sushi or for taking eaters more accustomed to crazy American-style rolls, I prefer the austere preps of places like Tanoshi. I do not really like Sushi of Gari.)