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Dec 18, 2012 02:54 PM

Ideal Sushi (Omakase) for Group of 4

Hi all - I'm fairly new to Manhattan (moved here a few months ago), and would love some advice from fellow hounds.

It is my parents' 30th anniversary coming up in March, and I'm flying them to NY for a long weekend, and would like to take them to a really nice omakase meal (a mix of sushi and cooked foods), sitting at the sushi bar.

While they've had sushi many times before, they've never had a high-end omakase meal before, and I'd like to introduce the experience to them. The "problem" is, it's going to be 4 of us (bringing the gf) - I'd like to sit at the sushi bar, but sitting 4 in a row makes conversation a bit more difficult. I've considered getting a table, but I feel you lose out on part of the omakase experience not being at the sushi bar.

I was wondering if anyone knew of top-calibre sushi restaurants that have a two-sided sushi bar (ie. where there's a 90 degree angle, so I could request the 4 corner seats, where you can still have some convo, but get the full omakase-at-the-bar experience).

Price isn't really an issue - expecting to spend $1k+ for the 4 of us. Only Masa I think is a bit out of the price range. From searching, I've heard good things about Yasuda, Soto, 15East. Does anyone know if these sushi bars have 2 sides, or have other recommendations? Thanks in advance!

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  1. How about a kaiseki meal instead, like in the private room at Kyo Ya? They don't do nigiri sushi but their sashimi dishes and their "box pressed" sushi is excellent.

    2 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Thanks for the suggestion Kathryn. I haven't had a kaiseki meal before, but from my understanding, it focuses on simplistic, subtle flavors.

      I think for this anniversary meal, I'd like to have my parents try a more traditional nigiri omakase.

      That being said, I read a few quick reviews on Kyo Ya, and I think I'll definitely check it out myself in the future!

      1. re: tylerchris

        I'd call the flavors at Kyo Ya subtle but not simplistic. Rather, there is a very sophisticated complexity that melds in amazing ways, I thought.

    2. in general, i think a 4-person nigiri-based omakase at the sushi bar is difficult/not-ideal, esp in's hard to converse and reservations are difficult at the best places -- omakase at the sushi bar is best either solo or in a party of two...

      Especially given that your folks a) would enjoy some cooked dishes too, and b) haven't had a high-end sushi omakase before, i think your best option might be a table at 15, purely for sushi, the bar is the way to go there, vastly superior...but for the combo of fine meal/cooked-dishes/sushi/4-people, i think 15 East at the table is one to consider...

      i also like the Kyo Ya suggestion...and Ushiwakamaru at a table would be fine too, though a bit more casual...

      1. Soto has quite "futuristic" food so I don't recommend it since it would be somewhat distant from traditional sushi cuisine. I like both Sushi Yasuda and 15 East, and they both have L corners.

        Only downside of 15 East is it's a tad cramped and can get noisy (Union Square "scene"). But the food is really wonderful.

        I think the another possibility would be Brushstroke, I've never been.

        1 Reply
        1. re: calf

          unfortunately 15 east has a 3 max for their sushi bar. i've seen yasuda and gari handle 4 tops at the bar but most other top sushi places will not accept a group that large...

        2. I would recommend Kanoyama as my first pick. The tables for the omakase ( in the back room) are directly across from the chef. He makes very creative dishes and has excellent sushi. When the high ranking diplomats from Japan needed a place to dine, they went to Kanoyama and reserved the whole sushi bar.
          15 East would work as well but no contact with the chef.
          Blue Ribbon Izakaya has good mix of both in a real nice decor.
          Soto I only recommend for his Tartare creative type dishes. The sushi is just ok.
          You might want to consider Kyo Ya, have the great kaiseki dishes and order the pressed sushi and daily sashimi special. That would be great mix of sushi and other japanese dishes. Kyo Ya is amazing.

          2 Replies
          1. re: foodwhisperer

            Thanks for everyone's suggestions thus far, very helpful.

            I think I am going to look into getting the 4 corner seats at the 15 East sushi bar (will plead the "special circumstance" card). Hopefully given it's quite a bit in advance, they'll help out.

            If not, it sound like a table could work as well.

            Has anyone gotten good omakase sitting at the table before? What worries me (and maybe I'm taking it a bit too seriously...) is that, especially with four people, the chef will pre-make all the nigiri at once and bring it out to the table together ("sushi boat" style), which loses much of the effect of chef's-hand-to-mouth.

            1. re: tylerchris

              I've never seen them bring out individual pieces to tables at 15 East. I've also never seen the head chef make sushi for the tables - he seems to delegate that to another chef.

          2. I'm pretty sure that 15 East has a 90-degree bend at the right side of the sushi bar.

            2 Replies
            1. re: meatme

              it does; but it's a difficult reservation to guarantee those four seats, and still not ideal for 4 person convo

              1. re: Simon

                That's the best seat in the house, as you can see Masa's every move. Also quite difficult to get.