15 East Omakase vs Tasting Menu
I have recently discovered the wonderful experince of omakase. Being a sushi addict, I'm surprised I haven't done them earlier! I have now tried two of them, Sushi Azabu and Neta. I made a resevation for 15 East next month (at the sushi bar) and I'm really looking forward to it.
I was wondering what the main difference between the $120 Tasting Menu and the $95 Sushi and Sashimi Omkase are. Does the Tasting Menu include just as much from the sushi bar in addition to some hot dishes from the kitchen? I'm going for the ultimate experience, but mainly looking to try the best and freshest sushi.
Where should my next resevation be?
There's a lot of confusion going on about the various tasting menu options here. As I understand it there's 4, maybe 5 options:
1) Sashimi omakase (10 pieces of sashimi)
2) Sushi omakase (10 pieces of sushi)
3) Sushi + Sashimi omakase (#1 + #2)
4) "Chef's" tasting menu (a few dishes from the kitchen + #3 + dessert for $120)
5) Tasting menu of mostly stuff from the kitchen (Not sure if this actually exists)
The correct way to dine here is to make a reservation at the sushi bar (NOT at a table) and request the "chef's tasting menu". I can confirm that it contains at least 10 pieces of sashimi + 10 pieces of sushi. When you add up the prices, it is a good deal especially if you've never been here before. If you have been here and you only want the sushi, you might be better off just doing a sushi omakase and keep adding pieces until you're full. The chef's tasting menu is a lot of food.
I honestly don't know what the differences between the "Tasting Menu" and the "Sushi and Sashimi Omakase" are supposed to be at 15 East, as I am like foodwhisperer and generally leave myself in the chef's hands.
An anecdote, though: A few months ago, I brought along a convive whose appetite doesn't quite match mine and who wanted to focus on the sushi. So I asked Shimizu-san to lay off a bit on the few cooked dishes and sashimi, since my convive didn't want to fill herself up prematurely.
He complied with style, neatly halving most of the pre-sushi dishes for her (one piece of ankimo instead of two, fewer pieces of sashimi, that sort of thing) while serving me the regular portions. He even noted me talking up the famous octopus, so he gave her a full portion of that. And when the nigiri rolled around, he gave us both the full experience. The restaurant charged me somewhat less for my convive's meal compared to mine, which was a pleasant, wholly unexpected surprise.
The point is, if you're sitting at the sushi bar, I don't think any of this will be an issue. Just tell them/him what you want! He's one of the most personable of all the top-tier sushi chefs, and he will surely adapt your meal to whatever specifications you desire.
The tasting menu does NOT include as much from the sushi bar as the omakase. It is composed largely of hot dishes, some of which are good, some of which are quite boring. I've had both the tasting menu and the omakase and I HIGHLY recommend the omakase instead. With the money you save on it you can add a tasting of uni at the end (this is what I like to do).
Sorry that I never looked at a menu at 15 East, but have had the omakase many times. I just ask the chef to do his thing. That being said, I would do. the $120 one. Usually it costs me more than $120. The different cuts of tuna, the octopus, and the sea eel are highlights of the omakase. They will probably also serve you some soba, and some chawanmushi. The sushi chef likes to show you the different tuna parts in his book. In my opinion, 15 East has the best omakase. Different times of year the fish is different so, keep going back.
Your next omakase places could be:
Yasuda ( which I do not like the attitude)
Ichimura at Brushstroke
Kanoyama ( some very artful dishes) but no set price . All items are itemized.
Also try Kyo Ya for kaiseki tasting.
Thanks foodwhisperer. We will be doing the $120 tasting menu. Can't wait!
I have heard great things about Yasuda and may try it next. Would love to try Brushstroke as well. I heard that it is more difficult to get a spot at the sushi bar and you should make a reservation a couple months beforehand. I'll check it out.
Thanks for the reply and suggestions!
Kanoyama is not that good and for the life of me, I cannot understand why you are placing it alongside three sushi bars that surpass it in every way imaginable. Aside from run of the mill fish you'll find everywhere, they charge prices comparable to the best places in Manhattan. Am I missing something?
I agree with sushi man and respectfully disagree with citizen kitchener. Kanoyama does have very high quality fish and the largest selection of fish from Japan than any place in NYC. If you get the special omakase, the owner Nobu-san is the only person preparing it. If you eat in the front room , you do not get the same quality or assortment of fish. That being said, Kanoyama charges by the piece, even if you get the omakase. if you eat a lot it will be a big bill.