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Jun 28, 2013 05:44 AM

Sushi Zen -W 44th St- A great find!

We were in the mood for sushi last night so I googled best sushin in NYC and one of the places that popped up was Sushi Zen. After reading positive reviews of the place I decided to give it a try. To preface, I am a huge fan of places like Neta, Sushi of Gari, Sassabune and the like. I generally like eating at the sushi counter but because the seats were fully commited for, we settled for a table. They have lovely side "nooks" with couple of tables in our corner reminiscent of those Japanese tea houses you read about-at least I have- just adjacent to the sushi counter which doesn't make you feel so isolated. On to the food. Our starters included Seared Salmon Sashimi Salad-very straightforward as per desciption, Seaweed Salad $9
4 kinds of Seaweeds with “Tosazu” Vinegar-had a slight kick to the accompanying seasonings on the side, Green Salad of mixed greens,
Mozzallera Cheese, Pine Nuts and Olive Oil, Chilled Tofu served cold w topping of Okura, Scallion, Shiso and Dashi Sauce-very refreshing for a hot summer's eve, and
Deep-Fried Soft-Shell Crab Ponzu Sauce and Spicy Grated Radish. For the main course we elected to do the omakase which was comprised of the freshest cuts of Toro, raw octopus (never had before but was divine!) giant clam-aka mirugai, spicy tuna roll, sea bass, snapper, tuna, scallops, eel roll, and the sweetest creamiest uni one can find. Because we are still growing with big appetites (I'm only 59 years old) even though were were very satisfied we decided to give it one more shove and ordered an addition round of ikura, mirugai and octopus. I forgot to mention the eel chawamushi we had prior to main course which was well done but our favorite chawanmushi is still the one servered at Brushstroke in Tribecca. Dessert consisted of green tea ice scream and a fruit platter. I was quite full but in a good way. Having such great sushi doesn't fill you up like say, a steak or a rich pasta dish will. Price in my opinion very moderate- I felt it was 10xs better than our visit to 15 East recently. I'm so glad to have discovered this place and will definitely go back soon!

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  1. The octopus you shoved in was most likely poached, not raw. Raw octopus is almost tasteless and too chewy to serve as sushi.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Silverjay

      No-she said it was raw-had very faint taste in a good way-surface scored all over-definitely raw. Waitress repeated it twice. BTW-i don't shove food into my mouth. I am quite civilized.

      1. re: UES Mayor

        Raw octopus sashimi sliced thinly (usuzukuri) is not unusual but raw octopus as sushi is definitely a first time for me to hear about.

    2. Nice to see Sushi Zen get some love on this board. I go there quite often when I am booked into a midtown hotel. The service and the ambience is very pleasant. I always get a table, but that's just me.

      Because I am mostly in NYC during cooler months, I very often have their soups to start, and I especially like their clear seasonal soups and fish soups. Very fragrant and clean. I always get their seaweeds as well. I am trying to remember if I have ever had anything from the menu I didn't like, and I don't think so.

      Like you, their food always makes me feel better for eating it, which is what I really prize from a meal.

      1. Thanks for the report. The Chawanmushi at Brushstroke is very tasty. They usually add truffle or truffle oil to it.
        I've only had octopus poached, never raw. Although I believe that most Japanese people prefer octopus more chewy than 15 East prepares it. I happen to like the octopus at 15 East though.
        I will visit Sushi Zen, as I am in that area often. Thanks again.

        1. I'd say sushi zen is comparable in price to 15 east, if not more pricey, for 25 pieces of sushi. It's good but I'm not sure it's 10x or even 2x better.