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Jul 18, 2013 03:47 PM

15 East without Masa or Ushiwakamaru?

Which should I do? (On the waitlist for Ichimura, went to Yasuda recently.)

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  1. Ushi definitely over 15 East without Masa. Perhaps consider Kura, or Blue Ribbon Izakaya, kanoyama, or walk-in at Ichimura, good chance you'll get in.

    20 Replies
    1. re: foodwhisperer

      I went to Kura a couple weeks ago and wasn't that impressed. Is Blue Ribbon's omakase any good?

      1. re: sweatshorts

        I agree with you on Kura.

        Have you tried Sushi Dojo?

        1. re: lexismore

          I haven't, but from what I've read it doesn't really appeal to me. I'm a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to sushi. Have you been? Is it any good?

          1. re: sweatshorts

            Sushi Dojo is fantastic. If you sit in front of David, it is a very traditional authentic experience (even if he isn't Japanese himself!).

            Another itamae at Sushi Dojo, Makoto (forgive me if I've misspelled his name), appears to depart from traditional nigiri by using yuzu, ponzu and other ingredients to add some seasoning and extra flavor to his fish. But the omakase before him is also highly recommendable.

            1. re: Rich D.

              Thanks for the info. What did you end up paying?

              1. re: sweatshorts

                The experiences in front of David and Makoto were very different, but the price points were similar -- approximately 100 dollars per head (there four of us on each trip) for the food. After some, but not a lot of sake and a beer or two, the bill came to approximately 150 per person.

                Unlike some places that I've been to, conveying what you want your budget to be for the omakase itself was easy and succinct. I believe the omakase begins at $80 per person pre-tip/tax, and you can specify that. However, on both occasions I asked that the food cost around $100 per person because we were hungry (and because I decided--based on absolutely no info--that I would get more exotic fish that way). On each trip, this included two or three cooked dishes, a series of sashimi plates, umpteen nigiri pieces, and a hand roll to finish.

              2. re: Rich D.

                Second Sushi Dojo- Was there last night for my second time. Was absolutely fantastic. David does wonders with fish, and Max pours incredible Sake tastings!!

                  1. re: sweatshorts

                    Including a lot of sake about $150pp- That's with many, many courses of fish!

                      1. re: sweatshorts

                        Anytime! You can definitely eat here for less though...we just went crazy last night. Also, if like uni...the uni we had last night was some of the greatest uni I've ever had!!!

                        1. re: sockster

                          $150 pp is totally reasonable for omakase + sake, I think. I'm calling about a reservation as soon as they open.

                  2. re: sockster

                    +1 on Sushi Dojo. I've been there 3 times so far, each time with David and have been very happy. Spending about $150pp for omakase with some drinking.
                    I assume Masa is just on vacation or not available at 15E? Anything else would be too terrible to contemplate.

                    1. re: strangemd

                      I would guess vacation as well. When I called two weeks ago to make the reservation they informed me he wouldn't be there.

                      1. re: sweatshorts

                        When I went earlier this month, he said vacation, to Japan and somewhere else. I think he's back by the 23rd, if I remember correctly what they told me.

                        1. re: fooder

                          Thanks for the reassurance! I hope he has a great time, and I know when to make my next reservation. ;-)

                      2. re: strangemd

                        Masa is heavily involved with the new restaurant at Union Square in the hotel

                  3. re: sweatshorts

                    I've been twice, going for a third time tomorrow.

                    I can't speak to the other chefs, but David's sushi is traditional, and very good. He's also very engaging - I have more fun with him than any itamae in the city.

                    Whether or not you go this time, definitely worth checking out.

                    As for price - an omakase made up of 20ish pieces of sushi and a few kitchen dishes (including an amazing poached octopus - similar to what 15 East serves, although I prefer Dojo's) ran about 130 for food.

                    1. re: lexismore

                      Thanks for the info. I think I'll try and see if we can get in tomorrow.

                1. re: sweatshorts

                  Blue Ribbons omakase is excellent, if you are at the sushi bar. If you are at a table it is not at all similar.
                  Sorry you didn't like Kura. Dojo is good, but since they are new, the selection is limited, but I like the people and the fish quality is good. You do not have to sit in front of David at Dojo, his assistant, who has I think her name is Hiromi has more experience than David and has great skills. You can't go wrong with either and the kitchen food i.e. tempura is excellent.
                  Azabu is good, if you have Tirado-san serving you. Winter is better when they have warm animo and warm shirako

                  1. re: sweatshorts

                    its very good if you sit in front of Terado san, its more traditional than 15 East.

                    1. re: Shirang

                      Thanks. I'll call and see if they have any openings. Sadly, this is for three people tomorrow night so I don't like my luck.

                1. im of the belief that ushiwakamaru is on the decline. service has changed, fish quality has declined, size of the pieces are smaller, and the crowd is a lot less sophisticated than in years past.

                  until i hear otherwise, im taking a break.

                  1 Reply
                  1. Just had a fantastic omakase at Ushiwakamaru-btw did you know that at 11pm it turns into a ramen place?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: UES Mayor

                      I did not know that. Is that a new development?

                    2. Is there a specific day when Chef Masa is typically not at 15 East during the week?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: black_lab

                        He is off Sunday ( they are closed Sunday) and he is off on Monday. Also of course he takes vacations.

                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                          Also, if you request Masa when making the reservation, they will tell you if he's not going to be there.