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Jan 13, 2014 10:19 AM

Recent Sushi Azabu impressions?

Has anyone been recently? I understand the sushi chef has been changed and I'm going this evening, so I was wondering if anyone had any experiences to share.

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  1. The website says the new sushi chef will not arrive until February. The chef that left Terado-san was excellent and a nice guy. I am glad they didn't just move one of the assistant chefs to head sushi chef. The sushi was far superior when Terado-san prepared it.
    I think their ankimo and shirako were the best in town. They served it warm. I'm sure that will not change , as this was a kitchen dish.
    I look forward to trying Azabu in February, but I am sad Terado-san left and wonder where he is working now.
    Greenwich Grill (japanese/italian) upstairs, is really good too.

    4 Replies
    1. re: foodwhisperer

      We ended up splurging a bit and going for the $150 Omakase which was really excellent. Our Chef was Tomoyuki Hayashi, and once he figured out we were not expense account Wall Street types (a few of those at the bar), but actually cared about the sushi, he became very friendly and informative. And I must say, I left very happy. And stuffed..

      1. re: strangemd

        Thanks for the report. It is really true of most sushi chefs, that when they realize you care about the sushi and their skills, they try hard to make you happy. They get so used to "jerks" who don't have the slightest interest in the sushi, it is a treat for them to get a diner who cares.

        1. re: foodwhisperer

          The only quibble I had was with the physical structure of the sushi bar. You're seated so low relative to the chef's work surface that it's impossible to watch his knife work, which I usually enjoy thoroughly.

          1. re: strangemd

            Yes that is a problem at many sushi bars. At 15 East I like to sit at the short end so I get the best view of the knife work

    2. please report back: i went there 3 times in the past (3+ yrs ago) -- twice at the sushi bar and once at the bar of Greenwich Grill where they brought me a few sushi pieces from downstairs -- and i despised the food quality: fake wasabi, slimey fish, overly sweet rice, just awful...i do love their grotto-like space and generally noirish location, but it's the worst upscale-priced sushi i've had in NYC...

      If the new chef revamps the style totally, that would be a blessing...

      5 Replies
      1. re: Simon

        I usually agree with you Simon, but I've been to Greenwich Grill probably 30 times, it was best when they first opened and chefs changed a few times. The last time I ate there was about a month ago, The food was very good and they put the foie gras back on the menu. I believe the chef is the chef they had in the Italian restaurant that closed. He cooked in a Michelin restaurant in Italy. He is Japanese.
        The only bad sushi dinner I've had at Azabu is when chef Terado did not serve me. Otherwise all my dining experiences were great. They had amazing ankimo and shirako

        1. re: foodwhisperer

          i never had a full meal of the cooked food at Greenwich -- just a very bad salad and some sushi brought up from downstairs...what else do you order there?

          1. re: Simon

            I like the foie gras, the Thai crab pasta, grilled fish.
            The pastas are their specialty, but they are very good with fish. They used to not allow you to get sushi, or the downstairs dishes. I think they allow certain ones now.
            They always have a carpaccio or ceviche as an appetizer upstairs that is often very good. One manager and chef went to their restaurant in Nagoya. It seems italian and French food with Japanese flavors is what they do best. They also used to have a $12 lunch special, i'm not sure if they still do. Also they have tasting menu that's a decent deal, but I prefer a la carte. I usually get the Mont Blanc dessert.

        2. re: Simon

          The omakase we had was really of very high quality, and touched on every variety of fish in their cupboard. I have trouble remembering everything, but we started with a little aspic of seaweed and atlantic whitefish, followed by a giant clam in ponzu which was firm and creamy, then there was a generous sashimi selection of an excellent bluefin toro, amberjack, marinated mackerel, monkfish liver and abalone. There was then an unctuous mushroom and scallion chawanmushi before proceeding to the sushi. I couldn't reproduce every piece of sushi, as things went on for quite awhile, but both chu-toro and toro made appearances and were of very high quality. There was an excellent botan ebi, some fine pieces of snapper and sea eel. There was a delicious side-by-side prep of Hokkaido and Santa Barbara Uni. The scallop, with a crunch of sea salt on top, was one of the best I've had in NY. There was tasty seared salmon, as well as a marinated and seared tuna. Somewhere in there, a first-rate version of miso-seared cod was also served. The finishing piece was a hand roll of toro and japanese pickles which was perfect in its proportions, and in its fish-to-crunch ratio. I am shortening the selection by quite a few pieces as it's been a few days, but it really was a first-rate experience.The wasabi was fresh and real, and certainly nothing slimy was served. Maybe I got lucky, but it was really good.

          1. re: strangemd

            Excellent overview; I really should check it out! For a while I've been an nigiri-only omakase guy, so steered toward places such as Yasuda but lately I've been appreciating Japanese cooking more and more. This looks like it'll hit the mark.

            Did you catch the name of the head chef, or any itamae you'd recommend?

        3. At the moment, this is my favorite sushi place in town. Better than Yasuda. We went a few times before the chef change, and have been back since, and all times except one (pre-change) have been amazing -- well, the food at least. Service when not at the counter is always horrible and slow.

          We always get the omakase, generally only fish. The toro is divine and the uni is the best I have ever had (get the one from Japan not from California). The new head chef is Shinichi Inoue, who was there before as well, and who is very personable and lovely. Another chef we have had a lovely time with is Tomoyuki Hayashi. There's a third chef who is a much older man and is unfortunately not very good, at least at keeping orders straight.

          As for the atmosphere, on almost every occasion I've been there, we've been annoyed by finance guys who were rowdy and obnoxious, but we just tuned them out. And at times, there's a gross fishy smell (probably from searing they do in the kitchen) that I could do without. I've never eaten in the upstairs area, but now that the new restaurant (Darumaya) is coming in April, I've already made a reservation and am excited!