1 or 8 Sushi - Williamsburg - could be one of the best omakase meals in NYC
Wow, all I can say is that this place is amazing. Went there last night with the hubby and wanted to do a quick post today.The head chef at the sushi bar (Kazuo, sp?) was so friendly, he was describing every single ingredient in the pieces he served.There were THREE omakase options (small, $80- approx 12 pieces, medium, $90- approx 14-15 pieces, and large, $100+ - 17 or more pieces). There was practically no need for soy sauce (except for some of the sashimi pieces), every sushi piece had some form of wasabi/soy souce on it. Others, like monkfish liver, had citrusy toppings and/or chopped veggies and didn't need any other accompaniments. The hubby and I had the medium sized omakase and some soup and they were VERY filling. I'd say don't get the large omakase unless you are super hungry and maybe haven't eaten all day. Very good value for what you get, I'm actually surprised they don't charge people more for what they are serving (which could change in 2014, who knows). The different cuts of tuna alone are worth visiting this place.
Also, I should mention that the decor at this place is super swanky- white walls, cool artwork, nice background music (but not too loud), and there are TONS of staff to attend to each customer. Way better than Gari, Seki, etc (at least as far as decor and server to customer ratio are concerned). The minute I put my plate down and finished with a dish, a waiter would come over and take it within 15-20 seconds. I never had to ask for more waiter, it just kept coming every time the glass was coming close to empty. But let me tell you that glass was NEVER actually empty, ever. It's like the staff has military precision. There was even a guy from the sushi bar who would wipe my side of the bar every few courses just to make sure it was kept clean (even though I never made a mess). All these things combined together were very impressive....
So, this all brings me to my final thought: I am totally coming from Manhattan to eat at this place more often. Excellent value, great music and staff, and it's not so crowded that I have to wait a while to grab a seat. Thanks to all the chowhounders who recommended this restaurant on previous boards!
I was a big fan of 1 or 8, but it's quite a trip for me.
Now, I've discovered Katsuei in Park Slope. Their omakase (9 pieces+1 hand roll=$45, chef's omakase priced according to number of pieces) is incredible. Many of the items offered at Katsuei are similar to those you had at 1 or 8. Consider giving Katsuei a shot.
(Seventh Ave. at Third St., Brooklyn. F to Seventh Ave.,
Q to Seventh Ave., 2 or 3 to Grand Army Plaza)
i prefer the vibe at Katsuei. It's more relaxing and enjoyable.
I know the chef from 1 or 8 for several decades. He started as a helper at Kameda on University Pl. Then went on to gain fame at Geisha, then to Jewel Bako, later to Samba and I think then to 1 or 8. I was thrilled to see him at 1 or 8, and got a warm greeting after a long time of not seeing him. I was disappointed a few times as I couldn't get a seat, it was so packed.
I will say Kazu-san at 1 or 8 can be very creative and come up with many nice dishes.
But I like Mano-san's demeanor and the serene atmosphere at katsuie. Not to mention the sushi is excellent.
They held a special sake and beer tasting event about two weeks ago and the sake master flew in from Japan to present his special collection! So good. I think the name of the company is Ryujin Shuzo. The event was around $70 pp with the food included and about 7 drinks total. Well worth it. I can't wait for their next event! Guys, get on the mailing list.