Tag Archives: sashimi

Ume

I took my wife to Ume for her birthday. This place serves an Omakase set of 12 pieces for $73.

Everything is really delicious, but my favorite three bites were the red snapper (center, with broccoli florette), the fatty tuna belly, (bottom center, with truffle) and the quail egg with crispy fish skin (center right).

We also grabbed this “literally everything don” bowl, which was better than the actual omakase (and more killing) for just $60.

Really enjoyed that.

A few negative things to note here: the enclosed outdoor garden area is too cold for winter dining. They leave the door open between the inside area and the garden, so even if you’re sitting inside, you’re going to be cold. To make matters worse, they double down on that chill factor with their “no shoes” concept (my toes were icy). Sitting on the floor isn’t too comfortable either but I’m not really gonna complain about that. I didn’t mind it so much.

UME
237 Kent Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11249

Takumi Omakase

This little joint serves up a very affordable and tasty 15-piece omakase for just $89, and on Sunday at the 5pm seating you also get free sake!

Here’s a look at everything we had. They were kind enough to swap out the scallop piece for my wife who is allergic.

TAKUMI OMAKASE
181 Essex St
New York, NY 10002

Zest Sushi

Weird name, great happy hour.

Zest Sushi has a very extensive menu of items for just $5.50 during happy hour, which also includes their beer and sake offerings as well. My wife and I tried a bunch of stuff, and pretty much everything was great. Here’s the run down:

Mini salmon don.

“Salmon Dream” torched sashimi.

Skewers of crispy squid tentacles.

Crispy oysters (this was the only item I wouldn’t get again).

Takoyaki (fried balls of octopus with bonito).

Crispy salmon skin roll.

For drinks, the better bet is to get the sake. They give you about 10oz for $5.50, and it’s pretty good.

ZEST SUSHI
249 Broome St
New York, NY 10002

Gouie

This new sushi counter at Essex Market / The Market Line offers a fairly reasonable sushi dinner that consists of 8 pieces, a hand roll, ikura with rice and uni with rice – all for $85.

I usually love hand rolls, but I didn’t really enjoy this one. I think it was a mix of the Japanese pickle and a too thick/chewy seaweed wrapper.

The sushi pieces were great though, as was the ride. But the real star of the show was this salad that we ordered as a special. It was basically sashimi with some nice veggies.

Pass on the cauliflower, crab, uni and okra cold “soup” that they have on special as well. It was slimy and not soup-like at all. It also needed seasoning.

The light cocktails are a hit. There’s no hard liquor, but they’re made with apertifs, liqueurs and digestifs.

GOUIE
115 Delancey St.
New York, NY 10002

Kissaki

I took my wife to Kissaki for her birthday since she likes omakase restaurants. This place did a great job. We went with their 13-course tasting menu, swapping out sashimi for nigiri on the sushi pieces, and we also shared a sake pairing (four generous pours that progressed through the meal).

My favorite items were the Santa Barbara uni, the thin sliced squid, the Japanese barracuda, and the Spanish mackerel.

I’m no omakase expert, but this place seemed to deliver very good quality at a great starting price point of $120 (for the nigiri – add $60 for the sashimi).

My only gripe: they should offer a combo of both nigiri and sashimi, since some of the nigiri sushi looked really interesting with wild toppings and flavors, while the sashimi pieces were more traditional and plain. A mixed piece menu would be a great way to get a taste of both modern and traditional.

KISSAKI BOWERY
319 Bowery
New York, NY 10003

Kaiseki Room by Yamada

This new Kaiseki tasting is available on 53rd Street at 6 1/2 Avenue, just across from La Grande Boucherie. It’s a small stretch of bar with two seatings each night, at 5pm and 8pm, for $300 each (more for sake the pairing). I took my wife here for a Christmas present/date night and we both loved it. Here’s everything we had:

Olive fed wagyu tartare with caviar:

Uni truffle and foie dashi:

Assorted sashimi:

Hand roll sushi (our favorite bite):

Here are some of the mushrooms coming up in the next courses:

Lobster and crab miso bisque:

This plate had five cold glasses that featured octopus, abalone, and other raw fish preparations:

Eel and tilefish:

Duck and winter mushrooms:

Rice with crab, roe and squid:

Bean ice cream and granita:

Freshly whipped matcha:

This is definitely worth splurging on for a special occasion. I’m interested to see how the hyper-seasonal menu will change throughout the year.

KAISEKI ROOM BY YAMADA
145 W 53rd St
New York, NY 10019

Esora Omakase

I was recently invited to try a new Wagyu and tempura Omakase restaurant connected to J-Spec in the East Village, called Esora.

This was one of the most incredible Omakase experiences I’ve had. We started with a trio of appetizers: wagyu tartare + uni, scallop + caviar, and tofu.

All were excellent, but the wagyu tartare and uni was possibly the best bite of the night!

Next up was sashimi. More wagyu strip, as well as sea bream and blue fin tuna.

Wagyu sushi? YUP! We got a taste of both Hida and Ozaki strip here. Torched (Ozaki), and raw (Hida).

The tempura portion of the meal was so much fun, and the bites seemed to just keep coming!

Prawn heads (and bodies):

Okra:

Magochi fish:

Maitake mushroom!

Tenderloin wrapped in shiso leaf. Awesome!

Corn:

Scallop:

Squash blossom and Japanese pumpkin:

Sea Eel:

And finally, sweet potato:

We washed that down with a really tasty seafood and mushroom soup, served in a nice tea kettle with citrus (dobinmushi).

Next, we had STEAK! Wagyu strip from Hida:

…and from the Ozaki family brand:

Check this out!

I liked the Ozaki a bit better:

There was also sea bream rice with ikura:

And finally, dessert: earl grey tea panna cotta, roasted green tea, and peach compote.

I highly recommend this place. Make sure to call ahead at least 24hrs before booking. There are only seven seats at the bar with the chef, and there are a limited number of seatings each day.

ESORA OMAKASE
239 E 5th St
New York, NY 10003

Ishikawa

My wife told me about this joint that just opened their second location on the upper west side. I took her here for an early surprise Valentine’s Day dinner, since she has to travel on the actual date.

Everything we had here was incredible, and at a price point of $155 for the premium omakase, you really get a ton of high quality pieces. I think there were almost 20. Below are a few of my favorites.

Of course, the one that involved wagyu and foie gras was awesome:

These two with highly marbled tuna belly were great.

This was also awesome; three different kinds of eggs:

I can’t wait to go back!

ISHIKAWA
207 W 80th St
New York, NY 10024

Ardyn

I finally got a chance to check out Ardyn, the restaurant that former Charlie Palmer Steakhouse chef Ryan Lory opened in the west village.

The space is beautiful, with a rustic, woodland feel to the dining room.

There’s also a beautiful bar with great cocktails and $1 happy hour oysters from 5-7pm (along with drink specials).

We started with a couple of raw fish dishes. Hamachi tartare and fluke crudo.

Both were awesome and pretty, but if I had to choose one to go back to repeatedly, it would be the hamachi.

Chef Ryan is becoming known for his gorgeous plating – very aesthetic. He also became known for his 50/50 burger at Charlie Palmer. It’s 50% smoked bacon and 50% brisket, with some dry-aged wagyu trim and fat in there to take it over the top.

The only down side here was the thickness of the pickled tomato slice. Half the thickness would be perfect, but that acidy pop did do a great job of cutting the buttery fatness of the rich and well-seasoned burger.

Make sure you don’t neglect the fries here with your burger. They’re amazing and possibly some of the best I’ve ever had.

All the sides were nice, in fact, from the shishitos to the carrots to the greens.

The pastas here are also excellent. We tried two: ramp garganelli with morels, and squid ink cavatelli with uni cream.

It was tough to choose a favorite between the two perfectly cooked and plated pastas, so I suggest getting both if you have room.

But the mains really shined.

First, this absolutely stunning duo of duck containing crispy sliced breast and a house made sausage.

The breast was nice but the sausage stole the show – like when Lex Steele stars in a porno flick with some ugly broad that has gross fake tits.

Of course we had to try the 45-day dry-aged Snake River Farms domestic wagyu rib eye.

This thing was incredible. It had a sexy, deep brown maillard crust on the surface and a rare cook beneath. You can still see the flecks of marbling in the flesh! It could have been cooked slightly longer, but the beef was so high quality that you could eat it like this even without the fat fully rendering out. 9/10.

Dessert was equally stunning. This choclate layer cake with pistachio ice cream was really rich and moist, like Paris Hilton in 2003.

This custard was light yet very satisfying.

And this asian style grapefruit/pomelo dessert was just the right kind of acidy and citrusy way to end the meal with a cleansed palate.

I definitely recommend this place. And if you want a seat close to the action, head to the back and pop your ass onto one of the stools that faces into the kitchen. Be warned though – it’s warm back there!

ARDYN
33 W 8th St
New York, NY 10011

Ozoku Sushi & Sashimi Bar

The Royalton Hotel has a sushi and sashimi bar up front in the lobby called Ozoku. My wife grabbed a great flash deal for the omakase for two people.

First off, this was a great hickory smoked old fashioned:

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Okay so the food. The first course was the veggies. Soy beans and sesame-kimchi brussels sprouts.

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Next up was a pair of sashimi plates. One was tuna with pickled beets, and the other was hamachi.

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Nigiri was next. A fatty salmon and some more hamachi.

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Then a bowl of soup, which was really awkward to share among two people, but we managed. This was a coconut curry broth with mussels and fingerling potatoes.

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Just when we thought the meal might be over, we got two more plates of sushi rolls. One was tuna, the other was scallop and shrimp.

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And then, finally, after we were pretty much stuffed, we received this plate of smoked porgie.

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Not a bad spread of food! However, the lounge area where you eat is a bit awkward because you have to lean down to the table the entire time, and your back will start to ache. Since the hotel is super sexy and chic, the set up is more like a lounge than a restaurant.

OZOKU SUSHI & SASHIMI BAR
44 W 44th St
New York, NY 10036